3 Nephi 1:23
Remission of Sins
The people were converted because of the sign of Jesus' birth. Nephi baptized many people.
Baptism brings remission of sins and peace.
In his spiritually stirring farewell sermon to the people he had served and loved, King Benjamin described the importance of knowing the glory of God and tasting of His love, of receiving a remission of sins, of always remembering the greatness of God, and of praying daily and standing steadfastly in the faith.1 He also promised that by doing these things, “ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins.”2
My message focuses upon the principle of always retaining a remission of our sins. The truth expressed in this phrase can strengthen our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and deepen our discipleship. I pray the Holy Ghost will inspire and edify us as we consider together essential spiritual truths.
To comprehend more fully the process whereby we may obtain and always retain a remission of our sins, we need first to understand the inseparable relationship among three sacred ordinances that provide access to the powers of heaven: baptism by immersion, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament.
Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins “is the introductory ordinance of the gospel”16 of Jesus Christ and must be preceded by faith in the Savior and by sincere repentance. This ordinance “is a sign and a commandment which God has set for [His children] to enter into His kingdom.”17 Baptism is administered in the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. In the process of coming unto the Savior and spiritual rebirth, baptism provides a necessary initial cleansing of our soul from sin.
The baptismal covenant includes three fundamental commitments: (1) to be willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, (2) to always remember Him, and (3) to keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is “that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”18 Thus, baptism is the essential preparation to receive the authorized opportunity for the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead.
Statement 2: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”22
Statement 3: “The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use. They are necessarily and inseparably connected.”23
We are imperfect human beings striving to live in mortality according to Heavenly Father’s perfect plan of eternal progression. The requirements of His plan are glorious, merciful, and rigorous. We may at times be filled with determination and at other times feel totally inadequate. We may wonder if we spiritually can ever fulfill the commandment to stand spotless before Him at the last day.
With the help of the Lord and through the power of His Spirit to “teach [us] all things,”31 indeed we can be blessed to realize our spiritual possibilities. Ordinances invite spiritual purpose and power into our lives as we strive to be born again and become men and women of Christ.32 Our weaknesses can be strengthened, and our limitations can be overcome.
Although none of us can achieve perfection in this life, we can become increasingly worthy and spotless as we are “cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.”33 I promise and testify we will be blessed with increased faith in the Savior and greater spiritual assurance as we seek to always retain a remission of our sins and, ultimately, to stand spotless before the Lord at the last day. I so witness in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.