Always retain a remission of your sins - April 2016 Video - Text
3 Nephi 27:19-20
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
Today I would like to speak to you concerning ordinances, what they are and why they are essential in obtaining and retaining a remission of your sins.
What is an Ordinance?
Elder David A Bednar said:
Ordinances are sacred acts that have spiritual purpose, eternal significance, and are related to God’s laws and statutes. All saving ordinances and the ordinance of the sacrament must be authorized by one who holds the requisite priesthood keys.
The ordinances of salvation and exaltation administered in the Lord’s restored Church are far more than rituals or symbolic performances. Rather, they constitute authorized channels through which the blessings and powers of heaven can flow into our individual lives. Bednar April 2016
What does he mean by a channel by which the power of heaven can flow into our lives?
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
Analogy - of Channels to Irrigation
I grew up on a farm and on this farm in order to provide water to the plants we would make small trough's through the field. We would then use pipes to pipe water from a ditch into these troughs which would then channel the water down from the ditch into the field and water it. The channels of spiritual power and revelation that we are speaking today are the ordinances of the gospel. They are the keys/tokens that allow an individual to have the Holy Ghost affect their body and their soul!
#1 Through the ordinance of Baptism and the Laying on of Hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost an individual can be cleansed and converted
#2 Through the ordinance of the Sacrament we have the right to have the powers of heaven (Holy Ghost) always to be with us to change us and empower us
#1. Through the ordinance of Baptism and the Laying on of Hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost an individual can be cleansed and converted
Conversion through the Holy Ghost
The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized succinctly the essential role of priesthood ordinances in the gospel of Jesus Christ: “Being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.” This penetrating statement emphasizes the roles of both the Holy Ghost and sacred ordinances in the process of spiritual rebirth.
“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.” TPJS pg 16
“The gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, cannot be revelealed through the medium of any other principle than the principle of righteousness, for if the proposals are not complied with it is of no use, but withdraws. TPJS pg 81
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit and bears witness of all truth. In the scriptures, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the Comforter, a teacher, and a revelator. Additionally, the Holy Ghost is a sanctifier who cleanses and burns dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire. Bednar April 2016
When an individual has received an authorized baptism - the channel for the Holy Ghost is open. The way is made clear and the process by which the Holy Ghost can flow into an individuals life becomes available. We however must like the irrigation example above we must connect the ditch to the pipe. We must choose to do what is right, we must repent of our sins, and thus receive a remission of them. Then the power of Godliness can flow into our lives through the reception of the Holy Ghost, and we can receive a remission of our sins and be sanctified before God. It doesn't happen immediately... it doesn't happen all at once. Like water flowing down a farmer's trench from a ditch it slowly changes us to be disciples of Jesus Christ and men and women of God.
This conversion is a process - not a single event. It is a step by step conversion/change of an individual from one type of person to another. It is a gradual and slow process by which we become disciples of Jesus Christ and men and women of God. It is the process by which the Holy Ghost actually physically changes us that we become the Sons and Daughters of Aaron and the church of the firstborn.
D&C 76:50-53, 69-70
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost is an ordinance administered in the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the process of coming unto the Savior and spiritual rebirth, receiving the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost in our lives creates the possibility of an ongoing cleansing of our soul from sin. This joyous blessing is vital because “no unclean thing can dwell with God.”
As members of the Lord’s restored Church, we are blessed both by our initial cleansing from sin associated with baptism and by the potential for an ongoing cleansing from sin made possible through the companionship and power of the Holy Ghost—even the third member of the Godhead. Bednar April 2016
Because you have received the Holy Ghost - you have been at least in part redeemed from the Fall. You have been brought back into the presence of God (Holy Ghost) if you but retain a remission of your sins through repentance and choosing to do what is right!
The sacrament is the third ordinance necessary to obtain access to the power of godliness. That we might more fully keep ourselves unspotted from the world, we are commanded to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments upon the Lord’s holy day. Please consider that the emblems of the Lord’s body and blood, the bread and the water, are both blessed and sanctified. “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread [or this water] to the souls of all those who partake [or drink] of it.” To sanctify is to make pure and holy. The sacramental emblems are sanctified in remembrance of Christ’s purity, of our total dependence upon His Atonement, and of our responsibility to so honor our ordinances and covenants that we can “stand spotless before [Him] at the last day.”
The ordinance of the sacrament is a holy and repeated invitation to repent sincerely and to be renewed spiritually. The act of partaking of the sacrament, in and of itself, does not remit sins. But as we prepare conscientiously and participate in this holy ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then the promise is that we may always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us. And by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can always retain a remission of our sins.
We truly are blessed each week by the opportunity to evaluate our lives through the ordinance of the sacrament, to renew our covenants, and to receive this covenant promise.Bednar April 2016The sacrament is an ordinance that should "Fill us" with his spirit!
3 Nephi 18:8-9
9 And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled.
In summary then how then are ordinances used to obtain and retain a remission of our sins?
Sometimes Latter-day Saints express the wish that they could be baptized again—and thereby become as clean and worthy as the day on which they received their first saving gospel ordinance. May I respectfully suggest that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son do not intend for us to experience such a feeling of spiritual renewal, refreshment, and restoration just once in our lives. The blessings of obtaining and always retaining a remission of our sins through gospel ordinances help us understand that baptism is a point of departure in our mortal spiritual journey; it is not a destination we should yearn to revisit over and over again.
The ordinances of baptism by immersion, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament are not isolated and discrete events; rather, they are elements in an interrelated and additive pattern of redemptive progress. Each successive ordinance elevates and enlarges our spiritual purpose, desire, and performance. The Father’s plan, the Savior’s Atonement, and the ordinances of the gospel provide the grace we need to press forward and progress line upon line and precept upon precept toward our eternal destiny. Bednar April 2016
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
On this fathers day remember that it is by the Grace of God we are saved, Our Eternal Heavenly Father wants to save us he wants to perfect us and he wants us to return and live with him again! It is his work and his glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He loves us and will do everything he can - while following law to help us obey and return to live with him.