The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

When this true faith takes root in a person, it inevitably leads to repentance. Amulek taught that the Savior’s sacrifice would “bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance” (Alma 34:15; emphasis added).

To be complete, however, repentance requires a covenant of obedience. This is the covenant expressed by Benjamin’s people “to do [God’s] will, and to be obedient to his commandments” (Mosiah 5:5). This is the covenant witnessed by baptism in water (see Mosiah 18:10), sometimes referred to in the scriptures as the “baptism of repentance” or “baptism unto repentance,” inasmuch as it is the culminating step, the capstone of our repentance (see, for example, Acts 19:4; Alma 7:14; 9:27; D&C 107:20).

Then, as promised, the Lord baptizes us “with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 9:20). Nephi phrased it this way: “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” (2 Nephi 31:17).1 Having thus relied “upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19), we are “quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65) and, if not yet fully born again, then certainly well into the path of spiritual rebirth.

Now, the Lord cautions us to take heed since “there is a possibility that man may fall from grace” (D&C 20:32), even those who are sanctified (see vv. 32–34). As Nephi counseled: “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).

You may ask, Why doesn’t this mighty change happen more quickly with me? You should remember that the remarkable examples of King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and some others in scripture are just that—remarkable and not typical.2 For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality.

At the same time, let us not justify ourselves in a casual effort. Let us not be content to retain some disposition to do evil. Let us worthily partake of the sacrament each week and continue to draw upon the Holy Spirit to root out the last vestiges of impurity within us. I testify that as you continue in the path of spiritual rebirth, the atoning grace of Jesus Christ will take away your sins and the stain of those sins in you, temptations will lose their appeal, and through Christ you will become holy, as He and our Father are holy.

I know Jesus Christ as the living, resurrected Son of God.

“[I] know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true;

“And [I] know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength” (D&C 20:30–31; see also Moroni 10:32–33).

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Born Again,” Ensign, May 2008, 76–79

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1 Comment to “Christofferson – Being Born Again is More a Process than an Event”

  1. Jeff says:

    What a wonderful site. I have a lot of reading to catch up on. I just recently heard about this site from the interview that you did on The Cricket and Seagull podcast. Thanks for all that you are doing.

    Jeff