Our hope is founded upon truth
Joseph Smith prayed for truth and wisdom
The Gospel Founded in truth
When it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we understand certain principles to be established on the truth of who Jesus Christ and what he taught. More importantly, truth is established in how the Savior of humanity lived out his own mortal existence in order for us to follow His divine legacy. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone (See, Ephesians 2:19-22, ESV). What is it about Christ where he has become the chief cornerstone of the Church and of our Faith? President Gordon B. Hinckley (See, The Cornerstones of our faith, October 1984 Conference) provides the following insights into the reason:
- The absolute of our faith and testimony is vested in knowing who Jesus Christ is.
- He lived, taught, healed and suffered persecution during his mortal existence and ministry.
- He fulfilled the need for sacrifice to redeem fallen humanity from sin and death.
- Buried, he rose again on the third day with a resurrected body of flesh and bones.
- He is the author and finisher of our faith and means to obtain Salvation unto Exaltation.
In addition to this, our eternal life is based on this one truth: And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (See, John 17:3, ESV). Through Jesus Christ, and our faith in him, we come to know who God, the Father is. Therefore, the Gospel is a message of unity and fellowship in the good news that Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death in order for mankind to obtain salvation (See, What is the Gospel?). The Church is built on the cornerstone of who Jesus Christ is, his ministry, his mission and the reality that he is resurrected and seated at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus the Christ
Principles of the Gospel are eternal
An irrevocable principle is this: Faith in God. Without faith in God, we are merely mortal and without hope in the life to come. Coming to this simple truth, we are faced with who we truly are. Fallen, immoral and unrepentant. Without Christ and his infinite atonement, we are forever lost in our fallen state.
The Apostle Paul expresses this in Romans 5, we read the comparison of Adam to Jesus Christ. Through Adam, humanity fell into the conditions of being sinful and suffered death. For Adam, this came through an act of disobedience. Banished from the Garden, humanity is now separated from God. However, just as sin and death (which is both, mortal and spiritual death) entered through Adam and his transgress; Jesus Christ became the one person to conquer sin and death and eternal life is because of Christ's crucifixion. Just as in Adam we have died, in Christ we are made alive (See Covenant Theology and the sub-heading Federal Headship and Adam-Christ Comparison).
Latter-day Saints do not hold to reformed theology. We are taught, through scripture and revelation, Adam had a moral choice to make. Continue to live within the confines of the Garden as an immortal being, or disobey and partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The eternal principle of the Gospel rests in the eternal plan of Salvation. Meaning, without the fall of humanity, there stood no need of a redeemer to come and bring salvation and eternal life to humanity. The Book of Mormon teaches that this would be a thing of naught:
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. (See, 2 Nephi 2:11-12)
No purpose in life, no understanding of who Jesus Christ is, all things remaining the same and ever unchanging. The eternal principles of the Gospel is summed up in Moses 1:39: For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This truth brings us to how humanity is not only in need of a redeemer; that humanity is in need of a redeemer because of our fallen nature and disposition to sin. Therefore, repentance becomes one of the key principles of eternal truth.
The Plan of Salvation
Repentance and forgiveness
Persecuted by both Roman and Jewish leaders, the Apostle Peter stands up in the midst of the multitude of people. These people were gathered in celebration of the Jewish Pentecost. A celebration in progress. During this celebration, two things occurred. The first is an outpouring among those Jews who followed Christ and the twelve disciples (See, Acts 2:1-12). The second is the Apostle Peter's first public sermon unto those who witnessed this outpouring (See, Acts 2:13-40). Within his sermon, Peter answered the question What should we do (v. 37) because of how this cut to the heart of those present: "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (See, v. 38, ESV).
Peter proclaimed the essential and eternal truth of the Gospel: We are to repent of our sins and be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins. The hallmark of an authentic faith rests on this principle. Christ taught this, his disciples in the First Century taught this, and ancient and modern scriptures teach this principle.
The Fourth Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mirrors the statement the Apostle Peter gave to the crowd: 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.
This simple truth gives a succinct summation of what the Gospel is based on - as restored in these last days. And, so far, the discussion focused on the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone of our faith. The necessity of belief in, not only Jesus Christ, but also in God, the Eternal Father for our eternal salvation. The eternal principle of the human experience and existence. And, the reality and simple truth of our need to repent of our sins and seek out the forgiveness for those transgressions because of our fallen nature.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
Come unto Christ
The call is always set before us. To come unto Christ. This requires that we put off the desires and natural tendencies of the Flesh. Not only are we called to come unto Christ, we are admonished to be perfected in him in our life. Moroni writes his final thoughts in the last chapter of his book, and in the last pages of the Book of Mormon:
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God (See, Moroni 10:32).
The Apostle Paul teaches us that we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (See, Romans 6:1-14, ESV). In both scriptures, we come unto Christ by denying our fallen nature and no longer serving the desires of our flesh. Paul refers to this as being transformed by the renewing of our mind (See, Romans 12:1-2, ESV) on those things that draw us closer to Christ. The Savior, himself, taught that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross (See, Matthew 16:24-26, ESV) in order to follow him.
This is an act of faith on our part in knowing who Jesus Christ is. The very foundation of our faith, our hope and eternal life. Resting on the chief cornerstone of eternal principles of truth. The Gospel is founded upon Jesus Christ. We are built up in faith and assurance of this.
Whom do men say that I am?
Share your thoughts
The principles of the Gospel are founded upon the truth of who Jesus Christ is. These principles are:
- Have faith in that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.
- We must repent of our sins and come unto Christ for the forgiveness of our transgressions
- Be baptized for the remission of our sins as we symbolically die unto our natural self and rise up in newness of life
- Receive the power and gift of the Holy Spirit by which we are led in all truth and understanding
These four principles rest upon the chief cornerstone of our faith and the Restored Gospel. How has this inspired you to come unto Christ? To seek his forgiveness for your sins and transgressions and to rise up in a new hope and life that is wrought by the power and grace of God? Share your thoughts and experiences.