Sanctification by the Holy Ghost

Church Educational System
The fourth article of faith tells us that baptism is “by immersion for the remission [or taking away] of sins.” Being immersed in water symbolizes, among other things, the cleansing or washing away of our sins. The cleansing, however, is symbolic. Sins are not literally washed off, ending up in the water of the baptismal font. But how are sins and the effects of sin upon a person taken away?

Two things work together to bring about this cleansing—the scriptural word is sanctification. First, sanctification is made possible because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. He paid the price with his own life to meet the demands of justice. The Lord told Adam that we are sanctified by the blood of Christ (see Moses 6:59–60). It was the giving of this blood, the symbol of life (see Leviticus 17:11), which makes our sanctification possible. Second, a person is actually cleansed or purified of the terrible effects of sin by the sanctifying, cleansing, purging influence of the Holy Ghost. We are “sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 27:20). Nephi wrote that when we repent and are baptized, “then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31:17). Alma taught this doctrine as well (see Alma 13:12).

Immediately after teaching this doctrine of faith, repentance, baptism, and the reception of the Holy Ghost, Jesus said, “This is my gospel” (3 Nephi 27:21). Compare this to Christ’s teachings in 3 Nephi 11:31–40.

Book of Mormon Student Manual (1996 Edition)