Today in our Sunday School lesson we were discussing once again the atonement of our Savior. As we talked, it was brought home to me again by the spirit, the importance of repentance in the plan of salvation. The atonement can also be thought of as "at one ment". What Jesus Christ did for us is give us the gifts that allow us to bridge the gulf between us and God. There are two things that, without the atonement, would keep us from being able to return to God. The first of those things is sin, and the second is death. Jesus Christ paid the price so that we can repent of our sins. He also was resurrected so that we can overcome death. Only Jesus Christ was worthy to intercede in our behalf. In the book of Mormon, the prophet Alma, in prophesying of the atonement of Jesus Christ taught: 8 "And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
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11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world." Alma 34:8-9, 11-12
What strikes me most when I think about the atonement is that it isn't just about erasing sin from our lives but is about helping us to become more like God. If we expect to live with Him again some day, we must become more like Him. Repentance helps us to take full advantage of the atonement, but it also helps us to change and become more like God. The blessing of repentance is one of the great gifts of the atonement of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift to be able to overcome our weaknesses and rid our souls of sin! Some might look at repentance as a burden, or may not think that it is necessary. But repentance is a gift, a blessing, a chance to change! If it weren't for the sacrifice of our Savior, that He paid the price that justice demands, we wouldn't be able to repent. We wouldn't be able to change. How grateful I am to the Savior for giving me the chance to overcome the wrongs that I do, and learn how to become more like Him.