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:


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?

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist



  1. It seems the answer would be in the first scripture you quoted in Mosiah 4:11-12. The key word is if in “if ye do this ye shall always rejoice.”

    Even though we remember the exceedingly great joy in our souls when we received a remission of our sins and desire to “sin no more,” we are only human and not perfect. So of course we will sin and have to repent.

    In the lessons I took a few months ago while investigating the Church we are taught that repentance is:

    * Recognize that you have sinned and feel sincere sorrow for what you have done.
    * Stop sinning and strive never to commit sin again. (i.e. sin no more)
    * Confess your sins to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. If you have sinned against another person, you must ask that person for forgiveness. (King Benjamin says to call on the name of the Lord Daily / pray)
    * Make restitution. You should do everything in your power to correct any problems your actions may have caused.
    * Keep the commandments.
    * Acknowledge the Savior and realize that forgiveness comes because Jesus Christ suffered for your sins.

    For all the other scriptures you quoted where they say “sin no more,” I take it as a step of repentance.

  2. God promises us the power and ability to command satan to depart and to be able to bind him. I do believe it is possible to be temptation free, but further revelations will come requiring more than we ever dreamed. 3 nephi 28:39

  3. LDSA, I know you posted this article nigh unto 10 years ago, so maybe your viewpoint on daily repentance has changed.

    It is obvious that the vast majority sins every day by not fulfilling the commandment in JST Mathew 5

    50 Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

    So, doesnt it stand to reason that one must sincerely repent every day for not yet being perfect? Isnt that why we should have a contrite heart? A heart which is filled with contrition every waking moment because one is not yet perfect.

    As far as “retaining the remission of sins”, one does not lose it immediately upon sinning, there is a grace period in which you must “speedily repent” (as per DC 109:21). If one repents speedily, their remission of sins is retained.

    As far as Jesus saying “go and sin no more”, I can only see that He was referring to the specific sin the person had just repented of and not to any sin.

  4. jackdale76,

    The commandment to be perfect refers to the doctrine of group salvation. See this post for more information. If you are actively working to save the group, according to your circumstances and power, you are obeying the commandment to be perfect.

    As far as “retaining the remission of sins”, one does not lose it immediately upon sinning, there is a grace period in which you must “speedily repent” (as per DC 109:21). If one repents speedily, their remission of sins is retained.

    As far as Jesus saying “go and sin no more”, I can only see that He was referring to the specific sin the person had just repented of and not to any sin.

    No, that is not correct. One loses the remission of sins immediately, upon sinning, but for only that particular sin. In other words, if you steal something and fornicate, and then repent of stealing and fornication, then later you steal another thing, but you don’t fornicate, you lose the remission of sins you had received for stealing, but you still retain the remission of your sins of fornication. All the previous times you had stolen and of which you had received remission of sins are also undone by the return to stealing. The penalty is now the combined weight of all your stealing, not just for the last time you stole. You must speedily repent because if you don’t, the devil will make it harder and harder for you to repent of that sin of stealing, and he will get his chains of hell not only pulling you back towards stealing with full force again, but also in committing fornication and any other sins he can get you to do. The longer a person waits to repent, the harder it gets to repent and the easier it gets to continue in the sin. Thus, everyone, upon returning to sin, must “speedily repent,” otherwise the devil completely hardens their hearts making it nigh impossible to repent.

    “Go and sin no more” applies to all sin. We are commanded to obey the commandments of God. The commandment to obey the commandments of God is the commandment not to sin. The woman taken in adultery likely had other sins she was guilty of. Jesus would not tell her to merely stop committing adultery, but to altogether cease from all sins, for God’s commandment is to obey all His commandments, not just some of them.

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