Sunday Afternoon

Posted on April 10, 2009 by

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Last Sunday I got to listen to the afternoon session of General Conference. My recent post about different kinds of salvation caused me to especially notice Elder Bednar’s talk. He said,

[t]he process of taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ that is commenced in the waters of baptism is continued and enlarged in the house of the Lord…Thus, in the ordinances of the holy temple we more completely and fully take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.

In this sense, receiving baptism is a lesser salvation, and receiving the temple ordinances is a greater salvation (although it is not the end — Elder Bednar says our baptismal covenants are “continued”, not completed, in the temple).

This is related to the gospel discussion of justification vs. sanctification. The book of Moses teaches,

ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten…For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified (Moses 6:59-60).

In gospel doctrine classes, I generally hear this explained to mean that when we are baptized and confirmed, we become acceptable to God — we are “justified”. However, that does not mean that we have completed our journey; we have only begun in the right path. The process of actually becoming holy, or of becoming “sanctified” is in learning to actually make righteous choices and to do God’s will.

I believe that a lot of frustration that we feel as church members comes from the false belief that God expects us to be sanctified today. However, that is not the case — today we are justified by the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ, which bridge the gap between our justified state and our future sanctified state, as long as we continue to walk in the path that we started in at baptism. The value of the church and the gospel is that they give us purpose, encouragement, guidance, and strength as we walk that path, ensuring that we will eventually arrive safely there.

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