With the preamble, "Behold I have given unto you my gospel," Jesus gave a concise definition of His gospel to the Nephites, including the elements of His submission to the will of the Father, the Atonement, the Resurrection, judgment, repentance, baptism, faith in Him, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. (See 3 Nephi 27:13-22.)
Speaking at April 1973 general conference, Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, based his discourse on the gospel definition given in this Book of Mormon text.
"The gospel is often referred to as the good news, or glad tidings of salvation," he commented. "The plan of salvation, therefore, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Master explained to the Nephites that He had fulfilled His mission on earth by complying with the will of the Father, thereby becoming the Redeemer of all mankind. The further statement to 'repent . . . and be baptized in my name' defines the gateway to the narrow path leading to eternal life. This gives rise to the fundamental statement expressed in the Articles of Faith of the Church: 'We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
" '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.'
"These four are only the first of all the principles and ordinances of the gospel. Returning to the words of the Savior to the Nephites, we learn that after complying with these four, there must be a lifetime of compliance with the laws and commandments of the Lord, for He said, '. . . and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.' (3 Nephi 27:16.)
"The first principles alone are not sufficient; man is thereafter accountable in the eternal judgment for what he has done in life, whether good or evil. The Atonement was for this very purpose, to bring about the resurrection and subsequent judgment of all men. The Master made it very clear by saying: 'And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.' " (3 Nephi 27:15.)
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