“My message focuses upon the principle of always retaining a remission of our sins,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference on April 2.
Drawing from the teachings of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, Elder Bednar spoke of “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.”
It is by doing those things, that all may “rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins,” he said.
Elder Bednar spoke of the spiritual rebirth that happens as people “awake unto God” and are “born again” to become “new creatures in Christ.” It is through the grace of the Savior that all can triumph over the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man and become more selfless, benevolent and saintly.
Also important to the plan are the gifts of the Holy Ghost and priesthood ordinances.
“Holy ordinances are central in the Savior’s gospel and in the process of coming unto Him and seeking spiritual rebirth,” he 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.”
Ordinances of salvation and exaltation administered in the Lord’s restored Church are far more than rituals or symbolic performances, he said. Rather, they constitute authorized channels through which the blessings and powers of heaven can flow into the life of every individual.
“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 for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the sacrament,” he said.
Baptism is an initial cleansing of the soul from sin and an ongoing cleansing from sin is possible through the companionship and power of the Holy Ghost, he taught. The sacrament is the third ordinance necessary to obtain access to the power of godliness.
“We are imperfect human beings striving to live in mortality according to Heavenly Father’s perfect plan of eternal progression,” Elder Bednar taught. “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,’ 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. Our weaknesses can be strengthened, and our limitations can be overcome.”