A Review of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Daniel H. Ludlow

One of the conditions to be met by the true church is that it should be based upon the gospel of Christ. After explaining this point to his disciples, the Savior then reviews the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the high points of all scripture is found in 3 Nephi 27:13-21 wherein the Savior outlines the essential doctrines of the gospel and explains their importance. He then summarizes the gospel in one brief statement: “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 …” (3 Nephi 27:20-21.)

Thus a major purpose of the gospel is to provide those principles and ordinances which enable us to become sanctified and worthy to live again in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Concerning the importance of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, President Marion G. Romney has said:

The atonement of the Master is the central point of world history. Without it, the whole purpose for the creation of earth and our living upon it would fail… .

From the days of Adam to the days of Jesus Christ, every people who understood the gospel offered blood sacrifices, using animals or birds without blemish. This they did in contemplation of the great event which was to take place in the Meridian of Time.

When Jesus was about to go through that terrible suffering incident to the atonement, he took his disciples with him to the Passover… .

Jesus then went into the Garden of Gethsemane. There he suffered most. He suffered greatly on the cross, of course, but other men had died by crucifixion; in fact, a man hung on either side of him as he died on the cross. But no man, nor set of men, nor all men put together, ever suffered what the Redeemer suffered in the Garden. He went there to pray and suffer. One of the New Testament writers says that it “… was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44.)

In this dispensation the Lord, calling upon the people to repent, tells them that unless they repent they must suffer even as he suffered. He describes that suffering in these words:

"Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19:18-19.)

… I cannot here discuss with you in detail what the atonement of the Savior means to us. But without it, no man or woman would ever be resurrected… . And so all the world, believers and nonbelievers, are indebted to the Redeemer for their certain resurrection, because the resurrection will be as wide as was the fall, which brought death to every man.

There is another phase of the atonement which makes me love the Savior even more, and fills my soul with gratitude beyond expression. It is that in addition to atoning for Adam’s transgression, thereby bringing about the resurrection, the Savior by his suffering paid the debt for my personal sins. He paid the debt for your personal sins and for the personal sins of every living soul that ever dwelt upon the earth or that ever will dwell in mortality upon the earth. But this he did conditionally. The benefits of this suffering for our individual transgressions will not come to us unconditionally in the same sense that the resurrection will come regardless of what we do. If we partake of the blessings of the atonement as far as our individual transgressions are concerned, we must obey the law.

And it is perfectly just that we are required to obey it because through the fall of Adam, man’s free agency was preserved. We had nothing to do with death’s coming into the world; death came as a consequence of Adam’s fall. But we have everything to do with our own acts. When we commit sin, we are estranged from God and rendered unfit to enter into his presence. No unclean thing can enter into his presence. We cannot of ourselves, no matter how we may try, rid ourselves of the stain which is upon us as a result of our own transgressions. That stain must be washed away by the blood of the Redeemer, and he has set up the way by which that stain may be removed. That way is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel requires us to believe in the Redeemer, accept his atonement, repent of our sins, be baptized by immersion for the remission of our sins, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and continue faithfully to observe, or do the best we can to observe, the principles of the gospel all the days of our lives. (Conference Report, October 1953, pp. 34-36.)

A Companion To Your Study of The Book of Mormon