Applying All Aspects of the Atonement to Our Lives

When the Holy Ghost touches our hearts and minds, truth is revealed to our soul. We come to understand eternal verities. As King Benjamin taught his people of the suffering of our Savior and His infinite Atonement, they came to this knowledge and said,

Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Written by Ed J. Pinegar, author of Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Garden Tomb: The Sacrifice of the Exalted Son of God.

As the Atonement touched their minds and hearts, they changed. They were drawn to the Lord. Feelings of gratitude draw us to the Lord: “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation” (2 Nephi 26:24).

The Lord explained this as a power of the Atonement when He said, “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me” (3 Nephi 27:14). “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). We literally come unto Christ when we partake of His Atonement through the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Applying the Atonement to our lives is the essence of life. The design of our existence is to be happy. The love of God is the source of all happiness. The love of God is expressed through His Beloved Son through all things and is centered in His atoning sacrifice. When we partake of all the life-saving ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we take the infinite Atonement into our lives. We understand and appreciate the Atonement to the point that gratitude consumes our hearts and the love of God consumes our souls. We are different. We are not only born of God but also perfected in Christ. We are made complete.

We can come to understand this profound truth as we worship in His holy house. We can ponder in the celestial room. We can search the scriptures and feast upon the word, which is a personification of our Savior in all things, for they are His words of eternal life. And because of these things, we can come closer to our God, having gained the knowledge of our Father and our Savior. Not only is the Atonement the saving action that makes all things possible, but it is also the enabling power of our lives, which brings us to a state of never-ending happiness.

We are privileged to partake of the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We begin to understand and appreciate the doctrine of Christ. “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (3 Nephi 27:20–22). We are familiar in a general sense with the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel. The real question in life is, where do we stand on the matter of understanding and appreciating the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ? Have we truly received it into our souls? What do we need to do about it? Let us consider the following:

First: Let us evaluate our lives as we read Alma 5 carefully and decide what we need to do. My sweetheart has shared with me a record she made in her journal about reevaluating her life and the things that matter most.

When our children were young and many—we had eight children—at times I felt overwhelmed with all I had to do. And yes, at times I felt a little discouraged. We lived in our dream home; Ed was doing wonderfully well teaching and practicing dentistry.

I remember tidying up the family room and kitchen area before he came home in the evening so there would be some sense of order. On this particular afternoon, I was vacuuming up the graham cracker crumbs and other debris on the carpet, and Ed walked in, much earlier than I expected. He came over to me, I turned off the vacuum, and he gave me a wonderful hug. He whispered in my ear that he loved me, and then he said something that gave me cause to think and take action. He said, “I know what you’re going to be doing in the eternities.” I, of course, eagerly asked, “What?” He replied, “You are going to be the chief vacuumer.”

That statement is funny now, but then it was devastating. That is not what I wanted to be doing in the eternities. Being a woman of action, that evening I got on the phone and called a babysitter to come the next day, for the entire day. I was able to use a little cabin in the mountains.

The next day, I remember it as a beautiful fall day, I drove up to the backside of Mount Timpanogos with stacks of paper, pens, my scriptures, and a calendar and in the attitude of fasting. I began my experience with prayer, asking for help and guidance. Then I started to write. I made lists of everything I needed to do in regards to everything: cleaning our home, teaching our children, preparing to live with my sweetheart forever.

I remember writing things such as clean out the refrigerator with the moldy vegetables in the drawer, mend the children’s clothes before they grow out of them, clean out the bathroom drawers where the toothpaste is mixed in with the combs and yucky hair. I wrote them in no special order, including things of an eternal nature as they came to my mind, such as read the scriptures more regularly, live in the eternities as a forever family, go to the temple more regularly, have better family home evenings, tell my children I love them more often.

I worked on my list all morning; I had pages. Then I stopped, went for a lovely walk and enjoyed the beautiful colored leaves, and thought, what did I really want?

I returned to the cabin. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was most important. I wanted to live my life so I would be worthy to live with Ed in the eternities and have a forever family. It was interesting because I knew that before, but that little exercise of writing down all the things that were distracting me was enlightening.

I went back to my lists and put a number one by what was most important, and a number two, and on down my list. I never did put a number by that yucky bathroom drawer.

I went to my scriptures and read a few of my favorites. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

My next step was to draw up a calendar with the hours of the day. I began to put onto my calendar the things I needed to do and when. I scheduled a temple day, when I was going to read my scriptures, plans for family home evening, and so on. I felt so at peace.

I drove home that fall afternoon with such gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the direction I had been given. I felt such peace. When I got home and had a chance to visit with Ed about my experience and share with him how wonderful it was, I asked him if he felt it was something we would want to do together. He readily agreed, and that became the beginning of our weekly, monthly, and yearly planning session. We were making plans to follow the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father. We were making plans to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent so that we might enjoy eternal life. We were making plans to partake of the infinite Atonement and to more fully understand the doctrines, ordinances, and covenants made in the temple.

Those planning times drew us closer together than we had ever been. We attended the temple weekly and later had lunch together in the cafeteria and did our planning. We talked about our individual goals and how we were doing. We talked about each of our children, what their current needs were, and what we could do to encourage them and bless their lives. We talked about future goals and plans, family plans and outings. We talked about current conference talks and the direction we had received and planned how to implement that direction. We would change.

Yearly, Ed and I would go on a little overnighter and make a plan for the entire year. What a blessing in our lives. What a wonderful way to stay on track and work together toward what mattered most in both our lives.

This was a magnificent moment in our lives. We became a better husband and wife. We became a better father and mother. We changed. We improved. It brought joy to our lives, and never again did we think, “We are just fine the way we are.” This has been a blessing to our lives.

Just as our Father made a perfect plan, even the plan of happiness enabled by His Beloved Son’s Atonement, so should we make plans to fulfill the measure of our creation by having a Christ-centered home where the fruits of the Atonement are enjoyed.

Second: Let us feast upon the scriptures, general conference talks, and other Church publications, for in them we are reminded of Christ. They all stand as a testament of Christ, reminding us to become like Him and to repent, improve, and change. We should feast upon the words of the Book of Mormon, for it is another witness of Christ, another witness of the Anointed One, another witness of His infinite Atonement. In the 6,607 verses of the Book of Mormon, there are over 3,925 references to our beloved Savior, with hundreds of different names and descriptions. These descriptions bring a depth of understanding to our beloved Savior and help us understand His many roles within our lives. Whenever I have a question about life and living, it seems the answer is in this precious book. This book draws us to Christ. We come unto Christ through faith unto repentance. Remember that of all the doctrines preached and recorded, repentance is the most often spoken of. We need to change, and that means improvement and repentance.

The Book of Mormon has literally saved my life. This book of books was saved for our dispensation. It was the way the Lord chose to reestablish His gospel and His word here upon the earth in the fulness of times. It is not only another witness of Jesus Christ; it is the perfect witness of Christ. As a priesthood leader, when I asked a question, the Spirit would often say, “The Lord has said,” and then a scripture from The Book of Mormon would come to mind that would give the answer or inspire one to move forward having hope and faith in our Savior. Five pages a day, and you can read the Book of Mormon three times a year. Remember that the scriptures testify of Christ, which means they bear witness of the Atonement of Christ.

Third: Let us choose to partake of the infinite Atonement through faith unto repentance and make the mighty change to become even as He is. Change is the essence of becoming and growing. We choose to receive liberty and eternal life though Christ the Lord. We choose to change our values, attitudes, thoughts, and the way we live our lives—we live after the manner of happiness. We choose to change our hearts and souls and turn back to Christ the Lord and our Heavenly Father. This always includes temple worship, where we will come closer to God and the knowledge of Him, gaining insights to the mysteries of the kingdom and the power of godliness, all of which will empower us to do good—to change and to become.

Sometimes we mistakenly think that repentance is an event rather than a process. The Lord will heal us as we repent and are converted; however, that process may take a short time or quite a long time: “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me” (3 Nephi 9:13–14). The Lord in His ever-loving way seeks out the lost and weary: “I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them” (D&C 112:13). Because our Savior truly loves us, He has commanded us to repent so that we may receive the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life. We change in order to become.

Let us always remember that the Lord in His infinite goodness has suffered all things so He would be able to nurture us in all things. We need to receive the enabling power of the Atonement to help us in our moments of trials, tribulations, pain, afflictions, and temptation. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Ask with faith and real intent, and the hand of Lord will bless us and strengthen us in all things. His nurturing us is part of His Atonement, the enabling power of all things.

I read the first chapter in the book, Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Garden Tomb: The Sacrifice of the Exalted Son of God, written by Ed J. Pinegar. In this chapter, the author discusses the nature of God the Father and His role as the Father of our spirits. It is emphasized that God the Father's perfect plan of exaltation is in place today, and all things are done according to His will. The chapter also explores the concept of Christ as the Father's Only Begotten Son in the flesh, highlighting His role as the Father of heaven and earth, as well as His role in spiritually begetting and rebirthing individuals. The divine investiture is mentioned, explaining how Christ acts for and in behalf of the Father with all His power and authority. The author shares personal experiences and feelings towards Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, expressing gratitude for their love and guidance despite human weaknesses. The chapter concludes with the belief that through humility, faith, and the enabling power of the Atonement, individuals can become better and strive to fulfill the will of their Heavenly Father. 

I really enjoyed this reading and look forward to reading deeper into it. I highly suggest this book to those looking for more of a witness of the nurturing power of our Savior through His infinite Atonement.