Brandon, Mississippi (CNN) - Newt Gingrich opened up about seeking God's forgiveness during an evening Sunday service in Mississippi.
"There were things in my life that I have been very public about saying were, in fact, well short of the glory of God, and I had to go to God to seek forgiveness," Gingrich said at First Baptist Church in Brandon.
The Republican presidential candidate told the congregation he is very close with his two grandchildren and his two daughters from his first marriage who often join him on the trail and campaign on his behalf. But he acknowledged, "I had to earn being a 68-year-old grandfather by living through things that I would never want my grandchildren to repeat."
Speaking of his wife, Callista, whom he married in 2000, Gingrich said, "I have been very, very fortunate that I have a very, very close relationship with Callista."
Gingrich has spent the past five days campaigning in Mississippi and Alabama ahead of both primaries on Tuesday. The former Georgia congressman and U.S. House speaker is hoping Southern conservatives will coalesce around his candidacy instead of the campaign of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The White House hopeful rarely talks specifically about his previous marital indiscretions but speaks openly about seeking forgiveness.
"I never went to God to seek understanding. And I was never confused. That is, there are periods of my life where I have sinned. And, I have to tell you, at the time I was sinning, I was not - I don't believe in situation ethics - I had to seek God's forgiveness and I had to seek reconciliation with God."
Gingrich attended Catholic Mass and visited two other churches in the Birmingham area before traveling to Brandon to hold a rally and visit First Baptist. Brandon is just east of the capital of Jackson, along Interstate 20 in south-central Mississippi.
"I don't come to you as a person who is perfect. I come to you as a citizen who has sought redemption and has sought God's love and recognizes that you have to shelter under the cross to have any hope of living a full life, and I'm very grateful of having the chance to be with you this evening."