“That Ye May Be Washed from Your Sins”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet
The scriptures seldom speak of having our sins “washed away” in the waters of baptism (see Acts 22:16; D&C 39:10), though the Saints frequently use this expression to teach the purpose of baptism. Perhaps the more useful analogy is that which attests to the Holy Ghost as the agent, the medium by which sins and dross are burned out of the human soul as though by fire, thus giving rise to the phrase “baptism by fire.” Sins are remitted not in the waters of baptism, as we say casually but rather as we receive the cleansing and sanctifying influence of the Spirit in our lives. (See 2 Nephi 31:17; 3 Nephi 12:2; Moroni 6:4; Teaching; p. 314; New Witness, pp. 239, 290.)

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3