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TOM - How would you reconcile DC 58:42-43 and DC 82:7?? If the Lord forget sins/remembers them no more, and forgives us, how can former sins return?

JOEL - "And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God." (D&C 82:7) In the first part of this scripture God is telling Joseph Smith and other church leaders the same thing He told the woman accused of adultery: "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:10-11) So at this point God is forgiving them for sins they have committed in the past(See verses 1-2), with a warning to sin no more. To understand the second part of this verse we look at your other scripture:: "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sinsóbehold, he will confess them and forsake them." (D&C 58:42-43) The true test of whether someone has really repented for a sin is that he will confess and forsake it. So if he commits the same sin again we know that he did not completely repent of it in the first place, because he did not completely forsake it. So it's as if he has not yet repented of the previous times he did it; hence "the former sins return". Brigham Young said: "It is present salvation and the present influence of the Holy Ghost that we need every day to keep us on saving ground. When an individual refuses to comply with the further requirements of heaven, then the sins he had formerly committed return upon his head [Ezek. 3:20]; his former righteousness departs from him, and is not accounted to him for righteousness: but if he had continued in righteousness and obedience to the requirements of heaven, he is saved all the time through baptism, the laying on of hands, and obeying the commandments of the Lord and all that is required of him by the heavens-the living oracles." (Brigham Young, JD 8:124.) Thus, the effects of repentance are conditioned upon continued righteousness. God will forgive our sins and remember them no more if we have truly repented of them which means that we forsake them. One might ask, what happens when we do sin again; does that mean we have to repent for all the past sins again? I think we can use the same logic as in D&C 82:7. If sinning again brings back all the previous sins, then it seems to me we can assume that if we repent of the most current violation, it is as if we have again repented of all the former times we sinned, without needing to confess them all again. Our sins can be considered repented for as long as the person continues to forsake them and strives to live a righteous life. If we do that God will remember them no more. This all really depends on what is in our hearts and how sincere we are about repenting and our resolve to not sin again. I think God knows what's in our hearts and if we deserve it He will continue to forgive us according to His judgment.


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