1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
In this passage Moroni lays out the qualifications which a person must meet in order to be baptized. A similar set of qualifications is given in D&C 20:37. Here are the qualifications, as they appear in both passages:
- Bring forth fruit (demonstrate by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ)
- Have a broken heart and a contrite spirit
- Witness to the church that they have repented of all their sins
- Take upon themselves the name of Christ
- Be determined to serve Him to the end
Today, I’m thinking about the third of those qualifications, the requirement to repent of all of our sins. If we desire to come into the presence of God, we can’t bring any of our sins with us. “No unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). Of course we aren’t perfect, but it must be our intention to be as good as we can be. Every sin — every word, thought, or action which we know to be wrong (See James 4:17.) — must be abandoned if we are to be worthy to enter the path of discipleship. Will we make mistakes along the way? Of course we will. Will we become aware of new errors and weaknesses that we weren’t cognizant of at the time of baptism? Absolutely. But we must begin the process with a complete commitment, a willingness to abandon every sin, to hold nothing back.
As Spencer W. Kimball explained:
Repentance must involve an all-out, total surrender to the program of the Lord. That transgressor is not fully repentant who neglects his tithing, misses his meetings, breaks the Sabbath, fails in his family prayers, does not sustain the authorities of the Church, breaks the Word of Wisdom, does not love the Lord nor his fellowmen. … God cannot forgive unless the transgressor shows a true repentance which spreads to all areas of his life (Teachings: Spencer W. Kimball, “Chapter 4: The Miracle of Forgiveness“).
Today, I will remember the importance of complete repentance for those who choose to enter the path as well as for those of us who are on the path. I will strive to be as good as I can be and to overcome every sin and imperfection in my life as I become aware of them. I will do my very best to “truly [repent] of all [my] sins.”