Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Atonement

Years ago when my Church calling was to write lesson manuals for the Church, I wrote several lessons on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I thought I knew what the Atonement was all about. But since I’ve been teaching religion at BYU I’ve come to realize that I didn't know much at all and that I’m only now beginning to  understand it. It is much broader and grander than I ever realized before.

For example, yesterday I found out that one of my students had lost his mother to a heart attack last year while he was on his mission. As he told me about what had happened my heart ached for him, and as I left him I couldn’t get his image out of my mind. But it wasn’t the image of him telling me what had happened. It wasn't an image of sadness. Instead it was the picture of him sitting in my class happy and at peace and listening as we discussed the gospel—the picture of what I knew about him before I knew of the sorrow he had passed through.

As I was seeing this image of him, the thought came to me that without the Atonement he would never be able to recover from his mother’s death. Without the Atonement every sin would sink us deeper into darkness and despair with no hope of escape. Without the Atonement any tragedy or adversity such as death would be doom and gloom with no chance of recovery. Without the Atonement life would be a constant state of entropy with no possibility of growth or change--a state of constant regression into outer darkness. Without the Atonement happiness would be an unreachable, unattainable fiction.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just about paying for our sins. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is about making happiness, joy, growth, learning, love, and everything good possible. In short, the Atonement is our only hope. 

I am so grateful for it.

1 comment:

Wendi said...

I would not be able to survive a day without the miracle of the Atonement in my life. I am whole-heartedly grateful for it as well. :)