What is the Gospel? Part III: Ordinances and Commandments

9 Oct

We know we have kept our first estate, for we are here in mortality. So how do we keep our second estate? In our definition we read that we must “endure to the end, faithfully living the gospel.” So, now we must know how to live the gospel.

We have been told what we must do, and it is truly very simple. The beautiful part about it is that it is a progression. We are not expected to do it all at once. In truth we cannot do it all at once. We accept a part and live it, and then we are given more, and must live that. But we have the assurance that as long as we are faithful to what we have we will not be accountable for what we do not have. God has told us that He will “judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” (D&C 137: 9) So, if we are faithful to the part we have, we have an assurance of salvation for that faith. It is important to keep this in mind or the true spirit and mercy of the gospel may be missed.

So, what is required? There are many ordinances that we have been given, each accompanied with a covenant made with God. Each must be entered into in the proper order, and only when we are sufficiently prepared to make the covenants they carry. Here is a list of the required ordinances.
1. The gospel begins with faith in Christ. One must first believe before they can continue. (Article of Faith 4)
2. One must repent of their sins and come to Christ before anything can be done. (Article of Faith 4)
Note: These first two are not actually ordinances, but are required before one can begin the ordinances, and so I include them.
3. Once the first two requirements are fulfill the person must enter into a covenant with God through the ordinance of baptism by immersion in water, just as Christ was. (Article of Faith 4)
4. Once we are baptized with water we are baptized with the spirit when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Article of Faith 4)
5. Then we must worthily partake of the sacrament as often as we are able to renew these covenants. (D&C 20: 75; D&C 46: 4)
6. For men we will also receive the priesthood; first the Aaronic, or lesser priesthood, and then the Melchizedek, or Higher priesthood. This is required because it is through the priesthood that all the ordinances are administered. (D&C 84: 19)
7. When we are sufficiently prepared we will enter the temple receive of the final ordinances of washing, anointing and endowment. (D&C 124: 39)
8. Lastly, when we have found one who we are willing to share eternity with we enter the temple again and are sealed to them for all eternity. (D&C 131: 1-4)

These are the required ordinances of the gospel, and we must enter into all of them in order to attain the highest goal of our Father’s plan of Happiness. However, as I pointed out, these must be done in order, and when we are sufficiently prepared. If the desires of our hearts are right, but we are unable, for whatever reason, to fulfill any of these ordinances, it will not be held against us.
For instance, I know of a woman who had faith in Christ and had repented of all her sins. She was preparing for baptism, but a week before the ordinance was to be performed she was killed in a car crash. But, since her heart was right before God she will be treated as if she had been baptized and had fulfilled all the later requirements. This is the true mercy of the Gospel and the atonement of Christ.

Besides the ordinances there are also commandments that must be obeyed. The reason for this is that disobedience breaks the covenants made in the ordinances, and thus nullifies their effects. When we are baptized we covenant to obey the commands of God, and we renew this covenant every time we partake of the sacrament. (D&C 20: 77, 79) When we receive the Holy Ghost we covenant to be guided by His promptings. Similar covenants are made with each ordinance, and thus obedience becomes vital.
I will not list every command ever given, as that would take far too long. I could list the Ten Commandments given to Moses, but that would be just a start. It is sufficient to say that if God commands something we need to do all that is in our power to fulfill that command, and trust in God that everything will turn out according to His plan. If we do this we will be secure and assured a glorious resurrection and a throne in heaven, having received the fullness of joy and happiness that God desires for all his children.

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