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Dear Gramps,

My question is about the remission of sins. It is well known that Christ had taken upon himself our sins and that we will be made pure if we repent. If Christ takes upon himself our sins then how is it that he may enter the Celestial Kingdom if no unclean thing may dwell there since by taking upon our sins he ‘dirties’ himself? I know he suffered on the cross and bled through every pore for us, but I don’t see how that can purge every sin that has been committed and will ever be committed. Is there some sin purging step that I’m missing? Or am I just not understating the atonement?





Dear Confused,

Why do you assume that the Savior somehow becomes unclean because he has “taken upon himself our sins?” The phrase “to take upon himself our sins,” does not mean that he is guilty of our wrong doing, as if he were as iniquitous as we are. Christ was pure, sinless. The scriptures and the words of modern prophets are very clear on that point.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.


For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15).

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28).

“Let us follow in the footsteps of our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the perfect example for mankind. He is the only infallible rule and law, way and door into everlasting life. Let us follow the Son of God. Make him our exemplar, and our guide. Imitate him. Do his work. Become like unto him, as far as it lies within our powers to become like him that was perfect and without sin” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.180).

The phrase, “to take upon himself our sins,” again, does not mean that he became sinful. It was only because he was perfectly righteous and without sin that he was capable of “assuming the responsibility of our sins” before the eternal bar of justice. He who was perfect submitted himself before the bar of justice as though he was culpable of all the sins of all mankind, having accepted the responsibility to be punished as though he had committed all those sins. The infinitely selfless act was performed to satisfy the law of justice. He satisfied the law and the demands of justice by accepting the punishment for which we are liable.

Now, through the infinite expiatory suffering of Jesus Christ, the law of mercy may be applied by the Eternal Father in forgiving sin without violating the law of justice. However, only those sins are forgiven for which there is full and complete repentance. The unrepentant must pay to justice the price for their own sins, just as if there had been no redemption made. The Savior said,

Therefore I command you to repent–repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore–how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.


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;


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 19:15-19).






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