Brad Wilcox gave a great talk about the Atonement at Time Out for Women. Here are my notes and thoughts on his talk.
God has a plan. When you wonder about your future, look back and see how God has guided you in your life. He gives you opportunities to grow. He puts people in our lives that we need at that time. He knows the big picture.
The miracle of the Atonement is that we can all be transformed. This is more than just saying we are saved by grace, but rather learning to apply the Atonement in our lives and becoming perfected through Christ.
Brad Wilcox was asked by a "born again" Christian, "Have you been saved by grace?" His response? "Have you been CHANGED by grace?"
Not only does the Atonement save us from death and sin, but it also changes us as we apply it in our lives.
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home (to Heaven), but rather that we'll feel comfortable there. Remember that Christ can change things that seem impossible to change.
The Atonement is a doctrine of human development. Experiences happen in our lives and we choose to change. We don't always want trials and adversity and hard things, but we develop spiritually (and on other levels) through these experiences. Trying of your faith can educate your faith. A God that requires nothing of us is making nothing of us.
Jesus has two roles:
1) Savior - to save us from death and sin
2) Redeemer - to make us better
Jesus sacrificed for us. The Latin roots of the word "sacrifice" come from SACR (sacred) and FIC (to make). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_and_Latin_roots_in_English#F Therefore, "sacrifice" means TO MAKE SACRED. Through the Atonement each of us can be made sacred too.
Don't just hope to see the Savior, but hope that the Savior sees Himself in us. We want to become more sacred. Jesus chose to become like us so we could choose to become like Him.
When we color hard-boiled eggs at Easter, we "change" the eggs as we dye them. This is a reminder that the Atonement changes us as we apply it in our lives.
Ten Lepers - Jesus healed ten lepers but only one came back to thank Him. The one that came back is the one who was "made whole." So what does it mean to be "made whole?" How can we apply the whole Atonement in our lives?
Good Samaritan - relate this to Adam and the Savior. The Good Samaritan found a man who needed help on the side of the road. He gave him nourishment, a place to stay, and paid his bills. Jesus found Adam in the Garden of Eden after he partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Adam needed help. We are all like Adam. Jesus gives us spiritual help, an eternal home, and has paid our debts.