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; and fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When one accepts Jesus Christ, he is willing to follow Him and keep His commandments. This Article of Faith tells us some of the basic ways in which we do this. First, we must exercise faith in Jesus Christ. To have faith in Jesus Christ means that we believe that He is the Son of God. It also means that we trust Him. As we keep His commandments, we will come to know that our trust in Him is well placed. This will enable our faith in Him to continue to grow until it becomes unshakeable.
Mormons also believe that a disciple of Jesus Christ is willing to repent of his sins. Repentance means that one has a godly sorrow for having transgressed the commandments of God. He desires to bring his life in accordance with God’s will and is willing to do whatever is necessary to accomplish this goal. He will confess his sins before God and before any person whom he may have injured by his actions. He will also be willing, when possible, to repair any damage he may have caused by his mistakes.
As an outward symbol that one has accepted Jesus Christ, he is willing to be baptized. Mormons believe that the proper mode of baptism is that of immersion. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Matthew 3:16 tell us that “[He] went up straightway out of the water” (italics added). Thus, we follow Jesus Christ’s example when we are baptized by immersion. Baptism by immersion is symbolic of the death and burial of the old man as he goes down into the water and the birth of the new man as he comes forth out of the water–one who is free from sin and willing to follow Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments.
When one has exercised faith in Jesus Christ, repented of his sins, and been baptized, he is then ready to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead who has many roles. He is a personage of spirit whose influence is without end. He is the comforter whom Jesus promised to send to His disciples. The Holy Ghost also testifies of truth and can bring all things to remembrance. When one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost through properly authorized priesthood authority, he has the privilege of having that influence always with him. This is one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life.
To learn more about the fourth Article of Faith and one example of showing faith in Jesus Christ, please read “The Lord’s Wind” by John H. Groberg.
Next Week: Article of Faith #5–Mormon beliefs regarding who is authorized to administer the ordinances of Jesus Christ’s gospel.
In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4 [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]