Tad R. Callister’s The Infinite Atonement offers us one of the most comprehensive discourses of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our day. He thoughtfully probes the infinite scope of the Savior’s “great and last sacrifice,” describing the power and breadth of His Atonement and how Christ redeems us all and makes the plan of salvation possible.
While we wholeheartedly recommend studying the entire book, we’ve pulled 10 quotes from The Infinite Atonement that we feel every Latter-day Saint could benefit from reading. We hope they uplift you and help you better understand the Savior’s Atonement and how you can live a life with trust in Him and Heavenly Father.
1. “At some point the multitudinous sins of countless ages were heaped upon the Savior, but his submissiveness was much more than a cold response to the demands of justice. This was not a nameless, passionless atonement performed by some detached, stoic being. Rather, it was an offering driven by infinite love. This was a personalized, not a mass atonement. Somehow, it may be that the sins of every soul were individually (as well as cumulatively) accounted for, suffered for, and redeemed for, all with a love unknown to man.” (Chapter 14, pg. 140)
2. “The suffering endured by the Savior cannot be translated into some quantifiable mass or reduced to some mathematical equation. The simple truth is, we have no tools to measure it or sufficient language to explain it. Part of the sacredness of this event lies in the fact that we feel much more than we can tell. The words of the hymn so observe:
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.”
(Chapter 14, pg. 128)
3. “For those few moments in the eternal spectrum called mortality the Savior yielded to the mortal plight; he submitted to the inhumanity of man; his body longed for sleep; he hungered; he felt the pains of sickness. He was in all respects subjected to every mortal failing experienced by the human family. Not once did he raise the shield of godhood in order to soften the blows. Not once did he don the bulletproof vest of divinity. That he also had godly powers did not make his suffering any less excruciating, any less poignant, or any less real. To the contrary, it is for this very reason that his suffering was more, not less, than his mortal counterparts could experience. He took upon him infinite suffering, but chose to defend with only mortal faculties, with but one exception—his godhood was summoned to hold off unconsciousness and death (i.e., the twin relief mechanisms of man) that would otherwise overpower a mere mortal when he reached his threshold of pain. For the Savior, however, there would be no such relief. His divinity would be called upon, not to immunize him from pain, but to enlarge the receptacle that would hold it. He simply brought a larger cup to hold the bitter drink.” (Chapter 14, pg. 119)
4. “The Savior’s love was not a love for the righteous only; it was not an abstract love; nor was it demonstrated by one dramatic sacrificial act and nothing more. To the contrary, it was a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, even moment-by-moment love! … Love was exhibited in every conscious, waking moment of his mortal life. Love flowed from every pore, every thought, every act. As naturally and regularly as we seek air, he sought to bless.” (Chapter 15, pg. 159)
5. “As our understanding of the Atonement increases, our ability to forgive ourselves and others increases as well.” (Chapter 18, pg. 197)
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6. “No matter how lost the world at large may be, no matter how depraved or degenerate it may become, there is yet a bright light of hope for those individuals who have a faith in Christ. Those who focus on him and his atoning sacrifice, who let these glorious truths rest in their minds continually, will find that Christ’s power to lift the human soul transcends even the weightiest burdens the world may thrust upon them. There is a certain spiritual buoyancy that attends a study of, and reflection upon, the Atonement.” (Chapter 19, pg. 209)
7. “One man accepts his deafness by excoriating God; another, Beethoven, scores the Ninth Symphony. One woman with loss of sight sees only darkness; another with greater vision, Helen Keller, becomes a beacon to a blinded world. One man responds to his disease with loss of faith; another, Job, declares, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). One man loses his wife and in the process his zest for life; another, Robert Browning, draws ever deeper from the well to pen with compelling passion poetry of divine dimensions. One man may respond to the seemingly disastrous events of life with vengeance and venom; another may respond with humble submissiveness to God’s will, an appreciation for life as it is, and a firm resolve to be better. For one, life’s challenges and tragedies become stumbling blocks; for the other, they become stepping-stones.” (Chapter 21 pg. 244)
8. “The raising of Lazarus from the dead dramatically illustrates [a] celestial law. The Savior approached the grave or cave where Lazarus had lain for four days. He instructed those who were nearby to remove the stone cover. Then in a loud voice he cried out, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and the scriptures record that “he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin” (John 11:44). At that point Jesus commanded the onlookers to unbind him. One might ask, “Why didn’t Jesus remove the stone with a show of power? Why didn’t Jesus unwrap the revived corpse?” His response was a demonstration of the divine law of economy, namely, that we must do all we can, and when we have reached our limits, when we have asserted all our mental, moral, and spiritual energies, then the powers of heaven will intervene. Man could remove the stone and unwrap the corpse, so he must do it, but only the power of God could call the dead to life. Accordingly, it was only the latter event that was divinely dictated. It is this same principle that governs our exaltation.” (Chapter 23 pg. 264–265)
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9. “As we remember the Atonement and genuinely reflect upon his sacrifice and his love, our souls are filled with appreciation, peace, and a feeling of self-worth that comes from being one with the Savior.” (Chapter 24, pg. 289).
10. “Each time we pause to meditate upon the Savior, we take a spiritual step forward.” (Chapter 24, pg. 289)