Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Holy Atonement

The prophet Jacob once declared, "O how great the plan of our God!" (2 Nephi 9:13). And truly it is a wonderful and great plan by which we may all have immortality through the blood of the Lamb, and the opportunity to obtain Eternal Life "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [our] testimonies" (Revelation 12:11).

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if you ask a member about the Plan of Salvation, you may get something that looks like this:
Image result for Plan of Salvation

While this is true, it is in fact the plan God established, it is inaccurate. Nowhere in His plan is the Terrestrial Kingdom, nowhere in His plan the Telestial Kingdom, nowhere in His plan is Outer Darkness. His plan is totally and completely that His children all become exalted by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I am not minimizing the fact that all things in the above map are true. They all are true. The Lord has a place for everyone who willingly rejects exaltation by their choices. The Plan of Salvation is the gospel, "and this is the gospel...I [Christ] came into the world to do the will of my Father...And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father" (3 Nephi 27:13-14).

The fulness of the gospel is the fulness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Until we understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we do not understand the gospel, and thus the Plan of Salvation. As a matter of opinion, I do not believe we can fully understand the Atonement in this life, but it is the quest of a life time to understand the majesty, glory, honor, power, and might demonstrated by "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).

The place we learn about the Atonement the most is in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. As we look forth to a New Year, I feel there is no better time than when we are thinking of New Beginnings to think of the holy, magnificent, and sublime act of eternity that allows beginnings to begin again and again and again. I invite all to come study from the Book of Mormon in 365 days, starting January 1 on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I promise that we will all grow to understand, to appreciate, and to contemplate in reverence this sacred event as we do so, and our love for the Savior and ability to deal with life's challenges will become enhanced. Join with me as we improve our love for the Savior by reading of his sublime gift this next year.