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

I come humbly to this pulpit this morning because I wish to speak about the greatest event in all history. That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet it is the most difficult to understand. My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. (See Mosiah 4:6–7) Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. (See Moroni 10:32) All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt. (See 2 Nephi 25:23)

Paul gave a simple explanation for the need of the Atonement: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Jesus Christ was appointed and foreordained to be our Redeemer before the world was formed. With His divine sonship, His sinless life, the shedding of His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, His excruciating death on the cross and subsequent bodily Resurrection from the grave, He became the author of our salvation and made a perfect Atonement for all mankind. (See Bible Dictionary, “Atonement,” 617)

Understanding what we can of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Christ helps us to obtain a knowledge of Him and of His mission. (See Jacob 4:12) Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him. Literally, the Atonement means to be “at one” with Him. The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man. I am profoundly grateful for the principle of saving grace. Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23; emphasis added)

President James E. Faust

The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 18

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