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All Humanity is Called to Repentance

Photo by Terren Hurst on Unsplash

Understand that the Gospel Message Centers on Repentance and Forgiveness

And they were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men. … And he {Enoch} heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off.

~ Moses 6:23, 27 ~

Repentance is necessary for personal growth and development. The principle is so basic to the gospel that the Lord stresses its importance again and again throughout the scriptures. For example, in the Doctrine and Covenants, as mission calls were given to the early Saints, the Lord often repeated the admonition: “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.” (See D&C 15:6; D&C 16:6). These revelations were not only intended for those to whom they were given, but also for us. They help us understand that what is of greatest worth to us is to declare repentance to others and to practice it ourselves.

~ Elder Theodore M. Burton – The Meaning of Repentance: Liahona, November 1988 ~

In Word: One of the most common themes we find throughout all of scripture is that when our Heavenly Father calls a Prophet – they are instructed to first call all of humanity unto repentance and to seek forgiveness. A simple and basic principle to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – yet the most intimidating aspect of ministering in the Kingdom of God. The boldness to stand and say repent…for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15). Whether it is through Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Our Savior Jesus Christ, and those called to be apostles and prophets – the message is the same. All of us are Disciples and therefore we are not only to preach and teach – but we are also to call all people unto repentance and seek forgiveness. To teach them to observe the ordinances and principles of the Gospel. Yet, it is not us calling them unto repentance – it is the Holy Spirit working through us to prick the hearts of men (Acts 2:37).

In Deed: The nature and principal truth of repentance and forgiveness rests upon our willingness to confess our wrong doings. Not only to our Heavenly Father, but we are also to confess our wrongdoings, shortcomings, to those whom we trust – individuals whom we have confidence in. This begins by having faith and trust in Christ and Heavenly Father’s divine promises to forgive us. Without faith in Christ, we do not have hope nor trust in His grace. Second, we are to repent. This means to have a change of mind. To have this change of mind and heart means we are to come to a place of Godly Sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). This includes a broken heart and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17; 3 Nephi 9:19-20). Not only are we to repent of sin and transgressions – we are to also seek forgiveness and to forgive others (Matthew 5:24; Matthew 6:12-15; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; Mosiah 26:31; 3 Nephi 13:11). When the Savior was asked by Peter how often he ought to forgive his brother. The response of the Savior shows how significant forgiveness is in our lives (Matthew 18:21-22).

It is only when we are faithful to the basic principle doctrine of Christ that we are able to call others unto repentance and forgiveness. Meaning, we ought to give ourselves over to walking in forgiveness and repentance daily. Otherwise, we are merely criticizing, judging, and condemning others while ignoring the transgressions and sins in our own life (Matthew 7:1-3, 5). Another truth is that when we call others unto repentance, it is not to condemn them – for that is not our place or call – we are merely calling individuals to come unto Christ, follow Him, and seek forgiveness through the process of repentance and experience the freedom and joy that is found within the hope of His infinite atonement. The very same hope we have in Christ. The same enduring faith in Him for our own salvation and exaltation unto eternal life. By calling others unto repentance, we are calling them to share in the hope that lies within each one of us (1 Peter 3:15) and to become heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Take a Moment and Ponder: Repentance means to change our hearts and minds and seek forgiveness for our own transgressions and shortcomings. It also calls us to seek forgiveness from those whom we have trespassed – as well as forgiving those who have trespassed against us. How difficult is it for you to walk the path of forgiveness and repentance as it relates to your own faith in Jesus Christ?