The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Of the two aspects of the atonement, resurrection from the dead is most readily and widely accepted. It is succinctly and accurately thus stated by Paul:

“… as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)

Mormon puts the two aspects of the atonement in perspective in his great discourse on faith, hope, and charity in these words:

“… what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal. …” (Moro. 7:41.)

Men are not required to have faith in Christ to be resurrected, “for [as Jesus said] the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

“And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28–29.)

It is the aspect of the atonement that will raise men “unto life eternal” that we are considering here. It is not necessary to await the resurrection to receive the blessing of this aspect of the resurrection. Amulek, teaching the Nephites, said:

“And now, my brethren, I would that … ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.

“… for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.” (Alma 34:30–31.)

When a person qualifies himself to receive the blessing of this aspect of Christ’s atonement, he is by the power of God forgiven of his sins; he is born again of the Spirit; he is a new person; he takes on the divine nature; he has “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2); he has peace of conscience and is filled with joy. (See Mosiah 4:3.) This is what Jesus meant when He said:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)

. . . .

Essential to an understanding of the aspect of the atonement of Christ which enables men to attain unto eternal life is a realization that mortal man, while he lives on earth, is enlightened by the spirit of God and that he is also tempted by Satan; that every human being who lives beyond the age of accountability yields to some degree to the temptations of Satan. Jesus, who was the Son of God in the flesh, as well as in the spirit, was the only exception.

By yielding to the temptation of Satan we become unclean. To the extent to which we yield we become carnal, sensual, and devilish. As a consequence, we are banished from the presence of God. Without being cleansed from the stain of our transgressions we cannot be readmitted into the presence of God because “no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom.” (3 Ne. 27:19.) Men, in the exercise of their own free agency, having disqualified themselves for a place in the kingdom of God, are banished therefrom and cannot by their own unaided efforts return. If they are ever to return, atonement for their sins must be made by someone not himself banished: Jesus was that one.

Marion G. Romney

Christ’s Atonement: The Gift Supreme,” Ensign, Dec 1973, 2

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