3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained–being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
To be redeemed is to be saved from the natural consequences of sin or error. All of us can have our sins forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, by repenting and participating in the ordinances of the gospel.
The ultimate redemption, of course, comes only after we have endured to the end as disciples of Christ (2 Nephi 31:15-16). At the Final Judgment, if we have been cleansed of all our sins and sanctified by the Savior, then “it shall be well with [us]” (Mormon 7:10). That is the ultimate goal of the Atonement: to enable us to overcome our faults and weaknesses and qualify to enter the presence of the Lord forever.
Every time we receive a calling from the Lord, we are also judged. As Alma describes above, even though we may have been foreordained, we must first exercise faith, receive the Spirit of the Lord, and choose righteousness in order to receive the calling. And because we have all “sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we must be cleansed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to serve effectively. That cleansing process can be called a “preparatory redemption.” It is the same power which will save us at the Final Judgment, but its immediate purpose is to qualify us to serve today.
I’m grateful for the power of the Atonement. I’m grateful that I can be forgiven for my sins and that my guilt can be swept away, not only because I need that redemption to eventually return to God’s presence, but also because I must be clean in order to serve the Lord effectively today.