One of the debts the Savior paid was for little children. Those under the age of accountability – age eight (and older if the mental capacity for accountability is not there) – are freed from the demands of justice by virtue of the Atonement. Jesus suffered in the Garden and on the cross so that little children would be redeemed.
I marvel at the price the Savior paid. The more I think about the Atonement, the more awed I am by it. My pains and sufferings in this life are nothing compared to the Savior’s; yet, my sufferings and pains are everything to Him. He came to earth to pay the price for all our sins and sufferings. He paid in great drops of blood. He paid the measure due justice in His 40 day fast, in His fatigue, in His worry and sorrow; He paid with the lashes He received; Jesus Christ paid the debt as He carried His cross to Calvary until He could walk no more; He paid as He hung and died upon the cross. With His death came the end of His mortal work. He finished all His Father sent Him to do. He was the one true Son.
The Savior paid the debt owed justice. Mercy cannot rob justice. However, Christ did not just pay the debt, He also provides enabling power. The great prophet Enoch taught this principle many years ago:
“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified” (Moses 7:59-60).
We all sin and fall short but the Spirit justifies us. The blood of Christ sanctifies us – we are not only free from blame but also pure and holy and are endowed with power from on high. We are able to act with the knowledge and power of God. We lose the desire for sin and are enabled and enlightened in all aspects of life. The Atonement enables us not only to do good but also be good. It enables us to live godly lives here on earth and prepare to live godly lives in the world to come.
The Atonement is the keystone of the Plan of Salvation. Without the Lord’s sacrifice, all humankind would inevitably be lost. The entire measure of the earth’s creation would be for naught; it would be but dross and refuse. But the Atonement did occur; Jesus did suffer for us. That means it is up to each of us to choose to accept that sacrifice by choosing to make and be faithful to the principles, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel. The Lord stands at the door; we simply need to open the door and let Him in.