The Atonement and Purpose
Jesus Christ as our heavenly friend offers us an infinite atonement. From the agony of the garden, to the anguish of the cross, Jesus Christ atoned for the sins, pains, and sufferings of the world. Then, in glory, he broke the chains of death and hell, and rose the third day, bringing to pass the resurrection. In Christ’s everlasting atonement, the world is offered a more excellent way. This more excellent way provides something that we strive so diligently to obtain but often cannot find: purpose. In my own experience, I have come to realize that the purpose brought through the atonement of Christ is a powerful tool in overcoming adversity. In this great and last sacrifice, Jesus Christ became my heavenly friend, a friend who teaches me of the great plan of our God, even the plan of salvation. This heavenly friendship provides me with comfort as I struggle to understand my purpose. In addition to a having a heavenly friend, the atonement defines my calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ and compels me to serve God with all my heart.
As we come to more fully accept the atonement of Christ, we can better understand the grand and wise plan of our God. We are taught in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoso believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Through His atonement, and only through His atonement, can we obtain the future blessings of eternal life. In a time where tribulations and trials, suffering and heartache, disappointment, disillusionment and discouragement all abound, we come to realize that Jesus Christ and His atonement provide our lives with a purpose beyond this life. We understand that all our earthly tribulations will be for our good, even if we cannot see how they may benefit us. Although at times we like sheep may go our own way, lost in the thorny paths of the world, we can rest assured that if we call to Him, Christ will come to rescue us. He will leave the ninety and nine to come to us. And then, as Isaiah prophesied, we shall see that “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” We look forward to the greatest blessings of the future as we see that they await us if we enter into a covenant relationship with Christ. This hope in Christ is best expressed in the words of a hymn by Joseph M. Scriven:
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
Christ bears our burdens and as we realize that as our lives are not burdened by sin, we may more fully experience the blessings of this life. The trials and temptations become guideposts as we strive to become more like Jesus Christ. We find that as we apply the atonement in our lives and seek its healing power, these trials make our resolve to press forward with faith stronger. Life, despite the seemingly unbearable pain we may feel at times, offers a multitude of opportunities for us to grow and to improve. As we let Christ and His atonement into our lives, one of the purposes of life, to grow and to learn, becomes evident and we begin to have a “mighty” change of heart. We also can experience an added measure of comfort, feeling our Savior’s love in the world around us. In a world where we often feel lost, we can know the way. David O. McKay once said:
“‘How can we know the way?’ asked Thomas, as he sat with his fellow apostles and their Lord at the table after the supper on the memorable night of betrayal; and Christ’s divine answer was: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. …’ (John 14:5–6.) And so he is! He is the source of our comfort, the inspiration of our life, the author of our salvation. If we want to know our relationship to God, we go to Jesus Christ.”
Through Christ, we can know the way, because He is the way. With Christ, our Savior and King, beside us we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.
But before exaltation and the joyful reunion with our heavenly family how can the atonement provide purpose for our lives here and now? The atonement of Christ, to me, has offered a new perspective. I view others differently because of my experience with the atonement of Christ. As I develop charity for others through this increased understanding, I have seen a drastic change in my life. I have a new desire to serve my fellow men and to care for those around me. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called upon to serve Him in every way possible. His atoning sacrifice reminds me that I must seek to be his true disciple. All around us there are people who struggle to feel loved, who long to see the good in the world, and who are in need. Christ’s marvelous sacrifice has given me a purpose: to help to heal the wounded people around me. As we bring people to Christ, we become true disciples and begin to, in a small way, understand Christ’s love for us. Another purpose of our lives, to bring others to Christ, serve others in any way we can, and, in turn, become God’s hands on the Earth, become more evident. We like God, become no respecter of persons and seek to help every brother and sister that we encounter. I find purpose as I strive to help others come to Christ and partake of His salvation. I find purpose as I strive to love as Christ would love. I find purpose as I consecrate my life to Him, striving to do what he would have me do. As I have done this in my life, I have seen the blessings that this purpose can bring. As I have strived to help my fellow men, I more fully understand Christ’s gospel and the future blessings that I may obtain as I strive to be a worthy son of God. My dear brothers and sisters, the atonement of Jesus Christ has caused me to do things that I could never do on my own. It has given me a purpose in my life and has lead me to green pastures. I bear testimony of His divinity, that He lives and loves us. He will come to us if we are in need.
In The Name of Jesus Christ I bear this testimony,