The first principle of the gospel is faith in Jesus Christ. Having faith in Christ is believing firmly that He is the Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God, and that he came to the earth to give His life that we might be saved. It is absolutely true.
We must follow this teaching despite the teachings from the world and men’s misconceptions. This principle is of a vital importance, and is essential to our salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us with His blood, hence the purpose of our faith in him; He has given salvation at a condition ….. and that condition – that we must not forget – is that we keep His commandments and that we remember Him. If we do this, we have the divine promise to have happiness in this world and eternal life in the world to come.
Our happiness on earth and our eternal salvation require many decisions to be taken, among which some may appear to be difficult. We will not be able to grow in justice in this world if we are not careful about our choices. Every day, opportunities to exercise our agency arise before us; if our capacity to choose is combined with faith in Christ, it will enable us to always choose the right “ like Jesus of Nazareth who went about doing good.” (1). Some people prefer to accomplish many things by themselves in order to bless their lives in this world, but they forget the essential, even to associate that human capacity with faith in Jesus Christ to reach what has more everlasting value. A young man has particularly been surprised in his attitude.
Use all his human capacities…..
He was in his early twenties when the gospel was brought to him. He was selling some small items at the market and was living at his cousin’s place who was a member of the Church. His small business was running relatively well but took most of his time. Most of his appointments with missionaries failed due to his unavailability. His heart seemed to be more turned to the things of this world than to spiritual matters ones. Most of the time he would leave the house to avoid the missionaries and come back when they had left. He surely did not want to look like those young men in a white shirt, tie and name tag, who seemed to be desperate, He said. His goal in life was to use all his human capabilities to build his life and raise a family. After having tried to lead his life that way, he encountered many adversities that could compromise all his future. President Ezra T. Benson warned us: Pride is characterized by asking: “What do I want from life? Rather than by: What does God want me to do with my life? Pride turns us to our own will rather than to God’s will. It is all about love for man before the love for God.” (2). All these adversities humbled this young man; he recognized his mistake and understood he made a wrong choice.
He finally accepted to have missionary lessons until he was baptized and given the Holy Ghost. Some years later, he served an honorable full-time mission. He acquired good experiences that prepared him to become a mature and responsible man.
He applied and received the Perpetual Educational Fund (PEF) to pursue his professional studies and created a small income-generating business at the same time. Months later, he got married to a young girl in the Church and they got sealed for time and eternity at the Johannesburg Temple. They currently have two children who are also sealed to them. After his mission, he received many callings among which the most recent are; as a member of the Bishopric and of the Stake Presidency. Today, this young man is building his life, not according to his will, but according to the Lord’s will, all because his faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord said: “Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome.” (3). When we are humble, we become teachable and receptive to the message of the gospel. The progress, light and development can occur. Trust can develop and we can return back to our celestial home through faith.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ leads us to obedience to the commandments. Both are tied up by a covenant act performed during our baptism. A covenant is a solemn agreement, between a man and God, which commits them. On one hand, God promises to bless us, and on the other hand, we promise to obey Him. Covenants’ observance helps us qualify for all the blessings of eternal life. During his setting apart as President of the Church, Harold B. Lee declared: “The Church safety lies on church members’ obedience to God’s commandments…. When they obey the commandments, blessings come.” (4).
We will not otherwise be blessed than by respect of covenants entered into, which will influence our behavior, attitude, and choices of every moment, of every day and of our lifetime. We might wrongfully believe that our lives are surrounded by restrictions which impose on us a tailored lifestyle, or that the joy of living in this world is reduced to the only respect of covenants, or more, that we will not have as much energy and spiritual strength as to face Satan’s influence in our all life. It would be a mistake to think like this. God our Father wants to make each of us capable of enjoying all the blessings He enjoys. He loves us so much that he provided for us a wonderful plan and ways to obtain the fullness of joy. Having a personal belief that commandments truly come from God and that they help us live a happier life, testifies of our love for Him. The scriptures declare: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” (5).
Keith McMullin said: “As men, women, boys and girls do their duty to God, they feel impelled to fulfill their duties to one another, their family, Church, Nations and all things entrusted to care. They are bound to magnify their callings and to be law-bounding, good people. They become humble, submissive and easily entreated. Temperance conquers indulgence; obedience guides their diligence. Peace distills upon them. Therefore, citizens become honest, communities become benevolent, and neighbors become friends. Our Heavenly Father is satisfied, the earth is pacified and the world becomes a better place.”(6). When we love God with all our heart, barriers of enmity fall and there will be no envies, no discords, no uproar, no fornication, no lies, no murder, no lewdness, but we will love our neighbor as ourselves.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal us …….
Despite a long road ahead, we can draw strength from, or find comfort in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is reflected by the sufferings that He has endured in the garden of Gethsemane and His death on the cross. And that death ended with His resurrection. It brought us two great gifts: The forgiveness for our sins and resurrection for everybody. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal us from our guilt if we feel weakened or crushed by the burden of our sins. This takes effect in the life of whomever that has faith in Jesus Christ and repents of their sins. Life can become pleasant again after this, the self-confidence restored, the Holy Ghost becomes a guide and the Perseverance a purpose. Therefore “Faith in Christ, repentance, renewing and keeping covenants becomes a pattern of living. Our actions in daily life are shaped and governed by these principles. Peace and joy come by following this way, and we gradually grow in Christ like attributes.” (7).
Eternal life is the greatest blessing promised to man if he follows God’s established way. The sacred books and teachings of living prophets are a light source at our feet, which enlightens the whole world and brings spiritual knowledge to humble men and women. Following the prophets helps us remain close to divinity. In Mosiah chapters 4 and 5, after his talk in front of the multitude, King Benjamin said that his people felt the Spirit of the Lord and were prompted to promise God that they will keep His commandments. In summary, his people committed to obey the following principles: to remember the greatness of God, to humble themselves, pray daily, do no evil to others, teach children to love one another, share with the needy, have pure thoughts, words and actions. As the people did that, they drew nearer to the Lord. The same prevail for us, when we practice these same principles and consider Christ as our firm foundation, a sure foundation in which the devil forces will never have power over us.
The prophet Helaman said: “It is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds...yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery... because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (8)
Let us remember that Jesus Christ is the author and the consumer of our faith. We must respect the laws and commandments, ordinances and covenants given by God. It is promised to us that at the end, if we follow the path of obedience and “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: we shall have eternal life” (9).
- Acts 10 : 38
- April 1986 – General Conference
- D &C 63 : 20
- Bruce A. Carlson – words of Harold B. Lee
- 1 John 5 : 3
- Published by LDS Church News – Translated by Deb
- Preach My Gospel, page 67
- Hel 5: 12
- 2 Nephi 31: 20