Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
When I think of Jesus Christ and the many roles that he plays for us, understanding His role as Savior and His role as Redeemer, and what effect they have on our lives, are among the most important to understand.
At first glance these two roles may sound synonymous, but I believe they are significantly different as well.
Before one can discuss the merits of the Atonement, a full understanding of the consequences of the Fall must be understood. The Fall brought about three types of deaths. For more information on the Fall, a previous post called “The Fall Brought About Death” might be of interest.
According to the dictionary definitions of the two terms, the term Savior means simply “one who had saved them” whereas the term Redeemer is “one who had bought them”.
The Old Oxford English Dictionary adds further meaning to the term Redeemer as “to buy back (a thing formerly possessed); to make payment for (a thing held or claimed by another).”
So without the Atonement, what would lay claim to us?
2 Nephi 9: 8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
Jesus Christ is our Savior because he saved us from the effects of the fall and placed us back in our rightful place of innocence, allowing us to “choose for ourselves”. This is the salvation that is promised to all men. He also is our Redeemer because he paid the price to redeem us from our sins, this redemption takes place as we choose to realize the full power of repentance because of the Atonement. This makes His sacrifice total and complete to satisfy the demands of justice because of the broken law.
Why did Jesus Christ do it?
In Section 19 of the Doctrine and Covenants The Savior gives us a few of His reasons:
19: 2 I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—
3 Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.
We can see from the information given that He has complete submission to the will of the Father. The Father loves His children and desires that they return to Him, thus if Christ’s will is in complete line with the Fathers, we can conclude that He loves us and desires for us to return to the Father as well. Therefore it is evident that He lives the law of Obedience and Sacrifice, and all laws culminating in complete Consecration of His self in an attempt to persuade us to return to the Father as well. We can see the example He set for us, as one to follow in order to return. He loves the Father, and therefore He loves us as well.
When Christ explains another reason as one that He “might subdue all things unto myself”, we might wonder what He needs to actually subdue. The duality of man comes into play with this reason as well. The spirit being lineally perfect must subdue the “unredeemed” earth or physical body, this process is our progression through this life. It is a task that alone, we could not meet. Christ literally subdues the earth, every particle of it (that means our body as well), by “overcoming the world” through the Atonement. He brings every living thing into subjection, which allows him to control by choice. The choice is still ours to make. Satan was in complete opposition to this beautiful plan which was initiated by the Father.
Because of this complete control over the earth, He has the ability to “retain all power”. What does that mean for you and I? He retains power to judge because of this infinite act. His complete submission to the Father allows Him to subdue His Earth, cast out Satan, and retain the power to judge all who would be allowed to reside on His Earth.
Can you think of anyone else who could be a better judge than Christ who is completely motivated by Love?
He has only one request of us and that is to repent.D&C 19:6 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;