38 For thus saith the Lord: Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and ye shall be redeemed without money.
(3 Nephi 20:38)
I love the symmetry in this verse. Here we have two complimentary one-sided transactions:
1. When we sin, we trade ourselves and our potential for temporary advantages which quickly evaporate, leaving us empty-handed. We give away something priceless and receive essentially nothing in return. At least, the ultimate value of what we receive rounds to zero when viewed over an infinite time horizon.
2. The Savior paid the ultimate price for our sins, and the effort we must make to take advantage of it is de minimus compared with the price He has paid. In fact, we could not have paid that price ourselves, not in a way which sanctifies us and makes us holy as His atonement can do.
So we find ourselves in this incredibly ironic situation: we have given away our most priceless possession — our own souls — and received basically nothing in return, and on the other hand, because of the Savior’s atonement, those sins can be washed away basically for free.
I have experienced the power of the atonement in my life and have seen it operating in other people’s lives as well. Today I will remember Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and for the compassionate balance it creates as it bridges the gap between my own foolish actions and the divine potential He offers to all of us.