Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baptism, Our First Covenant

Faith and repentance lead us to baptism.  As we change our lives we want to keep all God's commandments.  Baptism is a commandment. (see John 3:5 and 2 Nephi 9:23)  This effort to keep all of God's commandments brings us closer to Him.

Baptism brings us closer to God in a couple ways.  First, we are cleansed of all our former guilt and sins and we have a fresh start.  Secondly, we make sacred promises with God called covenants.

When repentance has been sincere, baptism removes all our former guilt and shame.  We are forgiven and cleansed of all prior sins and trespasses against God.  We have come with a broken heart and a sincere desire to learn and God's will for us.  He in turn has blessed us with peace and healing.  With baptism He offers us greater blessings in the future as we continue to improve our lives and follow closer to His will every day.

God makes these blessings available through sacred promises or covenants.  At baptism we make a covenant with God to serve Him and keep His commandments throughout our lives.  As a blessing of fulfilling this promise, God will pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon us. (see Mosiah 18:10)

After baptism we have the opportunity each week at church to renew this covenant.  We do this by partaking of the sacrament.  We once again promise to take upon us the name of Christ, and always remember him and keep his commandments.  The promised blessing that we may always have his Spirit to be with us is also renewed. (D&C 20:77, 79)