For the month of February (we took a short hiatus in December and January), we’ll be focusing on the third Article of Faith, which states:
“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
I love this article of faith. I love the promise it makes, the hope it gives. I love the Atonement because it allows me, an extremely imperfect person, to become perfected slowly over time as I make mistakes, repent, and learn from them so I don’t repeat them.
It’s important to note that this isn’t talking about being “saved by grace.” We are saved by obedience to Heavenly Father’s laws and ordinances of the gospel. There are the big laws (don’t take a life or mishandle situations involved in creating life) and the smaller laws (don’t lie, cheat, or steal, etc.) but each one of them is important because the more laws you break, the more sins you commit, the harder it will be for God to save you—not because he doesn’t have the ability to do it (believe me, he could do it), but because you’re not making yourself ready to be saved by him. If Heavenly Father does all the work, then we won’t learn anything. Going through trials, becoming stronger and wiser and nobler—these are all things that will help us become gods and goddesses in the next life. And there’s a bit of a learning curve! So Heavenly Father put us on earth to be tried and tested to make sure we’re ready for the glory and responsibilities of the next life.
But I digress.
The Atonement, for those who don’t know, is the accumulation of everything Christ went through to prepare for his death and resurrection. It includes Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Tomb. I would argue that Christ was even preparing for the Atonement when a child; it would have to take ones whole life to prepare for something like that! His sacrifices while living on earth, and his sacrifice in death, are the reasons we can repent when we make stupid mistakes, go back to addictive sins, or hurt someone beyond repair. And I say “thank goodness,” because I know I’m not perfect, and I know you’re not perfect. We need all the help we can get.