Before the world was organized, our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ made it possible for us to overcome the effects of the Fall. All of the prophets since the world began have testified of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.
We will all suffer physical death, but Jesus Christ overcame this obstacle for us. When He died on the cross, His spirit became separated from His body. On the third day His spirit and body were reunited eternally, never to be separated again. He appeared to many people, showing them that He had an immortal body of flesh and bone. The reuniting of body and spirit is called resurrection and is a gift promised to each of us. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected regardless of whether we have done good or evil in this life. We will each have a perfect, immortal body of flesh and bones that will never again be subject to disease, pain, or death. The Resurrection makes it possible to return to God’s presence to be judged, but it does not guarantee that we will be able to live in His presence. To receive that blessing, we must also be cleansed from sin.
God sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to overcome the obstacle of sin in addition to the obstacle of physical death. We are not responsible for the Fall of Adam and Eve, but we are responsible for our own sins. God cannot look on sin with any degree of allowance, and sin prevents us from living in His presence. Only through the Savior’s grace and mercy can we become clean from sin so that we can live with God again. We access this grace and mercy by exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Only He was able to do that. He was called and prepared in the premortal life. He was the literal Son of God in the flesh. He was sinless and completely obedient to His Father. Though tempted, He never gave in to temptation. When the Father asked His Beloved Son to pay the price of the world’s sins, Jesus was prepared and willing. The Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross, and it ended with His Resurrection. Though He suffered beyond comprehension—so much so that He bled from every pore and asked whether it were possible that this burden be lifted from Him—He submitted to the Father’s will in a supreme expression of love for His Father and for us. This triumph of Jesus Christ over spiritual death by His suffering and over physical death by His Resurrection is called the Atonement.
Christ promises to forgive our sins on the condition that we accept His Atonement by exercising faith in Him, repenting, receiving baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and faithfully striving to keep His commandments to the end of our lives. Through continual repentance we may obtain forgiveness and be cleansed of our sins. We are relieved of the burden of guilt and shame, and through Jesus Christ we become worthy to return to the presence of God. As we rely on the Atonement, the Savior can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is difficult about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In paying the penalty for our sins, Jesus did not eliminate our personal responsibility. Through our words and actions we must accept Him and follow His commandments. Only through the gift of the Atonement can we return to live with God.