Thursday, July 25, 2013

Faith is a Verb

Jesus Christ - Media Library

There are two parts to having faith in Jesus Christ - the first being to have "a firm belief that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.  It means believing that He suffered for your sins and afflictions (Faith in Jesus Christ)."  When I hear most people talk about having faith this is the part they focus on.  However, there is a second part to it that is just as important:  to act on that belief.

Go, and Do

After giving the parable of the good Samaritan the Lord asked who was a true neighbor to the injured man.  The response he received was "He that showed mercy on him."  To this the Savior said, "Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:37.)  Likewise we learn from James:

"Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:  shew me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works... Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" (James 2:17-18,22.)

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us many things during his mortal ministry:  Prayer, the sacrament, the Beatitudes, etc.  We also learn many things from him through the many revelations and teachings of prophets throughout the Old Testament and Book of Mormon, but we must not only know these things in our minds, but must know them in our hearts - we must act on them.  It is good to know how to pray, but it will do no good if we do not pray.  Understanding the sacrament, or Lord's Supper, is wonderful, but we must partake of it also.

Faith Taught By a Living Apostle

Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaches:

"True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to righteous action.  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that 'faith [is] the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness; and that it is also 'the principle of action in all intelligent beings' (Lectures on Faith).  Action alone is not faith in the Savior, but acting in accordance with correct principles is a central component of faith." (Ask in Faith, April 2008 General Conference.)

Christ - The Perfect Example of Faith in Action

The Lord taught us again and again throughout his life that we must serve others.  James, of the New Testament and someone who was close to Christ, wrote that "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27.)

Never did Jesus turn away someone that came to him for help.  He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cured leprosy and many other ailments.  He not only taught us how to serve, but he showed us how to do it.  He forgave those that did wrong against him or others, and then showed them how to be a righteous person.

And, in the final moments of his mortal life, he showed faith in his Father's Plan of Salvation by giving his life for us.  He not only taught the atonement, but he lived the atonement, for all of us.

It is important to know the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to have faith in the Lord, but to show our faith we must act on it.  For "we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23, emphasis added.)

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