In my last post, I highlighted the idea that the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is a core component of the gospel of Jesus Christ as prescribed by the latter day scriptures (D&C 33:11-12 and D&C 39:6). In my reading of the scriptures, one of the core messages of the Book of Mormon is the opportunity to receive a remission of our sins through the marvelous power delivered through the baptism of water followed by the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter.  For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive. (2 Nephi 31:17-18).

It is through a remission of our sins that we are sanctified (truly become saints) in preparation for entering the presence of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ as He defined during His visit to the Nephites described why this is a necessity:

And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:19-20)

There are several examples provided in the book including the experiences of the people of King Benjamin, Alma the younger, Enos, and the 300 Lamanites in the Book of Helaman. Each of these depictions of ‘being born again’ have, within this group, unique characteristics. Here is how I would characterize them.

Enos

We are not given a significant amount of information about this man. We know that he characterized his quest for a remission of his sins as a ‘wrestle [he] had before God.’ We understand that he allowed the words which he received from his father sink deep into his heart. He went out to hunt and used the solitude to seek a remission of his sins.

And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. (Enos 1:4-6)

People of King Benjamin

As he neared death, King Benjamin asked his son to send out a proclamation to the people to assemble themselves at the temple. He spoke words that were made known to him by an angel concerning Jesus Christ, who was to come.

…I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. (Mosiah 3:17)

He spoke of the need to put ‘off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and  [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord [sees] fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.’ (Mosiah 3:19)

When he had finished speaking the words that were given to him by the angel, he looked around to see that those who had listened to him had fallen to the earth and had begun to petition the Lord:

And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.  And they all 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 created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words 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 the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them. (Mosiah 4:2-3)

Alma the Younger

The son of the high priest Alma was not aligned with his father’s desires. He and the sons of Mosiah were going about seeking to ‘destroy the church of God’ that had been established by his father. The party ended abruptly, though, when an angel, prompted by the prayers of his father and others, appeared to them. Alma spent the next three days within himself as his father and others prayed for his safe return (Mosiah 27:22). Alma describes his experience:

And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins.  But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul. (Alma 38:8)

The 300 Lamanites

The two sons of Helaman, Nephi and Lehi, were having great success preaching among the Lamanites, having baptized eight thousand in the land of Zarahemla. When they then took their efforts into the land of Nephi, they were imprisoned and held many days without food. When the Lamanites came to put them to death, ‘Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire’ and their captors feared to touch them.

Those Lamanites and dissenting Nephites, who had come to slay these righteous men were then told that what they had seen was from God. They were overshadowed by a cloud of darkness and heard a voice telling them to repent .They were able to see that Nephi and Lehi were conversing with heavenly beings. Aminadab, a dissenting Nephite was able to help these men understand what was transpiring.

And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse?

Now the man’s name was Aminadab.  And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?

And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.

And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.(Helaman 5:38-45)

Continuing the dialog

So we have two individuals and two groups who were blessed the ‘born again’ experience, one righteous and one wicked person and group. I had often wondered why we were given the variety of experiences described here. I believe that the message is found in the common elements of these stories. In each case those involved had to exhibit faith in Jesus Christ and, in each case, had to cry out to the Lord. The message that I derive is that, no matter where we are on the spectrum of goodness or badness, we can reach out to the Lord, in humility, and He will hear our cry.

Some of us may be honest seekers of truth and joy, as was Enos, and find a remission of our sins at the end of a long and fervent prayer. Others may be more like Alma the younger, who must endure a period of anguish and pain which tempers the soul and opens the heart to the Lord. It can happen to an individual or to a group. It can happen no matter where you find yourself relative to God. It CAN happen…and it will as we humble ourselves and seek the Lord.

In D&C, section 10 the Lord defines an interesting doctrine:

Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. (D&C 10:67-69)

This simple statement speaks very loud to me. The Lord’s church is fashioned from those who come unto him. It is by approaching Him in prayer that the remission of our sins is enjoined. It is the atonement of the Lord which offers the cleansing baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, which is the gate to the strait and narrow path. (2 Nephi 31:17-18)

Just as Jesus Christ did during His visit to the Nephites, he will administer this second baptism.  Here are the words He spoke on that occasion:

Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am. (3 Nephi 12:1)

In order to receive a remission of our sins through the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, we must petition the Lord for this event. It now makes more sense to me when I read from Moroni, chapter 6 regarding the steps necessary to belong to His church:

And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. (Moroni 6:4)

It was not until after they had been cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost that they who brought forth fruit were numbered with the people of the church. It is not until we come unto Christ that we are considered His Church.

There is no prescribed allegiance to the doctrines of men, there is not prerequisite of donation or position, there is no hedging up the way those who wish to maintain the purity of the church, to come unto the Lord. It is between you, individually and collectively, to seek Him in mighty prayer, to come unto Him and to receive of Him the sanctification promised those who repent and show forth faith. Who, again, are those who are called saints? Those who have been cleansed by the fire and by the Holy Ghost and are numbered with the people of Christ, who have come unto Christ, who have passed through the gate onto the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

It is the work of God to bring to pass the eternal life of mankind. He has established the way. It is simple yet difficult to prepare ourselves to place our footsteps on that path.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

In summary, the scriptures teach that the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is the gate to the strait and narrow path to eternal life. Eternal life, which is the work and glory of God, is found through knowing God. We have been offered the way, if we will but seek Him. He will know us through the administration of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matthew 25:1-12)

I know you not – the relationship is two way, we must know the Lord and the Lord must know us.

What think ye?

31 Responses to “The Key to a Remission of Our Sins”

  • sfort:

    37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

    Remission of sins before baptism? Or is “unto” the looking forward to? Since baptism is the token of our belief and following our Lord,

    preposition
    1.an archaic word for to
    Word Origin
    C13: of Scandinavian origin; see until

    Word Origin and History for unto Expand
    prep.
    mid-13c., perhaps a modification of until, with southern to in place of northern equivalent till. Or perhaps a native formation on the model of until from Old English *und- “up to,” cognate of the first element in until. Since 18c., chiefly in dignified, archaic, or Biblical styles.

    Perhaps we can use this term “unto” as until, however, “do unto others” signifies something different altogether.

    • Spektator:

      I have used similar thinking as it applies to verses that speak of baptism for the remission of sins. I believe baptism by water is not the cleansing force but is in anticipation of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost that carries with it the remission of sins.

      The phrase, ‘the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,’ is how work of John the Baptist was characterized. While, in my opinion, a reading of this may suggest that the baptism of repentance is necessary but not sufficient for the remission of sins.

      In Moroni, chapter 8:11, one finds the following:
      “Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.”

      I would suggest that ‘unto’ could be rendered as ‘in anticipation of.’

      Moroni continues in verse 25:

      “And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

      Does that work?

      • Log:

        Spek,

        Verse 25 contradicts your supposition, and plainly so, for repentance culminates in the remission of sins. A remission of sins is a prerequisite for baptism (D&C 20:37).

        Consider also this.

        3 Nephi 7:25
        25 Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.

        The solution is that there is a remission of sins available that does not entail being baptized by fire – and that is to receive of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of one’s sins. Very often, a person that is baptized will describe being filled with heat or warmth – this is the manifestation of this remission of sins.

    • Spektator:

      As I read verse 25, baptism is an outcome of faith which is generated by obedience to the commandments. Fulfilling the commandments brings a remission of sins.
      Fulfilling what commandment brings a remission of sins? How about this one:

      Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
      Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved

      I believe this clearly states that a remission of sins requires both a water baptism and a baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Did Enos get a remission of his sins when he was baptized by water? Did the people of King Benjamin get a remission of sins when they were baptized by water?
      The doctrine of Christ as found in 2 Nephi 31:17 states that:

      Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
      And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

      I would disagree that a ‘burning in the bosum’ is a signal that a person has received a remission of their sins. I would say that it is a confirmation by the Spirit that approved the act of obedience.

      • Log:

        Did Enos get a remission of his sins when he was baptized by water?

        We don’t even know if he was baptized by water; we may infer it, but if he was, we don’t know when he was. “A remission of my sins” is not equivalent to “The remission of my sins.”

        I find the indefinite article “a” interesting in this context and I suggest you should find it interesting too.

        Did the people of King Benjamin get a remission of sins when they were baptized by water?

        We may infer they were baptized by water, but if they were, we don’t know when they were. The same objection I levelled at the example of Enos carries here, down to the indefinite article.

        I would disagree that a ‘burning in the bosum’ is a signal that a person has received a remission of their sins.

        I did not use that phraseology, but let us put teeth to your objection – what is your principled and evidentiary basis for disagreement with what I actually did say?

        It’s kind of important. I’m saying there’s more going on than meets the eye, and the simplistic equation “BFHG == THE remission of sins” is inaccurate, scripturally.

      • Spektator:

        When Nephi expounded on the doctrine of Christ which I quoted above he stated:

        “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”

        What part of that statement is inaccurate when it comes to linking a remission of sins with the BFHG?

        When Christ was among the Nephites He stated in 3 Nephi 12:2:

        “Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.”

        If you look at those two statements as a representation of the doctrine of Christ, what other conclusion can one come to?

      • Log:

        You are still not seeing the indefinite article “a”. “A remission of sins” is not grammatically or semantically equivalent to “the remission of sins.” This is because there is more than one remission of sins spoken of.

      • Spektator:

        Log,
        If that is the point you are trying to make, I am in violent agreement with you. I do not discount the possibility that one can have more than one event resulting in a remission of sins, if that is what you are stating. In D&C 20, we find this:

        5 After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
        6 But after repenting, and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness;
        7 And gave unto him commandments which inspired him;
        8 And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon;
        9 Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;

        This suggests to me that Joseph Smith received A remission of his sins, lost it, but through expression of faith and humility, was able to be visited again by the Lord’s angel to complete his task of delivering the Book of Mormon. Is it a clear statement? Not completely, all we know is that Joseph was able to rid himself of the ‘vanities’ of the world’ and regain his cleansed status with heaven. Would this ‘second’ cleansing be considered a second baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. I think that is a reasonable assumption.

        This point is very important to me since I did not understand what had happened to me when I received what I consider my baptism of fire. I also would consider myself getting once again entangled by the world. I can only practice the same as Joseph did and seek a rejuvenation of his spirit in faith and humility to continue on.

        I am also considerate of the message King Benjamin delivered to the people after their experience. He gave them guidance on how to ‘retain’ a remission of their sins:

        11 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.
        12 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.

        The reiterates the same mechanism referenced the D&C 20 to retain a remission of one’s sins through ‘standing steadfastly in faith in Christ’ and ‘humbling [yourself] even in the depths of humility.’

        As such, I cannot say unequivocally that there is ‘a’ baptism of fire versus ‘the’ baptism of fire. Either way, I believe the Lord can ‘reaffirm’ our remission of sins should we slip up as Joseph Smith did.

  • James Russell Uhl:

    Spek,
    Thank you. What you have spoken is the simple truth.
    Until one has received the BFHG, that individual has not entered into the strait & narrow way: no matter what else they may have attained, no matter what high offices they may have held in the church, no matter what their home teaching percentages have been, no matter how much tithing they have paid or fast offerings they have donated, no matter how many years they have been a faithful temple recommend holder, no matter how much geneology, no matter how many missions they have served…it does not matter if they have not had that unique personal experience whereby the Lord Himself takes them through The Gate, “AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY SAVE IT BE BY THE GATE” (2 Nephi 9:41).
    James Russell Uhl

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      As I read your comment, the following scripture came to mind:

      “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
      Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
      And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

      Again, being known of God is the metric. I believe that we become known of God when the BFHG is administered by Christ. There may be many things one can accomplish that is ascribed as good, but it may not be sufficient as demonstrated in these verses.

      Good to hear from you again.
      Spek

      • RaNae:

        The JST corrects this passage to say “Ye never knew me.” The previous passage on the 10 virgins was also corrected to say “You know me not.”

        I don’t think the point is whether Christ knows us, he does. The point is whether we know him.

      • Spektator:

        Thanks, ReNae. That is a good point. I had forgotten the important nuance added by the JST. I still submit that we must know and be known by Christ. I am reminded of the verse where the Lord spoke of Abram in Genesis 18:

        19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

        As I was reading the Old Testament a few years ago, I was struck by this comment from the Lord. Surely the Lord knows each of us, but the ‘knowledge’ of Abraham by the Lord comes with a significant level of confidence that isn’t shown often in His words.

        That is ultimately where, I believe, we need to land.

  • Log:

    Would this ‘second’ cleansing be considered a second baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. I think that is a reasonable assumption.

    He received the Holy Ghost at his baptism by water, by his own testimony, where he had not had it before, yet he had received a remission of his sins before his baptism by water – therefore your assumption is not in accordance with the facts as we have them. He was not baptized by fire before – at least, we have no record of it and it contradicts his own statement on when he received the Holy Ghost. And the incident of which he spoke was the first vision – he prayed to be forgiven of his sins.

    One receives of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins – and they are filled with warmth or heat – and there is a remission of sins by the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, wherein one is sanctified, filled with fire.

    I’m still not sure why this statement should be disputed.

    • Spektator:

      I assumed that Joseph Smith received his baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost at the first vision. Just as with 300 Lamanites, Joseph was overshadowed by something that could be considered a cloud of darkness, he then prayed to the Lord and was brought into His presence. He would need to have been cleansed before the heavenly visitation, I would think.

      I would also suggest that there are always circumstances there these things are ‘out of secuence.’ Cornelius, for example received the baptism of fire before he was baptized by water as described in Acts, chapter 10:

      44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
      45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
      46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
      47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
      48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

      • Log:

        Except it doesn’t refer to the baptism by fire – which may be significant.

        One may indeed have the Holy Ghost fall upon them without being baptized by fire.

        But you have passed up my question twice now without answering. What motivates your disagreement?

      • Spektator:

        You are correct, it does not specifically call the event the baptism by fire. Peter states that Cornelius ‘received the Holy Ghost as well as we.’ I have to assume that Peter was referring to this manifestation of the Spirit from Acts, chapter 2:

        1 AND when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
        2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
        3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
        4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
        5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

        On the day of Pentecost, there was specific mention of fire. being filled with the Holy Ghost, and speaking in tongues. The same experiences as described in the narrative around Cornelius. I think it is reasonable to assume that this was the same baptism of fire.

        One should also consider the prophecy of John the Baptist found in Matthew 3:11:

        I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

        The Lord did and does baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and with Cornelius. It was reaffirmed in Christ’s statement to the Nephites in 3 Nephi, chapter 12 and is contained in what Nephi describes as the doctrine of Christ. That is what I consider a strong case.

        Other than the idea that there is not a linkage between the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and a remission of sins, what question have I passed on? I rely strongly on the scriptures I quoted to support the importance of the baptism of fire and it’s importance in the gospel defined by the scriptures.

  • sfort:

    28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
    33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

    This is quite a statement from the Master. We seem to have disputations, not because the intellect is not superior, not because the knowledge of the scriptures is not superior; it is because there is something not clear within. When the Savior came to the ancients in America, there were disputations. They had Nephi’s writings and also the brass plates and still had disputations. There is something more. Until Christ instructs again or more scripture comes forth, the discussions will continue.

    The truth is that something is lacking and only a few seem to think it is clear and that they have it down. The current church thinks the Holy Ghost is automatic with the laying on of hands(an apostle or two have referenced this matter) and don’t even teach the baptism of fire AND the Holy Ghost (two separate events). Yet those of us awakening wonder about the commission of the Lord not only to perform the ordinances, but to understand them completely. Whether one has it in his mind that he knows, there is still a lack of clarity even spotted with the doctrine all throughout the scriptures. Do not dismay, the horizon will lengthen soon, but it will not be satisfied through one pointing one scripture or the other, sorry to say.

  • Log:

    I have to assume that Peter was referring to this manifestation of the Spirit from Acts, chapter 2:

    Why do you have to assume that? Because I recognize that the Holy Ghost may fall upon someone without baptizing by fire, I don’t have to assume that.

    what question have I passed on?

    “One receives of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins – and they are filled with warmth or heat – and there is a remission of sins by the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, wherein one is sanctified, filled with fire.

    I’m still not sure why this statement should be disputed.

    [W]hat is your principled and evidentiary basis for disagreement with what I actually did say?

    Thus far you haven’t proffered why you dispute my statement, nor have you given a principled or evidentiary basis for such dispute.

    I’m not trying to argue for the sake of arguing, nor for the sake of winning. I believe it is important to not go beyond either experience or the actual scriptural word, without reading our presuppositions into the text where we believe they should go, because there is significance to what the scriptures say, how they say it, and what they don’t say. To insert our presuppositions into the text is to mingle the philosophies of men with scripture, and once that’s done, it’s very difficult to undo. I once thought as you do on this subject. I’m asking you to consider the case is, on the text alone, a little more complicated than “BFHG == THE sole process by which one may receive a remission of sins.”

    I’m just going to leave it there.

    • Spektator:

      Perhaps I could turn your question around and ask: What is your principled and evidentiary basis for your assertion that the ‘Spirit of Christ unto the remission of sins’ characterized by heat or warmth is necessary and sufficient to be THE gate by which one enters the strait and narrow path to eternal life described in 2 Nephi, chapter 31, verses 17 and 18?

      If you are confident that such is the case, more power to you. It is truly between you and the Lord. I am not the gatekeeper, Christ is. I can only state from my prayerful study of the scriptures that He has laid our A sequence of events that will bring us to eternal life.
      I can, based on doctrine of Christ expounded by Nephi, state with assurance that repentance and baptism by water, in conjunction with a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost is sufficient to pass through THE gate providing entry to the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life. It is sufficient to show obedience unto the commandments of the father, and the rest of the covenants and promises found in 2 Nephi 31:18 and 19.

      Is the path to eternal life wide or narrow?

      • Log:

        Perhaps I could turn your question around and ask: What is your principled and evidentiary basis for your assertion that the ‘Spirit of Christ unto the remission of sins’ characterized by heat or warmth is necessary and sufficient to be THE gate by which one enters the strait and narrow path to eternal life described in 2 Nephi, chapter 31, verses 17 and 18?

        I didn’t say it was the gate.

  • Log:

    By the by, I recognize that to outward appearances, I may seem petulant or argumentative or something. I assure the readership, and Spek, this is not the actual case.

    An example of interesting phraseology in the scriptures – something I just noted today.

    3 Nephi 27:16
    16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

    This single verse is interesting because it says it shall happen (when?) that whoever repents (of all one’s sins?) and is baptized in the name of Christ (what is the name of Christ and how are we baptized in it? Is this referring to the same thing Alma 34:38 is?) shall be filled (with what?), and if he endures to the end (end of what?) Christ will hold him guiltless before his Father at the day Christ shall stand to judge the world (is this at his coming, or after the millennium?)

    I could try to fill in the blanks with my presuppositions, but in doing so I am undoing whatever the Lord intended by making it ambiguous and vague. I do have some ideas – among them that there may be a time lapse between repentance and baptism and being filled with the Holy Ghost – but the text need not necessarily mean that. On the other hand, that might dovetail with Matthew 20:1-16.

    Anyways, I’m trying to say this is really actually not as cut and dried as it may seem.

  • An exceptionally good post, Spek. A perfect post. What more can be said? You have inspired me. Thank you for sharing.

  • James Russell Uhl:

    Interesting discussion!
    In a careful reading of Alma 5, I find that Alma (the younger) appears to equate these terms: “He (God) has delivered their souls from hell” (vs 6); “Behold, He changed their hearts” (vs 7); “there was a mighty change wrought in his heart” (vs 12); “a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts” (vs 13); “have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received His image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” (vs 14); “there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white” (vs 21); “if ye have experienced a change of heart” (vs 26); “cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.” (vs 49); they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (vs 54); Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.” (vs 62).

    Alma is talking to his brethren, those who have experienced the mighty change of heart, and he asks, “behold, are ye stripped of pride?” (vs 28); “Behold, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?” (vs 29); “is there one among you who doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?” (vs 30).
    It seems that even those who have received the mighty change of heart are still subject to sinning and falling away, thus repentance is required on a constant, daily basis.

    Truly, it appears that only those who repent (constantly) and come unto Christ (enter into and persevere on the strait & narrow path, holding fast to the rod of iron (uncorrupted scriptures and revelation)) are those who will constitute His church.

    To become a part of His church then, appears to require: faith, repentance, baptism of water, entering by the gate, wh. also includes BFHG, and then pressing forward constantly repenting, and persevering until you come unto Him, or rather until “He shall manifest Himself unto you in the flesh” as explained in 2 Nephi 32:6.
    JRU

    • Log:

      James,

      I don’t believe in “continual repentance.” My understanding of what repentance is precludes it.

      “Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God.” – TPJS, p. 148

      What do I then believe? I believe that once one is sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, one may indeed cease to be diligent, begin seeking one’s own will, and thus the holy anointing – the light within – is thereby extinguished. Such an one indeed requires repentance again, and the path is always the same – humbling ourselves before God, confessing and forsaking all sin, and crying mightily to be forgiven and cleansed.

      Ideally, the sanctified one continues in the light, praying always, doing all things whatsoever he is commanded, walking diligently in the paths of the Lord, until the end thereof. This one is not repenting continually, for his heart is never divided from God; he cannot sin for the Spirit remains within him; therefore from what can he repent?

  • James Russell Uhl:

    Log,
    I agree with your thoughts on this. When one is sanctified, the challenge is to retain that sanctified state in this world where, as King Benjamin said, “I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
    But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:29-30)
    It is my belief that repentance is a part of this life until the very end.
    JRU

    • Log:

      I believe in perfection.

      1 John 4:17
      17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he [God] is, so are we in this world.

    • Spektator:

      I have come to believe that there is only one who goes through this round in perfection. The rest of us have to be on watch continually. Even Nephi, after all he had seen, recognized his shortcomings:

      O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

      We all are given weakness and humility comes from that recognition.

      • Log:

        If you come unto Christ, he will make weak things strong unto you. Christ perfects us – all things are possible to them that believe. That we have sinned at least once does not entail we must continue to sin once Christ has changed our hearts and we no longer desire evil but to do good continually.

        Just believe and ask for it if you desire it. Christ wasn’t kidding here.

        JST Matthew 19
        16 And, behold, one came and said, Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

        17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

        18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness.

        19 Honor thy father and mother. And, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

        20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?

        21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.

        22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

        23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

        24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

        25 When his disciples heard this, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

        26 But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible.

        27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

        28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, shall, in the resurrection, when the Son of Man shall come sitting on the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

        29 And every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

        30 But many of the first shall be last, and the last first.

        This would lead into a long scriptural chain, the gist of which is this – if you have charity, you are perfect.

    • Lynne:

      JRU – “repentance is a part of this life until the very end’… agreed. Until the last breath.

  • TTTATA:

    Why is everyone stating the baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost as if they were the same thing? Would they be listed as two separate things continually if they were one thing?
    Can anyone show me in scripture that John the Baptist could not baptize with fire?
    Can you prove in the bible or Book of Mormon that the interpretation shouldn’t be more like this, “John the baptist baptized unto repentance and with fire, but He who comes after will baptize with fire AND the Holy Ghost…?”

    Obviously people need a remission of sins time after time. Nephi seemed to be praying for what log was referencing, to be perfected in that the devil would no longer have place in his heart and he would be made holy.
    Even a person who has experienced a remission of sins can still look upon sin without abhorrence (alma13 speaking of those who are made holy) they not only look upon sin, but they often still find pleasure in sin until the next remission of sins, and then corruption prevails again. Who has denied themselves of all ungodliness and been perfected like moroni taught could happen? There is not a man or woman (baptism of fire or not) that is on the earth that has denied themselves of all ungodliness through the grace of Christ. Show me the person and I will show you a man or woman who has been made perfect.

  • Adam:

    Great post Spek. Thank you for your scripture-based insights.

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