Saturday, November 5, 2011

Death and the Atonement

     The next part in the Plan of Salvation is the most important and central to the whole plan. This part is the act of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This act is easily the most important thing that has ever occurred and will ever occur on earth. The suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ is probably one of most complex topics to discuss and to understand fully. Yet, it is the most rewarding if we understand the basics and apply it into our own lives. The Atonement makes the whole Plan of Salvation possible. There would be no plan if it wasn't for Christ, that is why He is central to the plan.
     "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..." Our Father in Heaven was willing to let His Son be sacrificed "...that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  From the beginning, (Pre-earth life) Jesus was willing to step forward and fulfill the role of a Savior, as our Father in Heaven asked. When Jesus came to earth, He lived a perfect life, obeying ALL of the Father's commandments, so when it was time to take our sins upon Him, He was ready and willing.
     The Atonement of Jesus Christ three main parts. First, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is where Jesus suffered for all of our sins, and infirmities, where He prayed to the Father saying, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26: 39).  I love this quote by a church leader when talking about Christ's suffering.  "Jesus Christ entered a garden called Gethsemane, where He overcame sin for us. He took upon Himself our sins. He suffered the penalty of our wrongs. He paid the price of our education. I don't know how He did what He did. I only know that He did and that because He did, you and I may be forgiven of our sins that we may be endowed with His power. Everything depends on that" (Lawrence E. Corbridge, "The Way," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 35). What immense amount of love Christ had for all of us, to suffer so much incomprehensible pain, even to bleed at every pore!


       After Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was bound, and sentenced to be crucified by His own. He was beaten nearly to death and was hung on the cross to die. Again we see the amount of love Christ must have for each and every person when referring to the Roman soldiers He says, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23: 34). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was beaten, spit upon, scourged, and crucified. As horrible as that sounds, good news is yet to come.

     The third and final part of the Atonement process, ended with Christ's glorious resurrection! On the third day, Christ rose again from the dead as He had promised. The words of our beloved Prophet, Pres. Thomas S. Monson, truly hit home with his comment regarding Christ's resurrection. He says,
"No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? “He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5–6).
Our Savior lived again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place—the victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured. The Fall of Adam had been reclaimed." 
Christ's body and spirit were reunited once again, only this time, to never be separated again! He is risen!

      Why is this important? Why did Jesus do this for us? He went through this process because He loves us! Christ knew God's plan was to enable us to return back to His presence.  Because of the fall of Adam He knew we couldn't make it there on our own, so He by going through the Atonement process, He can help us make it back to God's presence! Everyone in this life will all eventually die, that's is just the fact of life. But, because of Christ's resurrection, we will all be resurrected too! That is a free gift! Also, because Adam, transgressed, we will all sin and come short of the glory of God, however, because Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for our sins, He over came sin, and because He overcame sin, each and every one of us can over come our sins and mistakes, and we do that through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, or in short, by following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can be saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

"And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shallctake upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else" (Alma 11: 40).
     I know that the Atonement is real and that Christ suffered for me, so I can overcome my faults and weaknesses. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my Savior and His Atonement. I know He suffered for me, so He can comfort me in my times of trial and I can gain strength to overcome temptation through Him. I know that my sins can be forgiven through His atonement if I will humble myself and repent! I know Christ lives and I will live again someday too!

Up next in the Plan of Salvation:
The Spirit World

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