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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

05. How Do You Know You're Forgiven?

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the fifth examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

While it's clear that "the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance" (D&C 1:31), he also tells us that "he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven." (D&C 1:32)

So, how can you know if you've truly been forgiven? 

How can you know you're ready to implement D&C 93:1's remaining criteria ("cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments")?

Here are a few ideas:

Recognize when you're unnecessarily burdening yourself.

"Sometimes it is easier for the Lord not to remember our sins than it is for us.  They become a cross because we will not do ourselves the favor of carrying on. Can you carry appropriately the cross of forgiveness? Some of us would rather carry a cross than confess and start anew." (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 33)

You confess your sins and forsake them.

D&C 58:43 is a good start:
"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

You feel the Spirit and receive personal revelation.

Here's another possibility to ponder.  It was heard by my good friend, John Pontius (he originally quoted it here).  Although it's not canon, and it's never been officially published, to me, it makes sense:
“I heard Bruce R. McConkie ask this question, 'How can you tell if you are living a life that is acceptable to God? How can you tell if you have been forgiven for a past sin you have been working to repent of?'

His answer was simply this: If you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life – if you are receiving personal revelation, if you receive answers to your prayers, then you are in the straight and narrow way, and your sins are forgiven, because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in unholy people.”

You forgive others.

"...Inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you." (D&C 82:1)
Joseph Smith expanded on this when he said:
"Ever keep in exercise the principle of  mercy, and be ready to forgive our     brother on the first intimations of  repentance, and asking forgiveness; and should we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church vol. 3:383)

Just remember these quotes:

"Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend." (Orson F. Whitney, Conf. Rpt. Apr. 1929, 110)

"Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 257-258)

"I believe that his [Heavenly Father's] judicial concept of his dealings with his children could be expressed in this way: I believe that in His justice and mercy he will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose." (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, 3 Oct. 1953, p. 84.)
My challenge to you: go forth, prove the Lord and see if He will not be more merciful, more charitable, more boundless in His blessings than you are ready to believe.  I have done so, and have been left astounded by the goodness and mercy of God.

You know what to do.  Go do it.

And prepare yourself to come unto the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! I love your quotes.. where do you get access to the older conference reports? :) I would like to be able to read those. :)