The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news. What good news?—The words of the angelic minister to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born sum it up best:
“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
~ Luke 2:11-12
In other words, the good news is that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to live and to die for us so that we might have salvation. God has a plan for each of us and Jesus is central to that plan. This is the gospel.
Furthermore, the gospel contains the teachings of Jesus Christ. These teachings contain principles and practices that we should follow.
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
The Principles of the Gospel
- Faith: We must have faith in Jesus Christ, faith that He is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world. True faith leads to action and urges us to be obedient to God’s commandments.
- Repentance: The Bible teaches that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thus all of us must repent, or change our thoughts, beliefs and actions that aren’t in harmony with God. Our faith in Christ and our love for Him motivate us to repent and change.
- Baptism: When Jesus came to John the Baptist he said, “for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:13-17). Baptism is a commandment; it is an ordinance, or a sacred religious experience, which is an outward expression of our commitment to follow God and Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that baptism must be by immersion and must be performed by the proper priesthood authority.
- Gift of the Holy Ghost: When Paul came to Ephesus he visited with some converts who had previously been baptized. He asked them “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” When the converts answered no, Paul baptized them and “laid his hands upon them” and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-6).
After proper baptism, a person has the right to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to have the guidance and comfort of God’s Spirit at all times.
When Christ ministered on earth he taught his gospel. Mormons believe that some of the fundamental truths of Christ’s gospel were lost or distorted after the death the the Apostles, and continued to be changed by man for centuries. Mormons believe the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored (not reformed), beginning with the calling of a modern prophet in 1820. Some of these restored truths include:
- New scripture to accompany the Bible, including the Book of Mormon
- Clarity about the nature of God
- Understanding about God’s plan of salvation for his children
- The eternal nature of families
- The role of prophets in God’s work for his children
- Other important commandments and doctrines
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The first principles of the gospel, such as baptism, are only the beginning. Mormons believe in a principle called “enduring to the end” meaning enduring in righteousness to the end of our lives. Now, we know that no one can be saved without the grace of Christ, but we must also live a good life to receive the blessing of salvation. We must continually exercise faith in Christ, repent of our sins, and serve God’s children. The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s plan for us to receive that salvation.
For more information, you can visit mormon.org to read more about Christ’s gospel and other restored truths.