What happens to a person that was born under the temple covenant, baptized at age eight, rebelled at age fourteen, was inactive for most of his life, committed some serious sins, repented in his late forties, and since has been to the temple? What can he look forward to? He needs some hope but also the truth. Thanks…..
Let’s look at a couple of pertinent scriptures.
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 sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them. (D&C 58:42-43)
The person you refer to has repented of all his sins. Those who have priesthood authority over him, who indeed are God’s representatives to him–his bishop and his stake president–have both interviewed him in some detail and have certified to his worthiness to enter the holy temple by signing his temple recommend. We can only assume that his repentance has been complete, and that he is worthy before the Lord. Therefore, the Lord remembers his sins no more. PERIOD. He is as clean before the Lord as if those sins had never been committed. That is the message conveyed by Isaiah,
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18)
Here the Lord is comparing the deepest color, representing what the sinful person is like, to the purest color, representing what the forgiven person is like.
Let me repeat for you an analogy that I sent to another person with a similar concern about the residual effect of past sins.
“There was a young lad who had just received a brand new pair of shiny black shoes. So he put them on and went for a walk. During the walk he stepped in a mud puddle. So he came back home to clean his new shoes. By that time the mud had dried, so he spread a newspaper out on the kitchen table, and with a kitchen knife carefully scraped all the dried mud that he could get off his shoes onto the newspaper. He then went to the kitchen sink and with some soap and water cleaned all the remaining mud off the shoes. Then he got out the shoe polish and shined and polished the shoes. Now it was impossible for anyone to tell that the shoes had ever been in the mud. Next he went back to the kitchen table, tore off a square of newspaper and carefully collected all the dirt that had been scraped off the shoes into the square of newpaper, carefully folded it up and put it in his pocket. From then on, from time to time, he would take the paper from his pocket, unfold it and look at the dirt and say to himself, “What a terrible thing to do. Why in the world did I walk through all that mud?”
Now ask yourself what the young man should have done with the dirt he was carrying around? To cite another example of the sins that the Lord is willing to forgive and of the blessings promised to the repentant, let me refer you to the Savior’s pleadings to the latter-day gentiles–namely us—
Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (3 Nephi 30:2)
So the thing to do about past sins that are no longer a part of us it to quit trying to keep score AND FORGET THEM! This is the Savior’s commandment—
And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. (3 Nephi 11:32)
Believe in Him! Have confidence that He has suffered for your sins and that through the atonement of the Savior justice has been fully satisfied, and you are free and clean from the contamination of evil. Let the Lord’s spirit dwell in you. Live with confidence in His great atoning sacrifice, and be both grateful and happy.