"And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.
"Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works." (Alma 11:40-41.)These words, spoken by Alma to Zeezrom, explain well what our Savior, Jesus Christ, has done for us and how we can partake more fully of His atoning sacrifice.
But when Alma spoke these words, Zeezrom was, shall we say, less than impressed. Indeed, Zeezrom had sought to contend with Alma and "was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good." (Alma 11:21.)
However, the course which Zeezrom ultimately followed illustrates how he eventually more fully partook of the marvelous gift spoken of by Alma - and is instructive for all who desire to make the Savior's atonement a part of their lives.
As Alma continued his teaching of Zeezrom, the previously hardhearted man "was convinced more and more of the power of God," and he "began to inquire . . . more diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God." (Alma 12:7-8.)
In answer to Zeezrom's inquiry, Alma, and his companion Amulek, taught a beautiful sermon on the Lord's plan of salvation, including the Atonement.
Zeezrom evidently had faith in Alma's words, for "his soul began to be harrowed up under a consciousness of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell." (Alma 14:6.)
And though he was persecuted for admitting his error, he did just as the Lord has requested of all of us. He repented - confessing and forsaking his sins. (See Alma 14:7)
And following that sincere and honest repentance, he was baptized into the church - thereby beginning his journey to receive all the promised blessings of our Savior's atonement. (See Alma 15:12.)
The story is miraculous; the steps, however, are simple: faith, repentance, baptism and receiving of the Holy Ghost.
Easter is a traditional - and appropriate - time to think about the Savior's resurrection. But, of course, we have an every-day challenge and opportunity to take full advantage of the Lord's sacrifice in our own lives.
As Alma taught, the Savior came into the world to redeem all mankind. We must be ever vigilant in doing what He asks of us in order to have His atonement fully effective in our lives.
So what has He asked?
Amulek, in his preaching to the Zoramites, gave us at least some of the answers to that question. (See Alma 34.) Among other things, he suggests that we:
- Exercise faith unto repentance - and don't procrastinate.
- Call upon the Lord in prayer.
- Cry for mercy from the Lord, who is mighty to save.
- Humble ourselves.
- Petition the Lord for strength against our enemies, including the devil.
- Be equally concerned for others as we are for ourselves.
- Have charity.
- Take care of the sick, afflicted and needy.
Amulek taught the Zoramites - and us - to live our religion and to make the Savior's teaching and example an actual part of our daily lives.
Actually living the word - practicing it in our everyday lives - is an important part of taking advantage of the Savior's atonement. And it results in a change in our beings. We become more inclined to be righteous, less inclined toward evil. We put off the natural man and take on the whole armor of God.
The process is just that - a process. It doesn't happen overnight. But it is real, it is literal. And we can all be partakers.
As the well-known hymn testifies, the Savior "marked the path and led the way." ("How Great the Wisdom and the Love," Hymn No. 195 ) We need to follow - and receive the everlasting joy He has promised.