Water, Spirit, and Blood

There is a beautiful scripture in Moses that has a unique introduction. It is, to my knowledge, the only scripture that is introduced with a commandment to teach the doctrine that follows it freely to one’s children and even specifies what you need to say:

 Moses 6:58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
 59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
 60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
 61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

At our mortal birth the water in the womb encompasses us before birth, the blood of our mother is involved, and our spirit is joined to our bodies.

And the same three things are involved in our birth into the kingdom of heaven.

To be baptized one is immersed in water. They must be immersed fully for the baptism to be valid. By being baptized we keep the commandment to have faith, repent, and be baptized. We go through the appointed gate to be born into the kingdom of heaven.

But that is not sufficient on its own. Someone may be baptized insincerely. They may not really intend to repent. The same is true for other ordinances. How is an ordinance justified?

Bruce R McConkie pointed out in “Mormon Doctrine” that justification by the spirit is not only a universal law for ordinances, but it is actually a very familiar one. It is described in detail in D&C 132.

D&C 132:7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

This clarifies both justification as well as what it means for an ordinance to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. It says they are the same thing. For an ordinance to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise isn’t something that happens years after the ordinance takes place, it is simply the ratifying seal by the Holy Ghost that is required at the time the ordinance takes place. This ratifying seal means the ordinances is justified. To think instead (as is common) that the holy spirit of promise is something that follows long after an ordinance is give to make the ordinance valid for eternity does not make sense. Then baptism, priesthood ordinations, endowments, and all ordinances…. would not be even be valid eternally unless some follow up sealing by the Holy Ghost was eventually obtained. That just doesn’t fit.

To be sanctified and washed white in the blood of the lamb is something I know very little about, as I haven’t reached that point. I am not like those in Alma 13 of whom the scriptures state:

Alma 13:11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
 12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

I know that I have not received any spiritual blessing that has bestowed such cleanliness upon me that I “can not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence”. So I have no been washed white through the blood of the lamb.

But apparently God wants our children to grow up knowing that to be fully born into the kingdom of heaven will require all three things. By the water we keep the commandment, by the spirit we are justified, and by the blood we are sanctified.

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John Robertson

I am nothing more than a regular member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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