Elder Bruce R. McConkie defined the law of justification as being “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations (D&C 132:7), in which men must abide to be saved and exalted, [that] must be entered into and performed in righteousness so that the Holy Spirit can justify the candidate for salvation in what has been done. . . . An act that is justified by the Spirit is one that is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words, ratified and approved by the Holy Ghost. This law of justification is the provision the Lord has placed in the gospel to assure that no unrighteous performance will be binding on earth and in heaven, and that no person will add to his position or glory in the hereafter by gaining an unearned blessing.
“As with all other doctrines of salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on conditions of personal righteousness.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 408) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 41
We all occupy diversified stations in the world, and in the kingdom of God. Those who do right, and seek the glory of the Father in heaven, whether their knowledge be little or much, or whether they can do little or much, if they do the very best they know how, they are perfect. . . .
To be as perfect as we possibly can, according to our knowledge, is to be just as perfect as our Father in heaven is. He cannot be any more perfect than He knows how, any more than we. When we are doing as well as we know how in the sphere and station which we occupy here, we are justified in the justice, righteousness, mercy, and judgment that go before the Lord of heaven and earth. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 2:129-30
For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a god-like life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanities, who the Lord said, “Were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” — President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, October 1989, p. 5
The best things are always worth finishing. “Know ye not that ye are a temple of God?” (1 Corinthians 3:16.) Most assuredly we are. As long and laborious as the effort may seem, we must keep shaping and setting the stones that will make our accomplishments “a grand and imposing spectacle.” We must take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow, dream dreams and see visions, work toward their realization, wait patiently when we have no other choice, lean on our sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again. Perhaps we will not see the full meaning of our effort in our own lifetime. But our children will, or our children’s children will, until finally we, with all of them can give the Hosanna Shout.
God loves each of us and Jesus of Nazareth, his Only Begotten Son, came to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees “ (D&C 81:5) – bringing a divine form of worker’s compensation to those keep tugging those granite boulders into place. We are laying the foundation of a great work – our own inestimable future. — Elder Jeffrey R Holland, “However Long & Hard The Road,” BYU Devotional, January 18, 1983
My testimony to you is that the safety, peace, joy, and security we seek are found only in accepting and sincerely believing in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God. As we embrace His teachings, we give up all of our sins, we repent, and we do all that is in our power to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do. And as we give ourselves to Christ, fully and completely, we find safety, peace, joy, and security in Him.
Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems, sickness, family challenges, or employment difficulties? . . . Not at all. But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever challenge or adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner. If we keep our lives focused on Christ, we will gain a broader view, an eternal perspective. With that we can understand adversity and what is the right thing for us to do . . . within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children. And we can find comfort in this life in the eternal safety, peace and security that He promises. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Safety, Peace, Joy, and Security in Christ,” Ensign, June 2001, p. 74
We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same. . . . It is necessary for men to receive an understanding concerning the laws of the heavenly kingdom, before they are permitted to enter it: we mean the celestial glory. . . . The conditions of God’s kingdom are such, that all who are made partakers of that glory, are under the necessity of learning something respecting it previous to their entering into it. — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, January 22, 1834, p. 51
We can easily see the improvements that the people are making. It is like the babe that passes from a state of infancy to childhood, and thence to manhood. You cannot tell the particular moments of its growth and increase in stature; you cannot point out the particular day, hour, or minute in which it increases; but you are all the time perfectly aware that it is gaining, growing, becoming greater continually. It is precisely so in regard to ourselves spiritually. If we are doing our duty, though we cannot point out the moment, the day, or the particular time when we receive the increase of knowledge, wisdom, or power, yet we know and feel conscious, as we reflect back, that we have gained. — President Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, 9:21
Self-mastery is a challenge for every individual. Only we can control our appetites and passions. Self-mastery cannot be bought by money or fame. It is the ultimate test of our character. It requires climbing out of the deep valleys of our lives and scaling our own Mount Everests. — President James E. Faust, “the Power of Self-Mastery,” Ensign, May 2000
We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny. The Lord’s pattern for spiritual development is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.
I witness that the Savior will strengthen and assist us to make sustained, paced progress. The example in the Book of Mormon of “many, exceedingly great many” (Alma 13:12) in the ancient Church who were pure and spotless before God is a source of encouragement and comfort to me. I suspect those members of the ancient Church were ordinary men and women just like you and me. These individuals could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence, and they “were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God” (v. 12). And these principles and this process of spiritual progress apply to each of us equally and always. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Liahona, November 2007, pp. 80-83
For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor, and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also – counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ – requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that, when these sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God. — Joseph Smith, Jr., in Lectures on Faith, comp. N. B. Lundwall, p. 58
On that cold February day when the frozen ground was broken to start the work on the Salt Lake Temple, Brigham Young spoke with characteristically poignant humor as he told the recent converts attending the ground dedication to not be discouraged because they had not had all the privileges that many of the older members had had, of being robbed, and driven and mobbed and plundered of everything they had on earth, for he would promise all who would remain faithful, that they . . . should be proved in all things. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “However Long and Hard the Road,” BYU Devotional, January 18, 1983
To those who are doing the commonplace work of the world but are wondering about the value of their accomplishments; to those who are the workhorses of this Church, who are furthering the work of the Lord in so many quiet but significant ways; to those who are the salt of the earth and the strength of the world and the backbone of each nation – to you we would simply express our admiration. If you endure to the end, and if you are valiant in the testimony of Jesus, you will achieve true greatness and will live in the presence of our Father in Heaven. — President Howard W. Hunter, “True Greatness,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 19
Salvation does not come all at once; we are commanded to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect. It will take us ages to accomplish this end, for there will be greater progress beyond the grave, and it will be there that the faithful will overcome all things, and receive all things, even the fullness of the Father’s glory. I believe the Lord meant just what he said: that we should be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect. That will not come all at once, but line upon line and precept upon precept, example upon example, and even then not as long as we live in this mortal life, for we will have to go even beyond the grave before we reach that perfection and shall be like God. But here we lay the foundation. Here is where we are taught these simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in this probationary state, to prepare us for that perfection. — The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 7 April 1879; Journal of Discourses, 20:189-90
I will put my own definition to the term sanctification, and say it consists in overcoming every sin and bringing all into subjection to the law of Christ. God has placed in us a pure spirit; when this reigns predominant, without let or hindrance, and triumphs over the flesh and rules and governs and controls as the Lord controls the heavens and the earth, this I call the blessing of sanctification.
Will sin be perfectly destroyed? No, it will not, for it is not so designed in the economy of Heaven. All the Lord has called us to do is to renovate our own hearts, then our families, extending the principles to neighborhoods, to the earth we occupy, and so continue until we drive the power of Satan from the earth and Satan to his own place. That is the work Jesus is engaged in, and we will be co-workers with him.
Do not suppose that we shall ever in the flesh be free from temptations to sin. Some suppose that they can in the flesh be sanctified body and spirit and become so pure that they will never again feel the effects of the power of the adversary of truth. Were it possible for a person to attain to this degree of perfection in the flesh, he could not die neither remain in a world where sin predominates. Sin has entered into the world, and death by sin. I think we shall more or less feel the effects of sin so long as we live, and finally have to pass the ordeals of death. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:173
When the time shall come that the Spirit of the living God shall be poured out upon all flesh, in a very few moments of time the Lord could unlock the mysteries and treasures of the earth, so that we could understand not only the geographical surface of the earth, but be able, by the power of vision, to behold every particle of it inside as well as outside, and also the law that governs its elementary portions, nearly all of which is now closed from our mortal vision.
We can only go about so far with our natural sight; but there is a faculty in every man and woman which is now sleeping in a dormant state; and as soon as it is touched by the Spirit of the Lord, we shall be enabled to see a new world of things as it were, mysteries will be opened up, and we will perceive naturally as if they were written, and in this way we shall be able to learn very rapidly indeed. If we want a knowledge of this world or of ourselves, when our spirits were born, or if we desire to know things that took place before the foundations of the world were laid or the nucleus was formed, when the sons of God shouted for joy, if we desired to know these things it would only be necessary for the Spirit of the Lord to touch the vision of our minds and light up our understanding, and we could gaze upon things past for thousands of generations of worlds before the earth was made, and we could see the succession of worlds that have been and were in existence long before this earth was formed; we could see the ordeals through which they had passed, see them brought into existence and passing through their several changes and finally become glorified celestial mansions in the presence of God. By this same Spirit . . . we could look forward into the distant future and behold new worlds formed and redeemed, and not only this, but see and understand the laws by which they were made, and the object and end of all these creations, being touched by the finger of the Almighty and lighted up by the Holy Ghost. — Elder Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, December 2, 1877, 19:178
There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the Spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. . . . The spirit is in every man and every woman so that they need not walk in the darkness at all, and it is not always necessary for them to come to the President of the Church, or to the Twelve, or to the Elders of Israel, to get counsel; they have it within them, there is a friend that knows just exactly what to say to them. From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism, and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark. — President Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, April 1899, p. 52; Sec. 88:66-68
In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; exaltation is a family matter. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation,” Ensign, May 2008, pp. 7-10
“Man,” said Jesus Christ, “should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” That is the celestial law. When we do that we are living the celestial law and we shall gain celestial glory if we continue to abide in it, for by abiding in these things we sanctify our nature, we make our bodies and our spirits serve God, and come in subjection to his law and his influence and Spirit, which proceed from him, and our bodies become so sanctified that they are capable of being quickened in the resurrection by a celestial glory, and if we do not live in accordance with such law we cannot gain a celestial glory. That should be in our minds, and we should teach it to our children. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, Confrence Report, October 1921
The Lord is near unto every one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being. We can seek Him; we can ask and receive; we can seek and find; we can knock and the door will be opened to us; and every comfort and blessing pertaining to the everlasting Gospel enjoyed at any period of the world’s history can be enjoyed today. But they must be sought after by the prayer of faith, and by diligence, obedience, and by being in harmony with Jesus Christ our living head. His spirit will permeate the Church. His spirit will prompt His people if they will be obedient to His laws. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, General Conference, April 1906
To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – to a love of the Lord.
The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36). — President Ezra Taft Benson, “The Great Commandment – Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, p. 4
If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell
President George Q. Cannon suggested a way to evaluate our status: “If the breach is daily widening between ourselves and the world . . . we may be assured that our progress is certain, however slow. On the opposite hand, if our feelings and affections, our appetites and desires, are in unison with the world around us and we freely fraternize with them . . . we should do well to examine ourselves.” — Millennial Star 23 [5 October]: 645 46; cited by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1969, p. 15