The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the supreme act of goodness and grace that only a god could perform. Through it, all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation became operative.
Through it are brought to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Through it, all men are saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment. — Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985,
The best book I’ve read about this momentous event in the history of Heavenly Father’s children was Tad Callister’s “The Infinite Atonement”.
Several years ago I was drowsing in my bed on an early Sunday morning. As I dozed in and out I was suddenly brought to complete awareness when these thoughts on the Atonement poured into my head.
The overriding principle of the Atonement is an all encompassing, never ending love. The story is quite familiar to all, Heavenly Father granted unto mankind the life of His only begotten Son. This Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah of all creation, was diligent in His constancy in obeying the commandments of His Heavenly Father and lived His live in an exemplary and perfect way.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Savior knelt pleading with Heavenly Father to release Him from this burden, but bowing in all humility said, “Thy will, not mine, be done.” As he suffered for the sins of countless worlds, Jesus Christ bled from every pore, His very spirit shaking and trembling with the load of sin, pain, illness, weakness and wickedness. For this very pure spirit, this very God of the world, was touched by wickedness weighing His spirit down for the very first time. There are no words in any language on earth to describe the pain our Savior suffered.
The Atonement is for those who weep and sorrow, it is for those who sin, it is for those stricken with illness, it is for pain, it is for all who carry burdens seemingly too difficult to bear. The Savior stands in the heavens, at the side of each child of God who offers a broken heart and contrite spirit. While He cannot personally be with every person, his emissaries are. Each of us is granted ministering angels which provide comfort, love, support, guidance, and protection throughout our lives. President James E. Faust said:
I would like to say a word about the ministering of angels. In ancient and modern times angels have appeared and given instruction, warnings, and direction, which benefited the people they visited. We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives.
President Joseph F. Smith said, “In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.”
Many of us feel that we have had this experience. Their ministry has been and is an important part of the gospel. Angels ministered to Joseph Smith as he reestablished the gospel in its fullness.
In meetings of import, we are not left alone. On the fields of competition we are not left alone. In the halls of governments, we are not left alone. We have only to ask in humility and gratefulness and the heavens will be opened unto us and blessings, inspirations and love will pour out. This does not guarantee success in all endeavors, but guarantees that we will handle trials, obstacles, and failures more efficiently and with more strength.
Prior to the Atonement, mankind was trapped in their sins and in a state that prohibited them from ever gaining the presence of the Father again. Adam and Eve had to fall that man could be . . . Jesus Christ had to pay the price, both in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, so that we could fulfill the measure of our creations, eternal life.