Your Heavy Burden of Sin Has Been Removed!

One weekend I went hiking with my husband and some friends in the Ruby Mountains. My husband carried our back pack with the water jug and when he was thirsty I would unzip the pack and get it out for him. After we had drank our fill I would put the jug back into his pack and zip it up. But, what he didn’t know is that whenever I put the jug back, I also put in a fist-sized rock. All of our friends knew what I was doing and it was a great joke. He didn’t notice his pack was getting heavier because the rocks were being added one at a time. Towards the end of the hike his pack had become quite a burden. He thought it was because he was just getting tired, but when he opened it up and saw all the rocks he realized what I had done.

An article in the Ensign last fall reminded me of this hike. The focus of the article was the process of Repentance. It gave an idea for Family Home Evening using rocks and a backpack: “Collect a sack and several large rocks. Read the story of President Marion G. Romney and the repentant young man. Have each family member write a common sin on a rock and then place it in the sack. Take turns carrying the sack and compare the physical weight to the burden of sin. Then remove each stone while you read the paragraph following “There was the answer.”

The paragraph mentioned tells you how to know if you can remove the burden of each sin you’ve committed. The answer is because you’ve done everything required through the process of repentance. This is how to know if your repentance has been accepted by the Lord. It claims “The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 82:7).”

But the Lord your God did not say this! Instead, He testified: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” The Holy Ghost inspired these words: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” John the Beloved claimed that Jesus: “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”.

The reason Jesus came to this earth to rescue us is because we are filled with sin. The vast majority of sins cannot be abandoned. Most sins like unjustified anger, greed, gossiping, envy, lust, lying, etc. are committed over and over again throughout a person’s life time. Oh, there are a few specific commands that one can abandon. Man-made commands like the Word of Wisdom are easy to follow and create a false impression of righteousness.

This trains a person to look at the few sins they don’t commit rather than seeing the great number they do commit. You might even be able to pay a full ten-percent tithe your entire life. But, if you don’t do it cheerfully, you are sinning. The most difficult command is to love God more than anything or anyone. We all break this command over and over again—every time we commit every single sin.

Using the analogy that each sin is like a stone, every person who has ever lived would have so many stones piled on them they could not stand. They would literally be buried under a mountain. You could not “carry” this burden because it would be far too heavy to bear. Only a person who chooses not to acknowledge the extent to which they break God’s commands would ever claim that the “soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return”!

Only someone who does not know how often they sin could ever believe it possible to abandon most of the sin they commit. In their ignorance and their arrogance they believe their pack is almost empty when in reality it is so great Heavenly Father had to send His Son to remove it!

Looking back at the exercise for Home Evening, imagine taking several rocks and writing a sin on each rock. Start with the sin of being “Unforgiving”. In your life, how many times have you struggled to forgive someone? How about being “Covetous”? How many times have you coveted another persons looks, their home, their spouse, their car? How often are you “Contentious” or “Quarrelsome”? How are you doing at forsaking the sins of “Envy”, “Lying” or “Impatience”? Did you know that “Worrying” or being “Fearful” are sins? How many times are you “Bitter”, “Judgmental”, “Angry”, “Discourteous” or “Unkind”? How often do you “Gossip” about others or “Slander” someone? Have you abandoned “Cursing” or the sin of “Lusting” after anyone you aren’t married to?

I haven’t even mentioned the Sins of omission: Not seeking God’s kingdom first, Not blessing those who persecute you, Not feeding the hungry, Not clothing the stranger, Not visiting those in prison, Not praying continually, Not thanking God for everything, Not being content with what you have, Not trusting God to take care of you and Not giving God the glory for everything you do.

It is truly impossible to abandon many of these sins for even more than one day! But take heart! Jesus came to rescue you! Your filthiness was made clean—it was washed and cleansed with Christ’s blood. Once, your sins were as scarlet, but now they are as white as snow. You are without blame or blemish—no spot can be found. Your sins were taken and cast into the depths of the sea. All your sins, past present and future have been covered and blotted out—removed from you.

But, if you believe the words of prophets who claim you must abandon these sins to gain forgiveness, then this falsehood becomes truth for you. When you die, you will still be in your sins because you rejected your Savior who covered your sins with His blood. On Judgment Day, your sins will return to you; evidence that you didn’t trust in the Savior who removed your sins with His blood. Then, you will be cast into Outer Darkness to spend eternity with Satan.

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10 Comments

  1. jumpingjackagain said,

    February 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    oh dear, now i am really confused. I don’t need to abandon my sins? please explain repentance as you see it. i thought it meant that i should stop doing what is displeasing to God and try to obey all his commandments. that is what my baptist sunday school teacher taught me years ago. as a matter of fact those fire and brimstone sermons still scare me! tell me what to do…if i sin after i am saved, i don’t need to repent? how can God put up with that?

    help, oh, help!

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    February 17, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    JumpingJack,
    Read my post about the definition of Repentance on January 12th.

  3. daveymike said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    The other analogy I heard quite often was that sin is like pounding nails into a board and repentance is like pulling them out. Of course, the problem is that it leaves a hole. So, the moral is do not sin in the first place so “your board” won’t be damaged.

    (I know that this is more a cultural teaching than a doctrinal one. Click here to see an article about Jeffrey Holland debunking this one. But it is not uncommon thinking among the saints.)

    When I was LDS I taught and was taught in so many ways that sin leaves damages–not just temporal consequences of sin, but that you never fully recover spiritually unless you forsake that sin completely.

    For example, I was incorrectly taught that the Prodigal Son never did regain his inheritance when he returned. The Father’s statement to his righteous son is used as proof. Marion G. Romney says the Prodigal never regains his inheritance because the “‘father’ himself cannot undo the effect of his son’s refusal to learn wisdom in time to preserve his inheritance…”

    But Grace is not a pie and the more someone else gets the less we get. The text shows the Prodigal was returned to full fellowship and a full inheritance including immediate legal status as the trustee of the estate (he was given the father’s coat and ring which sealed wax on legal documents).

    Notice how the Prodigal DID NOTHING except turn back to the Father to win his father’s favor (grace not works) . True repentance means a turning around (an attitude, a change of heart) not a process that must be played out. Otherwise, it would never end because the possibility of “re-sinning” would be there until death and resurrection.

    Often, church members were taught that perfection was obtained by overcoming (perfectly forsaking) one sin at a time until you got them all like stepping-stones: “If we can live one gospel principle perfectly today, we can live two principles perfectly tomorrow. Perfection in one thing can act as a stepping-stone to perfection in something else.”

    In reality, the Lord does not remember (list, enumerate, count against us) those former sins even when we fall back into them occasionally. Of course, if the pattern of that sin was never interrupted, I believe the original re-birth probably was not authentic.

    John MacArthur, one of my favorite Bible teachers, recently gave an awesome radio sermon on the story of Saul and the destruction (or lack of total destruction) of the Amalekites. I believe it is a good description of how born-agains such as I can claim to be saved from sin yet still commit sin. How, we can repent and still not be perfect.

    “…this is a tremendous insight into God’s attitude toward sinners and His holiness and wrath against sin. But I want to use it just as an analogy, if I might, this morning. It is an excellent illustration analogically of the sin that remains in the believer’s life. When you were saved and I was saved there was at that moment a crushing defeat of sin…a crushing defeat. From one end to the other, east to west, north to south our sin was crushed. But we still have remaining sins.

    “There are some Amalekites running around loose in every one’s life. We all have our Agags. And the problem in our Christian lives is not that sin has not been defeated with a crushing defeat, it has but there is still remaining sin. There are some loose iniquitous Amalekites in all of us. And though there was a great and glorious and triumphant defeat at the time of our salvation, there is the necessity that the remaining sins be hacked to pieces or they will revive, they will plunder our hearts and sap our spiritual strength. We cannot be merciful with the Agags of our life. We cannot be merciful with the remaining sins in our life or they will turn and create an insurrection and a rebellion to attempt to destroy us.”

    But the victory was gained, nonetheless, when Jesus accomplished the work and Satan was crushed. Praise God!!

  4. jumpingjackagain said,

    February 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    hi LDSW,

    you are very perceptive. …yes, my LDS friends hold the most sway with me. that is why i am here, doing a little research on my own. and in defense of my Christian friends…when i said they did whatever they wanted i didn’t mean they were horrible sinners. I just meant that in contrast to my Mormon friends who are very careful what they do and say and are “prim and proper”, my Christian friends are pretty casual, but they are good people. my LDS girlfriends are happy and have so much faith, i am definitely drawn to them because i feel so good when i am around them.

    one of the defining moments of my life was witnessing the death of my 12 year old sister. we were playing outside and 2 teenagers were racing up the street and one car picked her off right in front of me and about 6 neighborhood kids. it was awful and i know it still haunts our family today. my mormon friends tell me about the temple and how we can be together forever and that sounds so wonderful. our pastor (at the time) told us we might never see her again unless she was saved. (and i don’t know if she was since we were sporadic church goers) i have read many of your past posts and know that you have dealt with the death of your daughter. was your daughter saved? will I see my sister again?

    oh, and if you get a minute, will you answer my questions about Joseph Smith?

    thank you so much for your time!!
    love,
    meg

  5. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    February 20, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Meg,

    You previously asked about Joseph Smith: “here is a question i REALLY need answered: Is Joseph Smith a fraud? was he tricked? is he evil? i just don’t see what he had to gain by it all unless it is true. help! i need some answers!”

    I don’t know the answers to the questions you pose. I have no way of knowing what Joseph’s motives were. I only know that his teachings are not from God so therefore, he is a false prophet.

    You wrote: “my mormon friends tell me about the temple and how we can be together forever and that sounds so wonderful.

    I have yet to find a Bible passage that claims we should place our faith in something because it “sounds so wonderful”. Jesus told a story that exposes as false, the LDS teaching you think “sounds so wonderful”.

    The story is in Luke Chapter 16 and is about two people who died. One was Lazarus and he went to heaven. The other one was a rich man and he went to hell. The rich man could see Lazarus in heaven with Abraham. He asked Abraham to have mercy and send Lazarus to him because he was in such torment. All he wanted was someone to give him a sip of water to cool his tongue. Abraham said “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

    LDS Prophets teach that dead Mormon missionaries will travel from spirit paradise to spirit prison to convert unbelievers. Once a person is converted and someone baptizes them here on earth, they move to spirit paradise. This missionary work will take place until Judgment Day. Jesus points out in these passages that Judgment Day has not yet happened because this mans brothers are still alive and on the earth. From Jesus, we learn the truth that no one can pass between heaven and hell, or, as Mormons call it, spirit prison or spirit paradise. (According to Mormonism true heaven and hell could not exist yet because Judgment Day has not happened.) Just because this teaching sounds so wonderful to someone who has lost a loved one, it is false. The moment a person dies their eternal destination is set. If they do not believe in Jesus they will die in their sins (John 8:23-24) and go to hell. No unclean person can dwell in the presence of God (Ephesians 5:5). These are facts. If you don’t believe them and instead, choose to believe something because it “sounds so wonderful” then you yourself will spend eternity in hell like the rich man in Jesus’ story.

    In the rest of the story Jesus tells us the importance of studying the Bible. The rich man begs Abraham to send someone from heaven to warn his brothers. Abraham tells him that if someone doesn’t’ believe Moses and the Prophets (the Jewish term for Old Testament) then they won’t be persuaded even if someone rose from the dead. “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Jesus wants you to believe the truth found in the Bible. God’s truth IS truth, no matter what “sounds wonderful”. It doesn’t matter who you are or whether your name is Meg, Elizabeth, Ladonna, or Danikka. If your sister had faith before she died she is in heaven. You won’t know the answer to that until you die, but God knows. He also knows that the only way you will spend eternity with Him is if you have faith that Jesus is your substitute.

  6. jumpingjackagain said,

    February 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

    thank you, i have a lot of studying to do. (my sisters name was cindy.)

  7. jumpingjackagain said,

    February 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    ok, i read that whole chapter and i think it means this. Jesus was teaching about stewardship. i think the rich man had been so mean in his life that he deserved to go to hell. Lazerus had been poor, but good. i think it means that we are judged by how we take care of people and by how good we are. after we behave the way we do, there is no way to change the outcome after we die. i think that the judgment must have happened already and after judgment nothing can change. And i think that if someone chooses to ignore the bible, even a miracle (like a dead person coming to them) will not convert them. Is your point this: that we can only tell what our situation will be by what is in our hearts and not what others will have? my sister was a really good girl, and she said her prayers, but is that none of my business to know what happened to her?

  8. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    February 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    JumpingJack:

    In regards to understanding the story Jesus told us in Luke Chapter 16:

    You wrote: “i think that the judgment must have happened already and after judgment nothing can change.

    If you re-read my comment to you, I explained that according to LDS doctrine Judgment Day could not have happened yet: “Jesus points out in these passages that Judgment Day has not yet happened because this mans brothers are still alive and on the earth.

    But, let’s follow along with your train of thought and what your beliefs are about the point of the story:
    You wrote: “i think it means that we are judged by how we take care of people and by how good we are. after we behave the way we do, there is no way to change the outcome after we die.

    I agree one hundred percent. On Judgment Day our works will be judged. Part of that judgment is whether or not we loved our neighbors. There are many commands, that, when broken, fall into sins of omission—meaning we sin when we don’t do the many things that God has commanded. We will be judged as to whether we lovingly took care of needy people. And, you are right, there is no way to change the outcome after we die. According to the story, Jesus said “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

    These words of Jesus agree with His words found in Matthew chapter 25 where He gives us a picture of what Judgment Day will be like. People who simply did not feed the hungry or visit those in prison are sent to live eternally with Satan and his demons (25:41). In the story in Luke chapter 16 we read the truth that the rich man did not feed or take care of poor Lazarus. The consequence for not obeying God’s command to love his neighbor meant an eternal torment in which the rich man could never leave!!!

    But, if we believe that this is the point of the story, and that Judgment Day has already happened, it exposes as false another LDS doctrine. That false teaching is this: People who do not come to believe in Jesus in this world or in the next (Spirit Prison) and are the vilest of sinners, will still get to spend eternity in a kingdom of Heaven. This kingdom of Heaven is the lowest Kingdom and is such a glorious kingdom that if a person could see it, they would commit suicide just to be able to go there. This LDS teaching also falsely claims that only a small number of people will spend eternity in Outer Darkness (the place of torment where this rich man was). LDS Leaders claim that the only reason a person will go to Outer Darkness is if they were apostates who openly fought against the LDS church.

    You asked what my point was. My point is that the only way a person can be found worthy on Judgment Day is through faith alone. Through faith a person receives forgiveness for all of their sins. On Judgment Day, they will have no sins to be judged because all their sins have been removed. God will find only good works. You can read more about these teachings in the very first post I wrote on October 13th titled “Beyond the Veil: Life in the Eternities.

    No matter how good a person is in this world, without faith in Jesus, they will not stand on Judgment Day. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

  9. jumpingjackagain said,

    February 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    thank you for all that writing! i sure take alot of your time! i am starting to understand what you mean. (i still am a little troubled that i don’t know the fate of my sister.) thanks again for all your hard work!

    ~meg

  10. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    August 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Shem, first and foremost why do you give only your own opinion and not the opinion of your prophets? I spend hours and hours responding to you by providing quotes from your LDS prophets because I want to make sure I don’t mislead anyone by not taking the time to back up my words.

    Secondly, simply by reading your words I can see that you ignore the very words of Christ, even when presented directly to you over and over again. Do you know what the first and greatest commandment is? You should because I quoted it in my comment to you just yesterday:

    “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:36-38)

    And yet having been told this, you state:

    It is true that a man who obeys every command from God, and yet has no faith, will not be saved.”

    No unbeliever can obey “every command from God.” It isn’t possible for an unbeliever who doesn’t even believe in Jesus to “obey” Him. As Jesus revealed, the first and greatest command is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”.

    As well, the writer of Hebrews testifies:

    “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

    Do you know how many times I have tried to teach you that an unbeliever can’t keep even one of God’s commands?

    Looking back at our comments, here are the dates:

    on 2010/10/23 at 12:34 am | In reply to shematwater.
    on 2010/05/19 at 12:52 pm | In reply to shematwater,
    on 2010/01/13 at 12:52 am | In reply to shematwater.
    on 2009/04/30 at 11:05 am | In reply to shematwater.

    As well, Echo has tried to teach you this same truth:
    on 2010/06/12 at 1:32 am
    on 2010/06/12 at 1:32 am
    on 2010/05/19 at 2:15 pm

    Now can you see why I gave up on you over a year ago? You have no desire to learn God’s truth. You are even ashamed of LDS beliefs and continue to deny the words of your prophets, over and over again.


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