Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

"In many cookbooks there are pictures of the perfect dishes that recipes make—the fulness of the joy of cooking. These pictures are important because they help us envision the outcome if we strictly follow the directions as given in the recipe. It is important to begin with the end in mind, but the end represented by pictures in cookbooks is an end that is only possible if everything is done right. If directions are not followed or an ingredient is left out or miscalculated, the desired taste and appearance are seldom attained. The picture of a perfect dish, however, can serve as motivation to try again to create something that is both delicious and beautiful.

"When we think of eternal life, what is the picture that comes to mind? I believe that if we could create in our minds a clear and true picture of eternal life, we would start behaving differently. We would not need to be prodded to do the many things involved with enduring to the end, like doing our home teaching or visiting teaching, attending our meetings, going to the temple, living moral lives, saying our prayers, or reading the scriptures. We would want to do all these things and more because we realize they will prepare us to go somewhere we yearn to go."

Above are excerpts from a talk given by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the April 2008 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his talk entitled, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Perry taught that, "Essentially, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a five-ingredient recipe for eternal life." The five ingredients are faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Of faith Elder Perry taught, "In order to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, people must first embrace Him whose gospel it is. They must trust the Savior and what He has taught us. They must believe that He has the power to keep His promises to us by virtue of the Atonement. When people have faith in Jesus Christ, they accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings."

Faith is essential in our quest for eternal life. Faith is the beginning and the purpose, faith is what drives us to the rest of the gospel.

Of repentance Elder Perry taught, "Our faith also leads to action— it leads to the commitments and changes associated with true repentance. As Amulek taught in the 34th chapter of Alma:

Therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; “Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save (vv. 16–18)."

In repentance is our faith made manifest.

Of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost Elder Perry taught, "it is an ordinance denoting entry into a sacred and binding covenant between God and man." We promise God to serve, to obey, and to proclaim the gospel; God promises us the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and eternal life. "Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost are the prescribed ways to enter the strait and narrow path to eternal life."

Both baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands are ordinances performed by the Lord's anointed—by those who have been given authority from God.

Of enduring to the end Elder Perry taught, "this is not an easy task. It is intended to be difficult, challenging, and, ultimately, refining as we prepare to return to live with our Father in Heaven and receive eternal blessings." Enduring to the end requires the Savior's redemptive powers as we continually strive nurture and grow our faith through constant repentance and otherwise fulfill our part of our baptismal covenant.

The gospel is our pathway back to our Heavenly Father. Prayer is our line of communication to Him. Revelation through the holy scriptures is one of His main lines of communication to us. We must work to develop faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We must repent of those things in our lives keeping us from experiencing true happiness, we must participate in saving ordinances, and we must endure to the end of the path which leads to eternal life. If we do so, we can live with our families forever.