“Redemption Cometh in and through the Holy Messiah”
by Rob Swanson
Blessed Are the Meek by Mandy Jane Williams
When Father Lehi gave what were perhaps his final words of counsel and advice to his son Jacob, he focused on the role of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation, particularly His ability to redeem humankind from the Fall of Adam and Eve. This counsel, now recorded in 2 Nephi 2, leads the reader through the purpose of Christ’s coming, the role of the Fall, and the importance of humankind’s agency. Lehi said:
“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:6–7).
This doctrine—that only through Jesus Christ can humankind be redeemed—is at the core of Latter-day Saint doctrine, and has been since the earliest days of the Restoration. Christ is everything to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is only in and through Him that we are saved (see Alma 38:9). Christ asks in turn that we come with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” as we strive to follow Him and repent. Early Latter-day Saints, such as Wilford Woodruff, understood this doctrine clearly. Wilford taught,
"The Savior . . . laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin, to redeem the world. When men are called upon to repent of their sins, the call has reference to their own individual sins, not to Adam’s transgressions. What is called the original sin was atoned for through the death of Christ irrespective of any action on the part of man; also man’s individual sin was atoned for by the same sacrifice, but on condition of his obedience to the Gospel plan of salvation when proclaimed in his hearing. This gospel we are called to preach to the children of men, calling on them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins, and promising them through their obedience and faithfulness the gift of the Holy Ghost, which shall lead and guide them in the ways of all truth and deliver them from darkness and doubt."1
Just as Father Lehi taught, President Woodruff noted that not only was humankind redeemed from the Fall, but also our individual sins could be washed away because of Jesus Christ. Both prophets also declared that this knowledge of redemption and mercy is meant to be shared with all our brothers and sisters on the earth. Lehi emphasized, “Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8).
We all can find peace in Christ. I have found healing and redemption through the mercy of the Savior. It is the most precious gift I have received. I also know that joy comes from sharing these glad tidings—the good news that all humankind, both the living and the dead, can repent and find healing in Christ.
Hailing from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Robert Swanson received his BA in History from Brigham Young University and his MA in History from Rutgers University–Camden, and he is currently a History PhD student at the University of Missouri focusing his work on abolitionism in the Early American Republic. He is married to his best friend, Bridget Garner Swanson, and they have two little girls who have made life even more of a fantastic adventure than they thought possible.