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the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. It is only by compliance with the laws of our community and nation that we have title to personal liberty and to a share in the blessings and privileges provided by the government under which we live. Shall the terms of citizenship in the Kingdom of God be less definite than in the nations officered by men?
Divine authority for the naturalization of mankind in that eternal Kingdom has been restored to earth in the current age. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls upon all peoples, irrespective of race or nationality, to cultivate an abiding faith in God, to turn from sin in contrite and genuine repentance, to be baptized by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and to receive the assured companionship of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands.
On the high authority of the Holy Scriptures, the direct word of God to man, be it said: There is no other road to Salvation.
THE DEVILS BELIEVE AND TREMBLE
Faith Not Mere Belief
E believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; (4) Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Articles of Faith, 4).
Faith in God is the first, the fundamental, the basal principle of the Gospel; as, indeed, faith, in the more general usage of the term, is the impelling cause to activity even in ordinary affairs. Faith and belief are not infrequently
confused, and the words are too commonly regarded as synonymous. An approach to identity of meaning appears in early English, in consequence of which fact belief is sometimes given the more definite signification of faith in our versions of the Holy Scriptures. Belief may be nothing more than a mental assent to any proposition, principle, or alleged fact; whereas faith implies such confidence and conviction as shall inspire to action. Belief is by comparison passive, a mere agreement or tacit acceptance only; faith is active and positive, and is accompanied by works. Faith is vivified, vitalized, living belief.
Even the devils believe that Jesus is the Christ, and so fully that they tremble at the prospect of the fate foreshadowed by that belief (see James 2:19). Their belief may amount even to certain knowledge, but they remain devils nevertheless. Consider the man possessed by a demon in the country of the Gadarenes. When he beheld Jesus afar off he ran to the Master, and worshiped Him, while the evil spirit by whom the man was controlled acknowledged the Lord, calling Him "Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God.” (Mark 5; for analogous instances see Mark 1:23-27, and 3:8-11).
Strikingly similar in form, yet vitally different in spirit and effect, is this testimony of the demons as compared with Peter's confession of his Lord. To the Savior's question "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter replied in practically the same words voiced by the unclean spirits: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 16:15, 16).
Peter's faith had already been tested, and had demonstrated its vital power. Through faith the Apostle had forsaken much that had been dear, and had followed his Lord in persecution and suffering. His knowledge of God as the Eternal Father and of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer
may have been no greater than that of the demons; but while to them that knowledge was an added cause of condemnation, to him it was the power of righteous service and of eventual salvation.
In a theological sense faith includes a moving, vital, inspiring confidence in God, and the acceptance of His will as our law and of His words as our guide in life. Faith in God is a principle of power, for by its exercise spiritual forces are made operative. By this power phenomena that appear to be supernatural, such as we call miracles, are wrought. Even the Lord Jesus was influenced and in a measure controlled by the lack of faith or the possession thereof by those who sought blessings at His hands. We are told that at a certain time and place Jesus "could there do no mighty work" because of the people's unbelief, which was so dense that He marveled at it. (Mark 6:5, 6). Repeatedly did the Lord rebuke and admonish with such reproofs as "O ye of little faith," "Where is your faith?" and "How is it that ye have no faith?" In glorious contrast rang out His words of benediction to those whose faith had made it possible for Him to heal and to save: "Thy faith hath made thee whole" and "According to your faith be it unto you."
Read the record of the youthful demoniac whose agonized father brought his son to the Master, pleading pitiably “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us and help us." To this qualified intercession Jesus replied "If thou canst believe" and added "All things are possibl to him that believeth." (Read Mark 9:14-29). The faith requisite to the healing was not that of the Healer alone, but primarily faith on the part of the suppliant.
If through faith Divine interposition may be secured to the accomplishment of what we call material or physical
miracles, and of this the Scriptures contain copious testimony (read Hebrews, chap. 11), is it consistent to doubt that faith is the appointed agency for invoking and securing spiritual blessings, even to the attainment of salvation in the eternal worlds?
As shown in earlier articles, redemption from the power of death is assured to all through the victory achieved by Jesus Christ; but salvation is an individual gift, provided for all who shall establish claim thereto through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Faith in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of the race, and in the Holy Ghost, is essential to the securing of individual salvation. Paul forcefully declares "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11:6).
The Scriptures abound in assurances of salvation to those who exercise faith in God. The Savior's teachings are conclusive:
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16).
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36).
But who will venture to affirm that passive belief as distinguished from active faith is here implied? Can a man be said to believe in Jesus Christ in any effective and genuine sense unless that man shall strive to do the things that Christ commands? To any such inconsistent assumption, the Apostle John replies:
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep
his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." (1 John 2:3-5).
In a revelation through Joseph Smith in 1829 the Lord Jesus Christ gave this instruction and blessed promise:
"Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men." (Doctrine and Covenants 18:18).
THE VOICE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST AGAIN
Repent Ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand
HE personal ministry of Jesus Christ in the flesh was directly heralded by the preaching of John the Baptist, whose voice was that of one crying in the wilderness: "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The proclamation of the appointed harbinger was vindicated by the appearance of the Lord Himself, who came and opened the way of the Kingdom of God to all who would enter therein.
In these modern days that same John, now a resurrected personage, has again officiated on earth. In him was vested of old the authority of the Priesthood of Aaron. On the 15th of May, 1829, a heavenly messenger, who declared himself to be John known as the Baptist, appeared in light and glory, and, laying his hands upon the heads of the modern prophet Joseph Smith and a companion in the ministry, conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood, saying: