Ask, Seek, Knock

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Next Step

Jesus Christ taught, "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3: 5) The last posts were about baptism; which is, as just described by Christ, "being born of water." Then comes the question, "How may I be born of the Spirit?"
 After baptizing a few people, John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (Luke 3: 16; see also Matt 3: 11) There are a few important things to note in this phrase uttered by the mouth of the only true Baptist. The first one is that he recognizes that he doesn't have the higher authority (Melchizedek Priesthood) to baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost, but he does, however, have the lower authority (Aaronic Priesthood) to do baptisms. Thus, he also supports the words spoken by Christ, with which I introduced this post. Christ, after He was baptized, received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was given to Him by His Father. The account reads, "the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon [Jesus Christ], and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3: 22) So, to be born of the spirit, one must receive it from some who has the authority to give it. Nephi wrote, "do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter." Hence, everything we do in this life is because Christ had to do them also. Nephi wrote further, "the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 31: 17) This scripture, also, clarifies the question as to "why" we need both baptism by water AND the spirit. "Then comes a remission of sins by fire, and the Holy Ghost." In the post "Pluck Out Thine Eye and Cut Off Thine Hand," I noted that Christ said sins become a part of who we are. Just as cancer is a part of our body, sin is a part of our spirit. We cannot heal ourselves from this disease on our own, but we need outside help. So, for cancer, we use chemo-therapy to cause a remission of the tumor. Therefore, for sin, we use the Holy Ghost and fire to cause a remission of spiritually destructive behavior. Truly being washed from your sins includes receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. But, this gift is also another covenant we make with God. When giving this wonderful, and NECESSARY gift, the Melchizedek Priesthood holder must use the wording, "receive the Holy Ghost..." This wording is important. It doesn't say, "I give you the Holy Ghost." Rather it is a command to the person receiving the Holy Ghost. To live worthy to be influenced by its presence. It is a covenant to "stand in holy places." When this happens, the Lord promises him/her the influence, as long he/she has to keep his/her end of the contract. This does not mean that others, outside of the Church cannot feel the Holy Ghost. Everyone is influenced by Him. They just haven't made that covenant. Thus, I invite you to "receive the Holy Ghost," stand in holy places, and build your life upon the foundation which will never fail by putting your trust in God by continuing to "Ask, Seek and Knock." I promise you that you will feel the influence of God more, you will be more desirable to be around, and you will feel God's love.

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