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 November 2, 2015

Faith, Justification, Millett


The scriptures are consistent in declaring that no unclean thing can enter into God’s kingdom. In theory there are two ways by which we may become clean and thus inherit eternal life.

The first is simply to live the law of God perfectly, to make no mistakes. To do so is to be justified-pronounced innocent, declared blameless-by works or by law. To say this another way, if we keep the commandments completely (including receiving the sacraments, or ordinances, of salvation), never deviating from the strait and narrow path throughout our mortal lives, then we qualify for the blessings of the obedient. And yet we encounter on every side the terrible truth that all are unclean as a result of sin (Romans 3:23). All of us have broken at least one of the laws of God and therefore disqualify ourselves for justification by law or by works. Moral perfection may be a possibility, but it is certainly not a probability. Jesus alone trod that path. “Therefore,” Paul observed, “by the deeds of the law”-meaning the law of Moses, as well as any law of God-“there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20; compare 2 Nephi 2:5).

The second way to be justified is by faith; it is for the sinner to be pronounced clean or innocent through trusting in and relying upon the merits of Him who answered the ends of the law (Romans 10:4; compare 2 Nephi 2:6-7), who did keep the law of God perfectly. Jesus owed no personal debt to justice. Because we are guilty of transgression, if there had been no atonement of Christ, no amount of good deeds on our part, no nobility independent of divine intercession, could make up for the loss. Truly, man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself” (Alma 22:14). Thus he who loved us first (1 John 4:10, 19) reaches out to the lost and fallen, to the disinherited, and proposes a marriage. The Infinite One joins with the finite, the Finished with the unfinished, the Whole with the partial, in short, the Perfect with the imperfect. Through covenant with Christ and thus union with the Bridegroom, we place ourselves in a condition to become fully formed, whole, finished-to become perfect in Christ (Moroni 10:32; D&C 76:69).

Robert L. Millett
Getting at the Truth: Responding to Difficult Questions About LDS Beliefs
Shadow Mountain (2004)

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