Faith in Jesus Christ the First Step on the Covenant Path

Faith in Jesus Christ the First Step on the Covenant Path

The Savior has established for his children a covenant path that leads all who are faithful back to him.  This covenant path is described in His simple Doctrine taught in the scriptures.   The Savior proclaims: “And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.  And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit t he kingdom of God.  (3 Nephi 11:  32-33).   

The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized the Doctrine of Christ in the 4th Article of Faith: 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.  

The Doctrine of Christ in all its simplicity provides for us a path back to our Heavenly Father.  The first step on this path is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith changes our hearts and leads us to repentance. Paul defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as, 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'

The prophet Alma further defines the principle by saying 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.  If one ponders these scriptures much can be learned.  Simply believing is not enough for one can easily believe in things that are false, misleading, or deceptive.  In order to have faith one must first know the truth, believe in it and have faith in the principles and consequences thereof.  

True faith and the correct expression of it drive us to act.   It motivates us and draws us closer to our Heavenly Father and the Savior.  It humbles us and causes us to repent.  It brings us to the waters of baptism and ultimately to the alters of the temple.   Faith feeds our desire to be closer to God   because it brings about a definitive and permanent change with in us as our very hearts and natures are changed in the realization that God lives and His son Jesus Christ died for us.   Faith is a spiritual blessing that all should seek. 

There is a process to develop faith in Christ.  Our missionaries well know how to assist others n developing faith unto repentance.    All that is necessary to start is a desire to believe.    Remember the grieving father who brought his son, possessed of an evil and destructive spirit, to the Savior to be healed.  The Savior queried him as to his belief and the man tearfully cried out “I believe Lord, help thou mine unbelief.”   That intense desire to have adequate faith was enough for the Savior.  The boy was healed and the evil spirit cast from him.   

Alma teaches us about the development of faith as he compares the word of God to a seed.  Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.”    Alma 32:28-29. 

The requirements are simple.  The seed must be good and true.  We must have a desire.  And we cannot cast it out by rebelling against the spiritual promptings that the Lord gives us.  We will know we are on the right path when the gospel begins to enlarge our souls, enlighten our understanding and become delicious to us. 

As we watch our friends and neighbors embrace the Gospel we can see this very change happening in their lives.  They are brought to a path of repenting and making covenants through ordinances with our Heavenly Father.    I love Alma’s observation in vs 35.  O then, is not this real?  I say unto you, yea because it is light and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good…

You will recognize such goodness in your own lives.  Since coming to Africa I have heard such wonderful stories of faith from the members.  Such goodness and strength is apparent everywhere.  Many have acted and continue to act in faith as they proceed down the covenant path towards eternal life.   What joy there is in finding, and nurturing our faith.  What comfort there is in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much to provide a path that all can follow back to him.   I pray that we might continue to nurture our faith that it continues to draw us towards the Savior.    In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.