The Continuous Atonement (Hardcover)
by Brad Wilcox
Read the first Chapter! Just click on the excerpt tab above.
Christ doesn't just make up the difference. He makes all the difference.
“I'll never do it again,” we say — and then we do it. In a world full of challenges, temptations, and even addictions, it is easy to lose hope for ourselves and those we love. During times of discouragement, we must remember that the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just to cleanse and console, but also to transform — and that takes time. Christ is not waiting at the finish line once we have done —all we can do.” He is with us every step of the way, and His Atonement will be available as long as the perfecting process takes — continually.
This book offers valuable insights about God, Christ, and our relationship with them. Each chapter contains clear examples that will uplift and motivate. Profound doctrine is made accessible and difficult concepts are presented in such simple ways that over and over the reader will say, “I've never thought of it like that before.” That kind of change of belief will help bring about a change of behavior.
Most members of the Church acknowledge that perfection is a long-term process, but overlook the continuous nature of Christ's Atonement that makes that process possible. Peace is found not by giving up or erasing the need to change, but by turning to the One who makes change possible and realizing that we get lots of chances to start again. So, if at first you don't succeed either, don't find excuses. Find the Savior and the blessings of His continuous Atonement.
- Pages: 224
- Published: 2009
- Size: 6" x 8"
About the Author
Brad Wilcox is a professor of teacher education at BYU, where he also works with Especially for Youth and Education Week programs. He served a mission to Chile and later presided over the Chile Santiago East Mission. He currently serves as a member of the Sunday School general board. Brad and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children and grandparents of three. He is also the author of The Continuous Atonement and The Continuous Conversion.
Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now
our goal is progress in that direction-continuous progress that is possible only through the
The sixteen-year-old looked nice in his new suit purchased for this special occasionhis first time blessing the sacrament. The young priest tried to look calm, but his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as often as his eyes blinked.
The organist played the introduction to the hymn, and the chorister led the congregation in singing. Four priests stood at the sacrament table and carefully folded back the lace cloth to reveal trays containing the bread. Silently, the young men began to break the bread, with the new priest looking nervously from his own hands to the hands of the experienced boys, who were moving more quickly.
When the hymn ended, the organist played a reverent interlude in order to give the new priest time to finish. The others were finished with the bread in their trays and had even completed a few additional ones. The boy felt the eyes of the whole congregation on him as he tried to hurry.
Finally he dropped to his knees to read the prayer. “O God, the Eternal Father,” he began. His voice sounded shaky and unsure. “We ask thee in the name of Jesus Christ—” Silence. Although few members of the congregation could recite the sacrament prayers from memory, most were familiar enough with them that they could recognize when something didn’t sound quite right. So could the young priest. So could his companions. So could the bishopto whom the boy now looked for direction.
The bishop made eye contact and nodded gently, indicating that the young man should begin again. He did. “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water—” Silence. He was blessing the bread. By now even the children in the congregation were feeling the awkwardness of the moment. Again, the boy looked to the bishop, who indicated he needed to start once more.
After yet another flawed attempt, the new priest made it through the entire prayer. He stood and began passing trays to the deacons, who offered the sacred emblems to the waiting members. Some had perhaps grown impatient and felt a bit
perturbed. After all, how hard is it to simply read a short
paragraph? Why did this young man have to make such a
production out of it and waste time that should go to the speakers?
But most in the congregation were probably not so harsh. In fact, many brethren could remember when they had made similar mistakes.
I cannot be sure what others thought during that prolonged sacrament prayer. However, I was quite moved by the experience. My friend Brett Sanders once pointed out to me that in such a moment we learn a great deal about the Savior’s Atonement. The sacrament prayers must be offered word for word. The bishop has the responsibility to verify that they are spoken flawlessly. So what happened when this boy didn’t get it right? Was he replaced, ridiculed, or rejected? No. That’s not the Savior’s way. But did the bishop just overlook the problem? No. He couldn’t. The Lord requires the prayers to be perfect.
If the law of justice were the only law in force, then one slip-up, one wrong word by even the best-intentioned priesthood holder would have disqualified us all. Fortunately, the law of mercy was also in force. Although the sacramental prayers had to be perfect, and that expectation could not be lowered,
the priest was given a second chance, and a thirdas many times as it took. There was no trapdoor that opened up once he had gone too far. The bishop simply nodded and the young priesthood holder started over until he finally got the prayer right. No matter how many mistakes were made and corrected along the way, the final outcome was counted as perfect and acceptable.
God, like the bishop, cannot lower the standard that we ultimately become perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48), but He can give us many opportunities to start again. Like the young priest, we are all given the time we need to correct our mistakes. Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now our goal is progress in that direction continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous Atonement.
Christ commanded us to forgive others seventy times seven times (see Matthew 18:22). Why is it so hard for us to believe He would forgive us more than once?
Time and time again He saves,
Forgiving my mistakes,
Seventy times seven times—
However long it takes.
(Steven Kapp Perry, “I Take His Name”)
When I was serving as the bishop of a BYU ward, a young man came to me to confess, and I mean confess. He unloaded everything he had ever done wrong since elementary school. I heard what he had never had the courage to tell another bishop, stake president, mission president, or parent. While the sins were not of major proportions, they needed to be confessed and should have been taken care of years earlier. You can imagine the young man’s relief and joy as he finally let go of all he had been carrying so needlessly and privately for so long. We prayed and reviewed some scriptures together. We discussed the role of confession in the repentance process and set goals for the future. When that young man left my office he almost floated out of the room.
The following Sunday I looked for him in church, but didn’t see him. The next week he wasn’t there either. I called his apartment and left messages. Finally I went over. The young man answered the door but didn’t invite me in. His countenance was dark. His eyes were hollow. His comments were negative and sarcastic, revealing his depression. I asked if I could come in and talk with him.
He said, “Like that will make any difference.” His words were cold and hard. “Just face it, Bishop, the Church isn’t true. No one can even prove there is a God. It’s all just a joke, so don’t waste your time.”
Wow! From floating on air to the pit of despair—and all in a matter of days. My first reaction was to become angry. He had no reason to be treating me so rudely. Next, I wanted to defend the truthfulness of the Church and the existence of God. Instead, I had one of those bishop moments: I knew what was wrong. Rather than raising my voice or quoting scripture, I simply said, “You messed up again, didn’t you?”
His darkened expression melted, and this young returned missionary began to cry. Between sobs he motioned me into his empty apartment, where we sat together on the couch. He said, “Bishop, I’m sorry. I just feel so bad. I finally repented. I was finally clean. I finally put it all behind me. I finally used the Atonement, and it felt so good. Then I blew it all over again. Now my former sins have returned, and I feel like the worst person in the world.”
I asked, “So the Church is true and there is a God after all?”
“Of course,” he responded sheepishly.
“So you just need another chance?”
“But that’s the problem. D&C 58:43: ‘By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins— behold, he will confess them and forsake them.’ I confessed; I didn’t forsake. So I didn’t really repent. It’s over.”
“Tell me about the Savior’s grace, then.”
He said, “Oh, you know—2 Nephi 25:23: ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ We do our best and then Christ makes up the difference. But I did that, and it didn’t work. I still went out and did the same old dumb thing. I blew it. Nothing changed.”
I said, “Hold on. What do you mean Christ makes up the difference?”
He responded, “Well, just that. You have to do your best, and once you have done your best, Christ makes up the difference.”
“Christ doesn’t just make up the difference,” I said. “He makes all the difference. He requires us to repent, but not as part of paying justice—only as part of helping us to change.”
The young man said, “I thought it was like buying a bike. I pay all I can and then Jesus pays the rest.”
I said, “I love Brother Stephen Robinson’s parable (see Believing Christ, 30–32). He has helped us all see that there are two essential parts that must be completed in order for the Atonement to be fully effective in our lives. But I think of the Atonement more like this: Jesus already bought the whole bike. The few coins He asks from me are not so much to help pay for the bike, but rather to help me appreciate it, value it, and use it correctly.”
The returned missionary said, “Either way, it doesn’t matter since I just crashed the bike—so much for grace!”
I said, “Wait. What do you mean so much for grace? How can you give up so quickly? You think this is just a one-shot deal? Don’t you realize Jesus has a whole garage full of bikes? Christ makes all the difference, and that means all the time. The miracle of the Atonement is that He will forgive our sins (plural). That includes not just multiple sins, but also multiple times we commit the same sin.”
The young man said, “Are you saying it’s okay to just sin and repent as often as I want?”
“Of course not. We don’t condone sin. Joseph Smith taught clearly that ‘repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with everyday’ (Teachings, 148). But the same Jesus who forgives those who ‘know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34) also stands ready to forgive those of us who know exactly what we do and just can’t seem to stop (see Romans 3:23).”
The young man’s face began to show hints of a smile. “So you’re saying there is still hope for me.”
“Now you are beginning to understand grace.”
There is always hope in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:19; D&C 38:14–15). We hear many words associated with the Atonement: infinite, eternal, everlasting, perfect, supreme, divine, incomprehensible, inexplicable, even personal and individual. However, there is another word that must be more closely associated with the Atonement if we are ever going to be able to maintain hope in a world full of addictions, and that word is continuous—the continuous Atonement.
In Preach My Gospel we read, “Ideally, repenting of a specific sin should be necessary only once. However, if the sin is repeated, repentance is available as a means of healing (see Mosiah 26:30; Moroni 6:8; D&C 1:31–32). Repentance may involve an emotional and physical process. . . . Thus, both repentance and recovery may take time” (187–88).
Perhaps as we reflect on our lives, it is easy to convince ourselves we have sinned too often and gone too far to deserve the Atonement. We criticize ourselves harshly and beat ourselves up mercilessly. Perhaps we feel we have stepped beyond the reach of the Atonement by knowingly repeating a previously forsaken sin. We understand that God and Jesus were willing to forgive the first time, but we wonder how many more times they will be willing to watch us bumble along before they finally roll their eyes and declare, “Enough already!” We struggle so much to forgive ourselves that we wrongly assume God must be having the same struggle.
One young man wrote me the following e-mail: “I hate the fact that I am writing to you right now. But I knew that if I didn’t I would feel much worse. I fell last night—again. Only this time it was much worse than ever before, for I am now a member of the higher priesthood. I had repented. I was clean. I swore that when I was ordained I would never again fall. Right now I feel like I have been given a gift and broken it into a million pieces. I feel sick inside. I have no appetite. I am so sick and tired of fighting with myself. I know I should not hate myself, but at the moment it is really hard not to do.”
Another person wrote, “I really want to stop and every time I mess up I think, Considering how bad I feel right now, I know I’ll never mess up again. And then I do. I have probably gone through that cycle about a thousand times. Everyone says I have to believe Christ, and not just believe in Him. Well, I do believe Him. It’s just that He can’t ever believe me. I sincerely and earnestly promise that my sins are over and they never really are. How many times can Christ watch this cycle without feeling like I am ridiculing His Atonement?”
Christ Himself answers, “As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me” (Mosiah 26:30; see also Moroni 6:8). Would Christ command us to “continue to minister” to the afflicted (3 Nephi 18:32) if He were not willing to continually minister to us in our afflictions?
Even when we may not have completely forsaken a sin (see D&C 58:42–43), each time we repent we are one step closer to that goal—perhaps much closer than we think. Paul wrote, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11). When we’re tempted to give up, we must remember God is long-suffering, change is a process, and repentance is a pattern in our lives.
God Is Long-Suffering
The divine attribute of long-suffering is a hard concept for time-bound mortals to grasp. We understand goodness, love, kindness, and forgiveness because we know people who demonstrate those godly qualities. However, even the nicest people have their limits.
God and Christ also have ultimate limits, but those final judgments are a long, long way down the road. We are not even close to reaching them. In the meantime, God and Jesus, who are not bound by clocks or calendars, can truly be long-suffering in a way we don’t comprehend. Jesus says His “hand is stretched out still” (2 Nephi 19:12, 17, 21; emphasis added) and “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). He who fed thousands with only a few loaves and fishes (see John 6:10–13) will certainly not run out of desire or ability to help us. He who rushed to the side of Lazarus (see John 12:2) will not slow down in His efforts to reach us. He who came to sleeping Apostles multiple times (see Mark 14:37–40) will not rest until we have also been revived.
At the end of his mission, one elder wrote, “I’ve learned that the fight in this life is not with others, but with ourselves. I’ve learned about the Atonement and that it can’t be used up. It doesn’t run out or expire. There is nothing on it that says, ‘Best if used by this date.’ It will always be a force in our lives.”
Peter warned in graphic terms about returning to former sins when he wrote of dogs turning again to their own vomit and sows wallowing aimlessly in their mire (see 2 Peter 2:22). However, in the very next chapter Peter reminds us that God measures time differently than we do (see 2 Peter 3:8), and states that if we are diligent we “may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” It appears even habit-ridden dogs and sows can trust “that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:14–15).
Bible translator William Tyndale (the man who gave us the English word Atonement) said, “If through fragility we fall a thousand times in a day, yet if we do repent again, we have alway mercy laid up for us in store in Jesus Christ our Lord” (in Wilcox, Fire in the Bones, 101). We see the Lord’s long-suffering in how often early Apostles sent letters to the Saints, how frequently heavenly messengers came to Joseph Smith, and how regularly general conference happens in our day.
Perhaps there is no better example of the Lord’s long-suffering than to remember how often prophets have been sent into this dark and sinful world. In Moroni 10:3 we read, “Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.” Throughout all history, whenever God’s children have slipped into apostasy, prophets have been sent. Truly the Lord is saying, “I’ll never, no never; I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!” (“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85).
Change Is a Process
Some say it is wrong to require change in others or in ourselves—that we should just accept everyone as is. Although kind and tolerant, this advice goes against both the upward reach within us and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Some of the most miserable people I know are those who have “accepted themselves” as they are and refuse to change. They have sought comfort in erasing the need for change rather than turning to heaven for help and realizing they get lots of chances to change and start again.
Realizing that change is a process, most of us would never get angry at a seed for not being a flower or expect a sculptor to transform a block of marble into a masterpiece overnight. In each case, we acknowledge the potential and patiently hope for and nurture the development.
Alma taught that developing faith in Christ, the first principle of the gospel, was like the process of planting a seed and watching it grow. The second principle, repentance, is no less a process. King Lamoni’s father proclaimed, “I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18), and experienced a dramatic change. Most of us find the giving away of our sins takes more time.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson testified, “The remarkable examples . . . in scripture are just that—remarkable and not typical. For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time” (“Born Again,” 78). We must be careful not to speak of being born again as if it always happens in an instant (see
2 Corinthians 5:17; Mosiah 27:25–29; Alma 7:14). Why would our spiritual rebirth be any less a process than our physical birth? Doctors and nurses record the exact minute of a birth, but ask the mother who carried the baby and endured labor how long the process really took. Our spiritual rebirth takes even longer.
Although scriptures offer stern warnings for those who procrastinate their repentance (see Helaman 13:38; Alma 13:27), there is a big difference between procrastinating the day of our repentance and working through a repentance process, which more often than not takes more than a day. It is the difference between saying, “I’ll repent one day down the road” and actually spending many days on the road. There is no “right time” for which we have to wait to repent. There are many right times all along the way. Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote, “This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us if we remember that there are no instant Christians” (Notwithstanding My Weakness,11).
Little children don’t learn to walk in a day. Between the time a child is carried in a parent’s arms and the great day when he is running on his own, there is a lot of hand holding, baby stepping, and falling. For a child learning to walk, falling down may not be desirable, but the lessons learned from it are.
Similarly, before we came to the world, God knew we had progressed as far as we were able without an earthly experience. He could no longer carry us by keeping us in His presence. It was time for His children to learn how to walk on their own. That’s why He lovingly placed us here—across the room, so to speak—and stepped just beyond our reach, all the while beckoning us to come. He knew the tumbles that awaited us. He knew the ups and downs ahead. That’s why He planned from the very start to send our older brother to hold our hands, lift us up, and guide us across the room back to His outstretched arms. We left those arms crawling. We can return to them running.
Most of us are familiar with the scripture in Ether 12:27, which teaches that we are given weakness to ensure humility and that Christ’s grace is sufficient to make weak things strong. But it seems we expect that transition to be instantaneous. Christ could change us with a wave of His hand, but He knows that strength too easily achieved is not valued or enduring. That’s why as He changes weaknesses into strengths He usually uses the same natural process of a child learning to walk—one foot in front of another, one day after another, and even one fall after another.
We know that God cannot “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (Alma 45:16; D&C 1:31), and that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), so what chance do any of us have? The answer is a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance—as many as we need to get it right. God, who cannot look on sin with the least degree of allowance, can lovingly look on repentant sinners with a great deal of allowance and patience. He knows that change is necessary, and through Christ’s Atonement it is possible, but it is usually evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
God “doth not dwell in unholy temples” (Alma 7:21), but isn’t His spirit still felt in temples that are under construction or being remodeled? Building a temple takes years. The earth was formed in six creative periods (see Moses 2). Enoch’s Zion became a perfect society “in process of time” (Moses 7:21). Moses and Alma were translated after years of sanctification (see Alma 45:19). It appears even those who end up in the celestial kingdom will still be engaged in the perfecting process, for we read in D&C 76:60 that “they shall overcome all things” (emphasis added) and not that they already have. This life is the time to prepare to meet God (see Alma 12:24), but we still have eternity to learn to be like Him.
Repentance Is a Pattern
In Joseph Smith’s earliest account of his youthful experience in the Sacred Grove, he stressed that he had sought for and obtained forgiveness of his sins (see Backman, Joseph Smith’s First Vision, 206–8). Yet over the next three years Joseph felt remorse over “foolish errors,” “weakness[es] of youth,” and “foibles of human nature” (Joseph Smith–History 1:28). Consequently, he retired to his bed and poured out his heart to God seeking forgiveness. It was at this time that Moroni first visited him. It appears that even in the life of the Prophet, asking for and receiving forgiveness was not just a one-time experience. Seeing God, Jesus, and angels did not make Joseph immune from “sins and follies.” Revelations often contained chastisements and solemn warnings, but how comforting it must have been for him to also hear the phrase, “Your sins are forgiven you.” How comforting it is for us to see how often he and others heard that same reassuring phrase throughout many subsequent years (see D&C 29:3; 36:1; 50:36; 60:7; 62:3; 64:3; 84:61).
President Boyd K. Packer called sincere repentance a pattern in our lives (see “Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” 7). On another occasion, he testified that even “an ordinary soul—struggling against temptation, failing and repenting, and failing again and repenting, but always determined to keep [his] covenants” can still expect to one day hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, 257).
At a BYU Women’s Conference, Janet Lee said: “Christ healed bodies, minds, and souls. But after he healed the lepers, were they free from other struggles? After he restored sight to the blind, were they free from fear? Were the five thousand Christ fed ever hungry again? Was the sea calmed by Christ’s hand stirred by future storms? Yes” (“Pieces of Peace,” 10). Our needs—including the need for forgiveness—are continuous, and so is Christ’s Atonement in its ability to meet those needs.
Perhaps the most amazing lesson to be learned from Christ’s many miracles is that to Him, they were not miraculous. They were commonplace occurrences in His life. As repentance becomes a regular pattern in our lives, we come to appreciate more and more that offering forgiveness is a regular pattern in His.
So, the next time a young man reading the sacrament prayer makes a mistake, remember, that’s what the sacrament is all about. That’s what the continuous Atonement is all about—giving us the chance to begin again. How many times? Seventy times seven times—however long it takes.
Recommend this one to all you friends!
by Kayleen - reviewed on January 25, 2010
I loved this book! The study of the Atonement has become an obsession with me as I have had to call upon it again and again to get through life's difficult challenges. When I find a book that gives me further insight to this incredible gift I have to share it with all my friends. Brother Wilcox brings out things I hadn't thought of before making the Atonement even more meaningful to me (which hardly seems possible). Thank you, Brother Wilcox, for sharing your wisdom and insight!
by John - reviewed on April 23, 2009
This is a great book! I have shared it with many other people -- the other reviews are accurate in describing a hopeful book that adds insight and clarity into the doctrine of the Atonement. The personal examples and stories make the book very readable. Although some of Brad's books are geared towards teenagers this is a book that will very much benefit adults, as well as teens.
A book that every person should read more than once.
by Shauna - reviewed on May 06, 2009
It is hard to express the thoughts that I had about this book. From the first page until the last I have relished his examples and understood better about the Atonement. He makes it so clear what the Atonement really is and how it applys in my life and yours. I have felt the Spirit everytime that I picked the book up. I want to go through it again and again. His willingness to bring the concepts down to earth were anyone can understands them. Brad has always been able to make the reader or the listener feel as though they are the only important person there is and he does it so well in this book. This book should be in every L.D.S. library
by Annette - reviewed on June 25, 2009
Our family has read and listened to Pres. Wilcox for many many years. This new book is amazing and will bring new concepts and comfort as he teaches you how to let the Atonement work in our lives. We love you Pres. Wilcox.
A book of hope and renewed committment
by Debbie - reviewed on February 11, 2009
Having been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints throughout my life, I have always known the importance of repentance, keeping the commandments, and receiving ordinances from those in authority. But because of all I knew, I also felt the need to be really worthy to be able to obtain a remission of your sins. This book made me realize there is no waiting period for you to become worthy to repent. Our Savior will meet us where we are, at this very moment and raise us up to where we want and need to be. Without continuous repenting, we cannot benefit from the continuous atonement and benefit from the spiritual gifts he has for us that makes us stronger and able to resist temptation. We become better people, not just free from sin, but redeemed-improved -so we will be able to stand in his presence and live with him again. This cleansing and redemption can occur every time utilize the "Continuous Atonement" What a great message and author!
by Chad - reviewed on May 20, 2009
I loved reading this book. Brad Wilcox's insights and stories really helped me to capture a greater understanding of the Atonement of Christ. How blessed we are to have the Atonement, and all that it contains. This is one of those books that become the classics that don your family bookshelf. Books that will be read and re-read again and again.
PLEASE BUY IT
by Carlos - reviewed on May 15, 2009
Reading this book has been like entering a new sphere of understanding. I highly recommend this book. I've used some of its insights on the Atonement in a discourse as a High Councilor, and the Spirit was so strong! Buy it and read it more than once. You will appreciate more fully what the Savior did and is willing to do for us.
A great read for Youth to Adult
by brett - reviewed on May 14, 2009
This is a great book for any age. It explains the atonement in a fresh and thought provoking way that will inspire all
by Lee - reviewed on May 14, 2009
This is a must read for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding and apprieciation for the atonement of jesus christ. I loved the book and felt the spirit enlighten my mind and build my testimony. I am so grateful i choose to read this amazing book.
A Must-have for every library
by Denise - reviewed on August 30, 2010
I just loved this book. It is a book that I know I will read over again and again. It is not only for the discouraged, but for everyone. I tell everyone I know about this wonderfully, clear, touching, and enlightening book. Get it, read it and don't wait! Perfect for Christmas or any occasion.
WOW!!! The perspective in this book has given me hope and changed me in a way nothing else has!
by Monica - reviewed on February 03, 2009
WOW, WOW, WOW! This book is amazing. You can tell Brad Wilcox has thought for a very long time about this book because it is so profound, yet simple to understand. I've never understood the atonement more clearly and never felt so much hope in my entire life. Thanks Brad!
This book is awesome!
by Anne - reviewed on February 10, 2009
I love all the personal examples Bro. Wilcox uses to illustrate key points in each chapter. They really help to clarify how the atonement works for each of us. This book is hopeful, understandable, and masterfully written! Thank you for your thought-provoking insights on a topic so vitally important to each of us. I will read this book over and over again!
Bro. Wilcox's discussion of the Atonement provided insight that I have been seeking for a long time.
by John - reviewed on February 11, 2009
This book provided me with an instant insight into the personal nature of the atonement and how important it is for me to understand the Savior's purposes and intentions. Without question, this is Brad Wilcox's most significant work. As he described the importance of strengthening our personal relationship with the Savior by improving our understanding of how the Atonement works at a very personal level, I found myself empowered to truly realize the blessings Our Heavenly Father intends for me. Thank you, Brother Wilcox, for such an outstanding discussion of such an important doctrine.
Beautiful and toucing insights
by Maria - reviewed on February 12, 2009
I loved this book! It offers a completely new perspective on the Atonement that seems to fill in all the missing pieces. Wilcox has a way of providing insights and explaining truths so that they make sense and help me see the Atonement in a new light. I was continually touched and comforted on every page. This was a beautiful, well thought out book, and I would recommend it for anyone.
The Atonement is for You
by Gerilyn - reviewed on February 16, 2009
This book couldn’t have come out at a better time for me. I have had some major upsets in my life the last few months due to the choices of others, and I have had to rely on my Savior completely. In this book, I gained some incredible insights into my life as well as into the atonement. It’s a book that I will read again and again. I was deeply touched by the personal stories and how they related to the atonement. We are taught to “Liken the scriptures”, but I have been taught to “Liken the atonement” and apply it to every single part of my life. Thank you again for writing such an incredible book.
Continuous and Personized Atonement
by Gian - reviewed on February 17, 2009
Brad Wilcox’s The Continuous Atonement is a reminder that our Heavenly Father’s design for the salvation of his children is a successfully crafted plan. The Atonement is amazingly alive and continuously working in our lives. If for no other reason, I recommend this book simply because it allows me to reflect on my own stories and invites me to analyze how the Atonement continuously plays a part in and blesses my life. God’s marvelous plan is not a generic formula for the salvation of a majority of his children, rather, his plan includes “micro-managed” opportunities and strategies that are “tailor- made” for salvation of every individual child. That’s His ultimate winning strategy! Truly, no child left behind. Someday, we will discover just how intricately interconnected we are in each others' personal salvation. We may come to realize that we were in the right place, at the right time when God was able to use us as instruments not only to be part of His plan but to share in the joy of His success. Such is the claim Brad Wilcox can make regarding my personal progress in God’s divine plan. Brad introduced me to his daughter, Wendee, whom I will marry in the Temple next month. Thus he has been an instrument in the Lord’s merciful hands and will forever be entitled to share in our joy and blessings. HERE ARE A FEW GEMS FROM THE BOOK THAT DESERVE ATTENTION: Why Continuous? “Christ’s requirements are not so that we can make the best of the Atonement, but so that- on His generous terms- the Atonement can make the best of us.” What’s Redemption? “Redemption is more than paying the price of justice and bringing everyone back to God. It is mercifully giving us the opportunity of being comfortable there. Not only can we go home, we can also feel at home.” Is it Time to find Christ? “If we believe we have to be completely worthy before we approach God, we will never be able to. Those who feel like failures don’t usually fight for a front-row seat at heaven’s throne…. Christ’s power is not an emergency generator that turns on once our supply is exhausted. It is not a booster engine once we run out of steam. Rather it is our constant energy source. If we think of Christ only making up the difference after we do our part, we are failing to keep the promise we make each Sunday to always remember Him.” Why Confession? “God does not need our confession, we need it. Confession makes problems a part of our past, while hiding them and lying about them makes them a part of our future.” What Can We Offer Him? “Jesus doesn’t need followers to give Him self-esteem, authority or power. He stands supreme completely independent of followers. He does receive from disciples something that all the esteem, authority, and power in the universe can not offer: joy.”
We all need The Continuous Atonement
by Brett - reviewed on February 22, 2009
Every once in awhile, we are privileged to find a book that is in an instant both profound and accessible; a book that goes beyond teaching doctrine or rehearsing inspirational stories and allows us to feel deeply the hope the Gospel brings and to desire the changes the Atonement can offer. In The Continuous Atonement, Brother Wilcox has done exactly that—he has opened the door for many to discover the continuous nature of the Atonement in their lives. And he has done it is such a way that profound doctrine is taught through powerful real-life experiences. This is a work of the heart and those who have read it can attest to the hope its message brings and the change it inspires. For those who struggle in the throws of addiction or feel the effects of someone else’s struggles, this book is for you. For those who are discouraged that the gap between today’s actions and eternity’s requirements is so large, this book is for you. For those who need to know what it truly means to be redeemed, this book is for you. For those who stumble time and time again only to get back up with a desire to move forward, this book is for you. For those who wonder how past sins—forgiven but not forgotten—can ever make them more beautiful to the Savior, this book is for you. In reality, just like the continuous Atonement, the message of this book is for each one of us—time and time and time again. Thank you, Brother Wilcox.
Sanctified, not Continuously Atoned
by Customer - reviewed on March 09, 2009
I'm encouraged that this book may be fresh enough to get readers to find hope if they have been trapped in a hopeless self-perfection cycle. But the message isn't new. Our hope is found in Jesus Christ's resurrection, a new life in Him, and a new earth -- the good news of the New Testament. Perhaps for a more works-oriented culture like the LDS faith often has, books like this can help the message of Grace to be seen with new gratitude instead of rejection. Brad Wilcox appears to be giving the Gospel message a can-do, positive, hopeful presentation that reminds us God's saving work is His work, not our work. His glory, not our individual glory. One major detraction I have, having not read the book yet, but having listened to Wilcox in interviews, is the use of the title "Continuous Atonement" to describe the process of sanctification. Jesus's Atonement is not continuous. It was an everlasting, encompassing, majestic sacrifice to save God's creation and redeem it. It is also a gift for all who will accept. When we accept this gift in faith, we become His. Though we still make mistakes and fall short, we don't atone to Jesus over and over. And Jesus does not Atone for us over and over. The Spirit sanctifies us and converts our hearts to new creatures for the glory of God. Like Wilcox says, this takes time. But let's also be reminded it will not look the same for every believer. It's His work, not ours. Yes, each Child of God is His and His patience is everlasting. Let's just not be so individually preoccupied to describe our sanctification as a "continuous Atonement." With His everlasting Atonement and resurrection Christ reconciled all of creation to Him. He demonstrated His authority to redeem creation and heralded in His kingdom in the here and now. As individuals we benefit personally as we believe, are sanctified, and join as disciples building for His great kingdom. But let's also keep our eye on the big picture and not be so self focused to describe our continual, Spirit-sanctified growth in Him as a "Continuous Atonement." The Atonement has been accomplished. The enemy of death and sin, conquered.
Read the book
by jeff - reviewed on March 12, 2009
The book was a good read even if I am not the future son-in-law of the author. I thought that Gian's review was more for getting in the good graces of his bride, like telling the Stake pres. at your missionary farewell speech, "thanks for letting me date your daughter". But as a non-family member of the author...the book is a keeper.
One of the best books on grace ever written!
by David - reviewed on March 25, 2009
I thought that all the best books on Jesus Christ has already been written. I was wrong. This is one of the best books ever about the Savior and the grace he offers us. I loved it.
Incredibly deep, yet explanatory
by Dustin - reviewed on April 01, 2009
This book is one of the most amazing books I have even read. It is so rich with deep doctrine, yet it is easily understood by the average reader. I picked it up and read it in three days. I was hooked from chapter one. Wilcox is able to bring the Atonement to the understanding of those who are just beginning their path to recovery and enables the reader to look at the Atonement and the sacrifice of Christ in a different light. Many times readers perceive church books to be only for those who are leading perfect lives; Wilcox debunks that myth through his words in this book. This book is for all and ranks up there with "The Miracle of Forgiveness."
The Atonement is accessible to all.
by Sheryl - reviewed on April 01, 2009
I doubt I am the only member of the church who often feels insignificant. After reading The Continuous Atonement I have been renewed in the belief that I am NOT insignificant to the Savior. As I read deeper into the book, this impression replayed over and over. It is as if the book is my second witness to a truth often buried by life's burdens. The Savior's Atonement is not for the privileged few, it is specifically and uniquely for me. I appreciate the author's ability to make life changing truths accessible to my weak and weary heart. This book will lift you and renew your hope. It will remind you of the Lord's tender mercies toward you as a significant individual in the eternal plan of happiness. You will not find tired cliches written between the covers of this book. You will find renewed energy and hope in your quest to become like "Him."
Not feeling guilty
by Monika - reviewed on May 22, 2009
This book is for those LDS members who are doing his or her best to live the Lord's commandments on a day to day basis. This book is not a "feel-good" book, but explains the true meaning of Christ's most infinite and 'Continous' Atonement, and thus explaining that we as members need to remember that ANY effort we give to bettering ourselves is ACCEPTABLE to the Lord. HALLELUYAH!
The atonement is Amazing... this book helps us understand the infinite love of our Savior
by Jennilyn - reviewed on May 28, 2009
I loved this book. I went to Women's conference and attended Brad's class. After leaving the presentation I knew I was meant to be in it. I felt the spirit so strong in his class and bought this book a week later. I loved reading the book as it is one of those life changing books that bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and Christ. This book inspires us to become more like Christ, but give us hope and faith ( that through the atonement we can. There is a beautiful feeling of motivation to become better, not guilt. I loved this book so much that I have already given 2 away to friends. If you haven't yet...READ this book!
by jason - reviewed on May 31, 2009
I read this book directly after Kimball's "Miracle of Forgiveness." The juxtaposition was wonderful. While Kimball's words are detailed and one might say harsh (though in the best of ways). Wilcox's "The Continuous Atonement" is embracing with love. It presents repentance as something beautifully simple and simply beautiful. We are all in need of help and this book tells of where to find it. This book will change your life in the simplest, yet most wonderful of ways.
by Eli - reviewed on June 09, 2009
I just finished the Continuous Atonement and I feel that I have a greater appreciation for the depth and breadth of the Savior's influence in my life. Brad is a master story-teller as he provides personal experiences, analogies, and perspectives which young and old alike will truly enjoy. The book makes the Atonement accessible for everyone. It is a great resource of quotes, scriptures, and inspiration that I will go back to many times. I know the rest of my family will benefit from reading how the Atonement can influence and impact their lives eternally.
A refreshing and hopeful look at a constant principle
by DeeDee - reviewed on June 24, 2009
At a time when this earthly journey seems to be in jeopardy, when there's little help for feeling hope and despair seems deeper than ever, The Continuous Atonement brought me a great light to understanding this constant principle. Brad's personal stories of his missionaries, his family and his own teaching experiences enriched his explanation of the atonement in a way that I could truly wrap my heart around and strengthen my testimony. I am better for reading this book and am enpowered each day reflecting on his words of the gift of the atonement. A must read for all. Thank you, Brad!
by Customer - reviewed on November 25, 2009
This has opened my eyes a little differently, to appreciate the Atonement, and its continual application to us all!
A must have!
by Customer - reviewed on January 26, 2010
This book gives great insight into how the atonement works on a personal level. I am selective in the books I buy because I don't want them to just sit on a shelf. This is one that will be read over and over. I can't wait for "The Continuous Disciple," Brad!
For the suffering saints, a true Savior
by Susan - reviewed on June 04, 2010
For many years I wondered that perfection was so impossible, a distant goal that was unreachable...not that I would ever be perfect in this life anyway, but we are so often impressed upon to go the distance and become as perfect as possible. Daily failure finally erodes our resolve and makes the goal so big, that any effort seems futile. This book explains how our efforts amount to something, and count for something, and how we can improve our relationship with Christ..knowing Him as a real contributor to our success and final perfection. Amazing, timely and essential..thank you. Finally the atonement in words I can understand.
Find a gem on every page ...
by Customer - reviewed on February 01, 2011
This book arrived in my life at exactly the right time. I have not yet finished it ... but am so excited to read it every night (with my husband) that I actually rush through my nighttime activities. I have found great insight, comfort and motivation (to improve) and experience numerous 'Ah-ha!' moments.
Completely New Outlook
by Justin - reviewed on February 16, 2012
This is a tremendous book from Brad Wilcox. Wilcox has an entertaining command of the english langauge that makes reading this books easy and insightful. Wilcox has helped completely changed my outlook on the Atonment, and other doctrines of the church such as the nature of God and the Fall. I have reccomneded this book to almost everyone I know who is struggling with their personal worth and needs a spiritual jumpstart. definitely a book worth buying.
A book that changed my life.
by Tanner - reviewed on March 26, 2012
“The Continuous Atonement” by Brad Wilcox, was one of the best books I have ever read. When most people see the title that has to do with the atonement, they think the book is going to call them to repentance and show how the atonement helps cure our sins. However, with “The Continuous Atonement” this is not the case at all. This book showed in ever aspect in life that atonement is there for us, and how we need the atonement everyday in our lives, even when we do not sin. Wilcox said, “Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now our goal is progress in that direction-continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous Atonement.” This book shows us very well how the atonement cures not only sin, but also the feelings we feel each day. Wilcox added many real life stories that help portray each case the atonement is there for. “The Continuous Atonement” proves to each of us that Jesus is the Christ and that only by, and through him can all men be saved. Without him no man can enter into the kingdom of God, and how the suffering of Jesus Christ was more than what we think. Never has any book made me feel so close to the savior except for the scriptures. By the end I understood a whole lot more of how powerful the atonement is and why we had to have one. Wilcox made this book easy to understand the principles of the great sacrifices and did so with great power.