Daily repentance


Whenever I am in a church setting and the topic of repentance comes up, inevitably someone will state that we should be repenting all of the time, or every day, etc. The comment is always met with agreement by those who hear it. It appears to be a generally accepted understanding that as we are not perfect, we are prone to sin and error and must repent of our sins from day to day. The expression is not just confined to the general membership, but the leaders use it often, too. Living a life free of sin is generally thought to be impossible. But is this what the Lord teaches in his gospel?

Every time I hear these expressions, the following scripture comes to my mind:

RETAINING A REMISSION OF SINS

King Benjamin said, “And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4: 11-12)

My understanding is that when we come into the fold of God and receive the Holy Ghost, we receive a remission of our sins, becoming justified (guiltless.) We no longer desire to sin and we desire to do good continually. In such a state, by nurturing our faith in the above ways, we can always retain a remission of our sins and stop sinning forever more.

In our religion, 1 Nephi 3: 7 is one of the most quoted scriptures:

Nephi said, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Ne. 3: 7)

We quote the scripture and believe the scripture, but not when it applies to altogether ceasing to sin. Yet, the Lord on multiple occasions has commanded to “sin no more.” Just look at the following:

“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5: 14)

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8: 11)

“Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.” (D&C 6: 35)

“Nevertheless, thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way and sin no more.” (D&C 24: 2)

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.” (D&C 29: 3)

“And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.” (D&C 82: 7)

“Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her; and I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen. (D&C 97: 27-28 )

So, what do you believe? Can we always retain a remission of our sins? Is it possible to sin no more?

Next Repentance article: Are we commanded to confess to ecclesiastical authorities without witnesses?

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