“The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel”

Articles of Faith 1:4

4 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.

Elder David A. Bednar said:

“The fourth article of faith is one of the greatest illustrations of gathering together in one all things in Christ: ‘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’ [Articles of Faith 1:4].

“True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ—in Him as the divine and Only Begotten Son of the Father and on Him and the redemptive mission He fulfilled. ‘For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men’ [Moroni 7:28]. Exercising faith in Christ is trusting and placing our confidence in Him as our Savior, on His name, and in His promises.

“The first and natural consequence of trusting in the Savior is repenting and turning away from evil. As we exercise faith in and on the Lord, we naturally turn toward, come unto, and depend upon Him. Thus, repentance is trusting in and relying upon the Redeemer to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Each of us must ‘[rely] wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save’ [2 Nephi 31:19] because only ‘through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah’ [2 Nephi 2:8] can we become new creatures in Christ [see 2 Corinthians 5:17] and ultimately return to and dwell in the presence of God.

“The ordinance of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins requires us to trust in Him, rely upon Him, and follow Him. Nephi proclaimed, ‘I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost’ [2 Nephi 31:13; emphasis added].

“The ordinance of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost requires us to trust in Him, rely upon Him, follow Him, and press forward in Him with the assistance of His Holy Spirit. As Nephi declared, ‘And now . . . I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved’ [2 Nephi 31:13; emphasis added].

“The fourth article of faith does not simply identify the fundamental principles and ordinances of the restored gospel. Rather, this inspired statement of beliefs gathers together in one all things in Christ: trusting in and on Him, relying upon Him, following Him, and pressing forward with Him—even in Him.”

(“Gather Together in One All Things in Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 22–23.)

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