Saturday, February 5, 2011

We Believe: Gospel of Jesus Christ

Article of Faith #4: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that faith is the foundation for everything in the gospel.  As Paul taught, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)" and as Alma taught, "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true (Alma 32:21)."  It is not enough to have just a passive belief in the Savior; we must act on those things which we feel and know are true (see James 2:17-18).  Our faith must be growing and continue to progress.  I love how Peter explains the importance of our faith be tried and tested.  He wrote, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1st Peter 1:7-9)."  Faith is the power by which miracles are wrought among us and how God can touch each of our lives (see Moroni 7:37).

We believe that one of the first actions we take because of our faith is to repent of our sins.  Repentance means to change, or to turn around in a course of action.  When we repent of our sins, we confess them to our Heavenly Father and ask for His forgiveness.  We then make restitution, or pay back for our mistakes to the best of our ability.  The most important step in the process of repentance is we promise to never do it again.  The Lord gives us an amazing promise as we repent.  He says, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more (D&C 58:26-27)."

We believe that the first major ordinance, or saving ordinance, we participate in is that of baptism by immersion.  As we are baptized, our sins are washed away.  We literally begin a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ and start with a clean slate.  We make certain promises to God, such as promising to keep the commandments and to always remember Jesus Christ.  In return, our Heavenly Father promises us that we may always have His Spirit to be with us if we are living righteously and that if we endure, we can have eternal life.
We believe in the words of the Savior when He taught, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5)."  After we are baptized, hands are laid upon our head and we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Before we receive this gift, the Holy Ghost can touch us to bear witness of truth and to teach and guide us.  Once we receive this great gift, we can have the constant companionship with the Holy Ghost as long as we are living worthy of his presence.  What a great blessing it is to have that guidance and that support from the third member of the Godhead in all that we do.

I love being able to teach others this message of the gospel.  I have seen changes come into the lives of many people as they develop faith, repent of their sins, are baptized both by water and the Spirit, and continue to strive to do the best they can.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is "good news" (see Bible Dictionary: Gospel).

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