Tuesday, November 1, 2016

150 The Gift of Repentance

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We love you. We believe in you. We thank Heavenly Father for you.

One of the greatest blessings of God is the ability to repent, to  really repent. Repentance is not a big burden or some kind of required  punishment. Repentance is one of the most hopeful, joyful words in our  language. Repentance means DOING WHAT IS NEEDED SO THAT WE CAN LIVE WITH  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AGAIN AND RECEIVE THE GREAT BLESSINGS HE WANTS TO  GIVE US, HIS CHILDREN.

The opportunity to repent is at the center of our great message to  the world. It is one of the great gifts you give as you teach the gospel  every day.

I was touched by the teachings of Elder Dale Renlund in the most recent general conference:

"Changing our behavior and returning to the right road are part of  repentance, but only part. Real repentance also includes a turning of  our heart and will to God and a renunciation of sin...Yet even this is  an incomplete description. It does not properly identify the power that  makes repentance possible, the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Real  repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He  can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help  us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His atonement  effective in our lives...

President Boyd K. Packer affirmed the  hopeful promises of repentance in April 2015 at his last general  conference. He described the power of the Savior's Atonement to heal in  what I consider the distillation of the wisdom gained in half a century  of apostolic service. President Packer said: "The Atonement leaves no  tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed...It just heals, and what it  heals stays healed...The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us,  bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we  have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, the Savior has  promised that He would atone And when He atoned, that settled that..."

Jesus Christ CAN forgive because He paid the price for our sins.

Our Redeemer CHOOSES to forgive because of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love.

Our Savior WANTS to forgive because this is one of His divine attributes.

And, like the Good Shepard He is, He is JOYFUL when we choose to repent.

The  fact that we can repent is the good news of the gospel! Guilt can be  swept away. We can be filled with joy, receive a remission of our sins,  and have peace of conscience. We can be freed from feelings of despair  and the bondage of sin. We can be filled with the marvelous light of God  and be pained no more. Repentance is not only possible but also joyful  because of our Savior."

To Elder Renlund's testimony I add my own:  Repentance is the pathway that our merciful Father in Heaven laid out  for us to follow back to His presence. I am deeply grateful for this  path, which was designed with great love and paved with the sacrifice of His Beloved Son.

May we share this great gift with all who will listen, and accept this gift fully ourselves.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

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