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How the Atonement of Christ Saves Us

Salvation from Physical and Spiritual Death through the Atonement


The Christus: Atonement of Christ

The Christus: Atonement of Christ

Photo by Rachel Bruner
The Atonement of Christ is a gift from our Father in Heaven, provided to us through His son, Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Christ is part of God's Plan and saves us from:
  • Physical Death
  • Spiritual Death
The Atonement of Christ accomplishes several other things as well, which are explained in detail below.

Atonement Overcomes Physical Death
Through the Atonement of Christ all mankind will be saved from physical death- the separation of the body and the spirit. Part of the Atonement was that Christ overcame death through the power of His resurrection, and in so doing, we will all be resurrected as well. This gift, called salvation, is unconditional and is given to every person born on earth.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:22).
Atonement Overcomes Spiritual Death
Sin, which is disobedience to God's commandments, separates us from God- this is spiritual death. To be saved from spiritual death, called eternal life, can only be achieved through the Atonement of Christ and is conditional upon our obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. To receive eternal life we must:When we take Christ's Atonement upon us we are forgiven of our sins, which makes us clean and worthy to return to God's presence- thus Christ saves us from spiritual death. (Also see "Saved by Faith or Works?")

These principles of physical and spiritual death were explained in the Book of Mormon:
"O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.

"And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.

"And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel" (2 Nephi 9:10-12).
The Atonement of Christ also does the following for us:

Atonement Overcomes Fall of Adam
The fall of Adam and Eve was part of God's plan. Through the Atonement of Christ we are not held responsible for the fall, although we are still a fallen people, and will only be judged for our own sins:
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression" (Article of Faith 2). Also see Moses 6:53-54.
Little Children Saved by Atonement
All children who die are made alive in Christ. Children are perfect and sinless, thus they do not need to repent. Atonement of Christ saves all children:
"And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

"But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

"For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism" (Moroni 8:11-12,15. Also see Mosiah 3:16).
Atonement Saves Those Without Law
How could God be just if only those who know of His plan can be saved? He couldn't. But God is a just God:
"For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell... and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel" (2 Nephi 9:26).
Christ Suffered All Pains
Not only did Jesus suffer for our sins, but through the Atonement he also suffered all of our infirmities, sicknesses, pains, afflictions, temptations, and sorrows. Everything we suffer, he has suffered.
"Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matt 8:17).

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:11-12).
Also, because of Christ's Atonement "all that is unfair about life can be made right..." (Preach My Gospel, pg 52).

Atonement Gives Us Agency
Our ability to choose is a gift from our Father and Savior because of the Atonement of Christ. We are free to choose life or death:
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27).

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:
"Indeed the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh is the crucial foundation upon which all Christian doctrine rests and the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given. Its importance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overstated. Every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this pivotal event" ("The Atonement of Jesus Christ," Ensign, Mar 2008, 32–38).
The Atonement is our greatest blessing from God. I know that because of Christ we will be resurrected and that only through His Atonement can we be saved from our sins to live with Him and our Father again.
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