This is a very important question to consider. How repentance works in the life of an individual is determined by what they believe repentance to be. Depending on it’s definition and application, it can either free one from bondage or be a legalistic tool which enslaves.
The LDS Church defines “True Repentance” as a step by step process which ends with the complete abandonment of the sin. It is taught that if you “repent” of a particular sin and commit that sin again, the repentance was not “true” and was therefore, ineffective. According to D&C 82:7 “unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return”. For example, let’s say I think an unkind thought about a neighbor and afterwards repent. Then in 2 months when I think an unkind thought again ALL THE TIMES I HAVE THOUGHT UNKIND THOUGHTS RETURN!! If that scares you, it should! For, how many of us can say that we will never again…
- Get angry
- Skip a church meeting
- Think an impure thought
- Think poorly of our neighbor
Look back on the last month of your life… did you sin at all? If so, how many times did you commit the same sin? Did you go back and repent of all of them? How about the ones you committed 2 months ago? Did you Re-Repent of those? How about the ones from two years ago? 10 years ago?
When you really think about this you can see how impossible it really is. There is NO WAY we are going to be able to “truly repent” of all our sins. According to LDS Doctrine then, we are all doomed because the “former sins will return” (D&C 82:7). This lines up perfectly with Moroni 10:32 which I talked about in my previous post. It says “…if ye shall deny yourselves of ALL UNGODLINESS… THEN is his grace sufficient for you.” It is not until I deny myself of all ungodliness (“truly” repent of all my sins) that I can receive Christ’s grace. IMPOSSIBLE!!
So, is this what repentance REALLY means? Thank God because the answer is NO! The word repent is translated from the Greek word “metanoeo”. It is a combination of 2 Greek words which mean “change” and “mind”. To repent is literally to change your mind. It is what you do ONE TIME when you accept Christ as your Savior. When you truly accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you “change your mind” and decide to follow Him and not the ways of the world. There is no step by step process involved and it does not require the complete abandonment of sin. We can’t do that… so where would the good news be if it were required?
Once you have come to Christ good works will manifest themselves in your life… good works are the evidence of a saving faith. A person who has received the gift of salvation will TRY to live a righteous life out of love for their Savior but they will not be perfect. The glorious news of the gospel is that despite our imperfections, He has paid the price and we will go to be with Him at our death.
Praise be to Christ!!