One of the reasons we are here on earth is to learn to obey God’s commandments. Except for Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, everyone who has lived upon the earth has sinned (see Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Sin is when we willfully break God’s commandments, and all sins have a punishment attached to them. When we sin, justice requires that we suffer the punishment (see Alma 42:16–22).

Ultimately, the consequence of any sin is separation from God (see 1 Nephi 10:21). This separation is so severe that we cannot repair it on our own.

To overcome this separation, our Heavenly Father provided a way for His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself the burden of our sins, making it possible for us to be spiritually clean and reunited with Him. This is the plan of mercy.

The Savior taught, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I” (D&C 19:16–17).

As part of His Atonement, Jesus suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary. By repenting of our sins, we can bring the power of His Atonement into our lives.

Jesus Christ, who willingly atoned for our sins, said:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

The Atonement also provides the following blessings:

  1. Resurrection to all who are born on earth (see Alma 11:42–45).

  2. Eternal life in God’s presence for all children who die before they arrive at the age of accountability, age eight (see Mosiah 3:16; 15:24–25; Moroni 8:8–12).

  3. Ability to find peace in times of trial because Jesus took upon Himself our pains and sicknesses (see John 14:27; Alma 7:11–12).

  4. Compensation to the righteous for the inequities of this life (see Preach My Gospel [2004], 52).

“Jesus Christ, as the Only Begotten Son of God and the only sinless person to live on this earth, was the only one capable of making an atonement for mankind” (Bible Dictionary, “Atonement”).

O My Father, by Simon Dewey; Jesus Christ Visits the Americas, by John Scott © IRI; photo illustration of baby © Getty Images; other photo illustrations by Weston C. Colton