“Retaining a Remission of Sin,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 77–78
It was in his final address to his people that King Benjamin gave them a formula for retaining a remission of their sins. He had seen their willingness to enter into a covenant with God to do His will and to be obedient to His commandments in all things. Would it not be beneficial for us to review that formula so that we, too, might enjoy this great blessing?
After having received the great joy that comes from knowing the goodness of God and having tasted of His love, King Benjamin taught his people three basic principles that would help them retain a remission of their sins: first, to remain humble; second, to call upon the Lord daily; and third, to stand steadfast in the faith of that which was to come (see Mosiah 4:11).
Let us review each of these so that we may also be strengthened in our resolves to retain a remission of our sins.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught us that “all progress in spiritual things is conditioned upon the prior attainment of humility.”1 Humility has been described as having the “desire to submit to the Lord,” the “desire to seek the Lord’s will and glory,” and the “desire to remove pride.”2 King Benjamin told his people that they should “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” (Mosiah 4:11). The Lord counseled in the Doctrine and Covenants that “inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time” (D&C 1:28).
May we each develop our humility by submitting to the will of the Lord in all things so that we may retain a remission of our sins.
Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have while here on earth. Through prayer we can communicate with our Heavenly Father and seek His guidance daily. Jesus taught, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Ne. 18:19). We should pray each day that we will have the power to resist temptation. Amulek teaches us that we should pray “morning, mid-day, and evening” and that our hearts should “be full, drawn out in prayer unto [God] continually” (Alma 34:21, 27). Our daily prayers influence our thoughts, our words, and our actions. In order to retain a remission of our sins, it is essential that we ask our Heavenly Father each day for strength to stay in the straight and narrow way.
In the general conference of last April, President James E. Faust taught that “to sustain faith, each of us must be humble and compassionate, kind and generous to the poor and the needy. Faith is further sustained by daily doses of spirituality that come to us as we kneel in prayer.”3
A beautiful portrayal of prayer was given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in his opening remarks of the October 1996 general conference: “You have prayed that you might hear things that will help you with your problems and add strength to your faith. I assure you that we have prayed also. We have prayed for inspiration and direction. There is a constant prayer in our hearts that we will not fail in the great trust the Lord has placed in us and the trust you have placed in us. We have prayed that we might be prompted to say those words which will build faith and testimony and which will become answered prayers for those who will hear.”4
I testify that those who call upon the Lord daily will have greater power to retain a remission of their sins.
Recently I stood with the missionaries of the Montevideo Uruguay West Mission as they quoted aloud the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” (D&C 4:2). I felt the spirit of their callings as they stand steadfast in their stewardships of bringing souls to Christ. Latter-day Saints are commanded to “lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand” (D&C 27:15). King Benjamin taught that his people were to stand steadfast “in the faith of that which [was] to come” (Mosiah 4:11). They had “cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, … who shall come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 4:2).
“The Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of [their] exceeding faith … in Jesus Christ who should come” (Mosiah 4:3).
Today we can stand steadfast in the testimony of “The Living Christ,” as given by living Apostles: “We testify that He will someday return to earth. ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together’ (Isa. 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.”5
Brothers and sisters, these blessings can be ours if we will apply these same three principles in our lives. Those Saints in King Benjamin’s day were promised that if they would do this, they would always rejoice and be filled with the love of God. This gave them power in retaining a remission of their sins. They were promised that they would grow in the knowledge of the Lord and in the knowledge of that which was just and true. They would have no mind to injure one another but would live at peace with one another. They would discipline their children with love and teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness. They would love one another and serve one another. They would impart of their substance to care for the poor, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to take care of the sick. They would administer relief to their fellowmen both spiritually and temporally. What greater blessing could we ask for?
May God grant that we, too, may retain a remission of our sins. I testify that God lives and that His Only Begotten Son is indeed our Savior and our Redeemer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.