Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve invited members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to work to stand spotless in a continuous process of repentance and remission.
Elder Bednar spoke during the Saturday afternoon session of the 186th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Bednar said, “my message focuses upon the principle of always retaining a remission of our sins.”
He taught that members have the opportunity for spiritual rebirth. He also said that the grace of Jesus Christ “can help us triumph over the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man and become more selfless, benevolent, and saintly.”
Elder Bednar said holy ordinances are vital in the process of this spiritual rebirth and can help members obtain the blessings of the Atonement.
“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,” Elder Bednar said.
He said the Prophet Joseph Smith “emphasized the vital linkage between the ordinances of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
According to Elder Bednar, the scriptures repeatedly emphasize the connections between repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and the remission of sins.
“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,” he said.
He spoke of how some Saints wish they could be baptized again.
“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,” Elder Bednar said. “The blessings of obtaining and always retaining a remission of our sins through gospel ordinances helps 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.”
He said members may feel inadequate at times and determined at others, but the power of the Lord can teach all things.
In his concluding remarks, Elder Bednar said, “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.”