Chris Herring, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mexico Ward
The first principles ordinances of the Gospel is first faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What is faith? How are belief and faith different?
Alma 32:26-43 says: Faith is the substance of things hoped for but not seen….” Faith takes work, takes effort, takes study and pondering. Belief is very different. I hear lots of times from people to say: “We believe in the same God and we’re all going to the same place, and that’s good enough.”
The difference between faith and belief could be the difference between a wise or foolish farmer. If a farmer only believed that he was going to get a crop for the year he would probably would not try to prepare his field ,would not buy seed and basically put little effort into it at all.
A farmer that has faith would study, ponder, educate himself about which seeds and crops he wants to plant for the year, what fertilizers, chemicals he wants to put apply and how he wants to prepare his ground for planting. This farmer works hard hoping that he will have a good crop but even that is not promised especially in dry and difficult years such as we’re having this year. After all the farmer can do to prepare the ground, prepare the crops, he knows he must trust and have faith in the Lord that he will send rain and warm sunshine and that things no matter what, will in the end will turn out.
I am not totally discounting belief. John 3:16 Says: “For God so loved the world He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have eternal life.” I believe that what Jesus is talking about there is the free gift of the resurrection. All creatures that have every been here on Earth will be resurrected. What a wonderful thing is this! But for people of faith, we know there is much, much more. Although believing is a good starting point Jesus made it clear that just believing was for as He said: “even the devil’s believe and tremble”.
Persons of sincere faith know it takes faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Hands and enduring to the end for eternal life in the Kingdom of Our Father in Heaven. And even all these must be done by proper authority and with love and real intent.
A rich man came to Jesus and asked: “What must I do to enter into the kingdom of God? and Jesus answered and said “Keep my commandments and the young rich man said this I have done from my youth; then Jesus answered him and said: Go to and sell all that that has and give to the poor, then shall have eternal life. The rich man left and went away sad for he had great possessions.”
A great example of true faith and trust in the Lord is when He called his apostles as they were preparing their nets and Jesus said: “Come follow me. They straightway left their nets and followed Him.” They left all things behind for the Lord that they loved so much.
James said: “Faith without works is dead.” James also said: “I will show you my faith by my works”. Anyone who thinks that they will be able to work their way into Heaven is a fool!
We all are going to be “judged according to our works”. And all of us will be given a just and fair reward or punishment for our deeds and actions done here on the earth.
It is your sins and mine that caused Jesus the greatest pain and agony in Garden and on the Cross. Those who truly love the Lord and have faith in him will want to do the best they can to say thank you to His ultimate act of sacrifice and love. Jesus said: “If you love me keep my commandments.”
I would much rather kneel before the Savior at the Judgment Day and have him say: “Well done thou good and faithful servant enter now into the rest of the Lord.” verses “Depart from me I never knew you”.
We will never be good enough of ourselves to get back to Heaven. We will never be perfect enough even though Jesus commanded: “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. So how can we be good enough?
It is only through the Grace of the Father! This Grace is only activated by faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
2 Nephi 25:23 says: “It is only by grace that you are saved, after all you can do.” I testify the God lives that Jesus is the Christ and only through them do we have a hope of going back Home as families. It is my prayer that we grow our belief, and become full of faith, love,hope I keeping the commandments of God as best as we can and endure to the end. Then the Lord will say to us: Well done thou good and faithful servant; “Enter now into the rest of the Lord.”