(Posted from the Middle of Nowhere, Michigan.)
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. –Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 148. (C.f. Words of Joseph Smith 3, from 1839)
The second principle was repentance. And what is repentance? The forsaking of sin. The man who repents, if he be a swearer, swears no more; or a thief, steals no more; he turns away from all former sins and commits them no more. It is not repentance to say, I repent today, and then steal tomorrow; that is the repentance of the world, which is displeasing in the sight of God. – Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, quoting JD 23:127, May 14, 1882.
Since repenting is “turning” ourselves around, I think a useful analogy can be drawn from the navy. When a captain decides to turn a battleship or an aircraft carrier, it takes some time for the ship to come around. Though the decision has been made, the order has been given, and the change is being carried out, it still takes some time to bring a ship about. So in our lives the decisions for Christ can be truly and genuinely made, the order truly given and carried out, yet it can still take some time and space to overcome the natural resistance of the carnal self and make the complete turn. There will be rejoicing when the turn is completed and we have perfected part or all of our lives, but should we die before it’s done, the Lord will still credit us for making the right decision, for issuing the appropriate orders and attempting to carry them out in our lives—the rest would have been just a matter of time. If we should die, as all of us do, with some sins not completely eliminated, it will not harm us. God will give us credit for what we would have accomplished given more time (D&C 137:7-8). Were we truly repentant? Did we truly desire to root sin out of our lives? Then we are justified through the atonement of Christ and will eventually achieve what we sought in life.- Stephen Robinson, Following Christ.
- Strictly speaking, “Mulekites” don’t exist. The group claiming descent from Mulek son of Zedekiah is known throughout the Book of Mormon as “the people of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:2-4,Omni 1:14-21)
- I used to use this as an exercise in critical thinking at BYU. See my post here, starting with “I taught two Book of Mormon classes at BYU”
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