Elder David A. Bednar: ‘Exceeding Great and Precious Promises’

Elder David A. Bednar emphasized the importance of the “exceeding great and precious promises” Peter described in 2 Peter 1:3-4.

Speaking in the Sunday morning session of general conference on Oct. 1, Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve called those promises “true reminders of where we are going in our mortal journey and why.”

“I also will discuss the respective roles of the Sabbath Day, the holy temple and our homes in helping us to remember these important spiritual promises,” he added.

Just before citing “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Elder Bednar said, “His plan defines our eternal identity and the pathway we must follow to learn, change, grow, and, ultimately, dwell with Him forever.”

He said, “We comprehend more full the exceeding great and precious promises and begin to partake of the divine nature by responding affirmatively to the call from the Lord to glory and virtue. As described by Peter, this call is fulfilled by striving to escape the corruption that is in the world.”

A spiritual rebirth takes place, he said, as one presses forward submissively with faith in the Savior.

“Such a comprehensive change in our nature typically does not occur quickly or all at once,” he said. “Like the Savior, we receive ‘not of the fullness at first, but [receive] grace for grace’ (Doctrine and Covenants 93:12).”

Elder Bednar said priesthood ordinances and covenants are essential in the ongoing process of spiritual rebirth. They bring the assurance of blessings if one is faithful, he said, such as the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, a remission of sins through the Atonement of Christ, peace in this world, resurrection from death and being together as families for all eternity.

“The Sabbath Day and the Holy Temple are two specific sources of divine help instituted by God to assist us in rising above the level and corruption of the world,” he noted. “We initially may think that the overarching purposes of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and attending the temple are related but distinctive. I believe, however, that those two purposes are precisely the same and work together to strengthen us spiritually as individuals and in our homes.”

Saying the Sabbath is a sacred time, he added, “On the Sabbath we worship the Father in the name of the Son by participating in ordinances and learning about, receiving, remembering and renewing covenants. On His holy day, our thoughts, actions and demeanor are signs we give to God and an indicator of our love for Him.”

An additional purpose of the Sabbath, he said, is to elevate one’s vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity.

Similarly, Elder Bednar said, “A principal purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity. Removed for a short time from the worldly settings with which we are familiar, we can ‘look to God and live’ by receiving and remembering the great and precious promises whereby we become partakers of the divine nature.”

Elder Bednar added, “Please note that the Sabbath Day and the temple, respectively, are a sacred time and a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His exceeding great and precious promises to His children.”

The principal purposes of the Sabbath and temple are exactly the same, he said, “to powerfully and repeatedly focus attention upon our Heavenly Father, His Only Begotten Son, the Holy Ghost and the promises associated with the ordinances and covenants of the Savior’s restored gospel.”

The home should be “the ultimate combination of time and space wherein individuals and families remember most effectively God’s great and precious promises,” Elder Bednar explained.

“Leaving our homes to spend time in Sunday meetings and to enter the sacred space of a temple is vital but insufficient,” he said. “Only as we bring the spirit and strength derived from those holy activities back with us into our homes can we sustain our focus upon the great purposes of mortal life and overcome the corruption that is in the world.”

He remarked, “What we do in our homes with His sacred time and with what we learn in His sacred space is pivotal to becoming partakers of the divine nature.”