The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important principle of the gospel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that Christ and His Atonement are the rock upon which we must build our foundation. What exactly is the Atonement? How does the Atonement save us?
Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation and happiness included the fall of Adam and Eve. This event allowed sin and death to enter the world, thus a Savior was necessary.
Jesus Christ was the only one able to perform a perfect atonement. A perfect atonement is made up of six attributes:
Son of God
Shedding of Blood
Death on the Cross
SIX ATTRIBUTES OF THE ATONEMENT
When Heavenly Father presented His plan to us in the premortal world, it was evident that a savior was necessary. Jesus Christ volunteered to be our Savior, as did Lucifer. Heavenly Father chose Jesus to come to earth and save everyone by performing the Atonement.
Since Jesus was designated to become our Savior before being born, we say he was foreordained to do so.
2. Divine Sonship
Born of the virgin Mary, Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. This makes it possible for him to bear the eternal weight of the Atonement. Throughout the scriptures there are many references that Christ is the divine son of our Heavenly Father.
For example, at Christ’s baptism, at the mount of transfiguration and at other times in history, the voice of God has been heard to declare that Jesus is his Son.
Jesus Christ’s own pronouncement states all this succinctly in The Book of Mormon when He visited the Americas where he proclaimed:
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
3. Sinless Life
Jesus Christ was the only person to live upon the earth who never sinned. Because he lived a life without sin, He was able to perform the Atonement. He is our mediator between justice and mercy. Christ is our advocate with the Father.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
4. Shedding of Blood
When Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane He took upon Himself every sin, temptation, heartache, sorrow and pain of every person who has lived, and will live, upon this earth. As He suffered this unimaginable Atonement, blood came out of every pore.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
5. Death on the Cross
Another main aspect of the Atonement was when Christ was crucified on the cross at Golgotha. Golgotha is called Calvary in Latin. Before He died, Christ completed His suffering for all our sins while He hung upon the cross. He gave up His life voluntarily once the suffering was completed:
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
The culminating triumph of the Atonement was when Christ was resurrected three days after His death.
His spirit and body were once again reunited into a perfect being.
His resurrection paved the way for our own eventual resurrection:
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead,
After being foreordained, Jesus Christ was born as the literal Son of our Heavenly Father. He lived a sinless and perfect life. He suffered and died for our sins. He was resurrected on the third day.