Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baptism: The Gateway to happiness

Have you ever wondered how it is that we can find true and lasting Happiness in this life? It's been the question that has eluded some of mankind's greatest thinkers for millenia, but Jesus Christ in his gospel tells us how true happiness can be experienced. He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).

Through his Sacrifice, Jesus offers relief from guilt, pain, and all the unfairness we experience in life, and in the scriptures he tells us about how to access the fullness of his sacrifice for us. To experience the freedom that comes from a remission of sins, He says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Baptism is the key to unlocking happiness in this life.

So what is Baptism? Good question! Baptism is a covenant or promise with God. We promise to keep his commandments, and he promises to give us a new start, but this time with His Spirit more fully with us. Everything in our past is washed clean by Christ's sacrifice, and we get a clean slate.

How then should we be baptized? Well, in the scriptures it tells us the way Christ was Baptized: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water (Matthew 3:16).

We follow Christ's example by being baptized by immersion; the same way Christ was baptized. Paul informs us that the reason for immersion is to symbolize Christ's death, burial, and resurrection: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). It symbolizes our new life in Christ; our spiritual re-birth.

Another key component of Christ's baptism was who did the baptizing. He was baptized of John the Baptist because he had the authority to baptize; this is important to make covenants valid. That authority to baptize is on the earth today, and has been restored through Joseph Smith.

Why Should I be Baptized? Baptism is the gate whereby we enter into God's fold, and become his disciples: "Wherefore, do the things which...your Lord and your Redeemer should do; that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For 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. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son" (2 Nephi 31:17-18).

What joy comes through baptism! We can be cleansed from sin, and enter the path to eternal life. If you're searching for happiness the Savior says, "Come follow Me." His is the path to happiness. Follow his example, be baptized, and you too can feel the joys of eternal life.

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