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

By , on April 26, 2015

Grace, Hafen

When the Atonement and our repentance satisfy the laws of justice and mercy, we are, in effect, free from sin. But just as the sinless Christ was “made perfect” through interaction with his Father’s grace, so his atoning grace can move us beyond the remission of sins to the perfection of a divine nature. Those who inherit the celestial kingdom are “just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood” (D&C 76:69; emphasis added). As Moroni put it, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him. … by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ” (Moro. 10:32–33).

These scriptures make it clear that we do not achieve perfection solely through our own efforts. Knowing just that much is a source of new perspective. Because we feel overwhelmed with the scriptural injunction to seek perfection, the idea that divine grace is the final source of our perfection may seem too good to be true. That is how Christ’s grace appears to those carrying the burden of truly serious sins. Honest people called “Saints” may feel the same way as they stumble daily through the discouraging debris of their obvious imperfections. But the gospel has good news not only for the serious transgressor, but for all who long to be better than they are.

Through the Holy Ghost, the Atonement makes possible certain spiritual endowments that actually purify our nature and enable us to live a more “eternal” or Godlike life. At that ultimate stage, we will eat the fruit of the tree of life and partake of God’s divine nature. Then we will exhibit divine character not just because we think we should, but because that is the way we are.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen

Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Apr 1990, 7


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