I just created a photo album on facebook with all of the pictures of the people I have helped baptize while on my mission. **Brief Explanatory Note: As a missionary, my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. Helping people prepare for baptism, the first covenant or two-way-promise we make with Heavenly Father, is central to what I do as a representative of Jesus Christ. We missionaries invite people to be baptized because it is what Jesus wants all of us to do (we'll talk about this in a minute). ** As I reviewed the photos (quite thankful for the miracle of digital cameras!), what struck me about each photo was the look of peace and happiness on the person's face. I know that each of the wonderful people I helped prepare for baptism knew by the power of the Holy Ghost that what they were doing was right. Baptism is such a beautiful, wonderful, life-changing thing; I am grateful that it is central to what I am called to do.
Jesus said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Period. Jesus Himself, sinless though He was, perfect in every aspect of obedience though He was, was baptized by John the Baptist "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15, see also 2 Nephi 31:4-7), or to accomplish every single commandment God had given Him. It is pretty clear from the scriptures that baptism is important. The Book of Mormon gives us further insight on our need to be baptized: "[Jesus' baptism] showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, [Jesus] having set the example before them. And he said unto the children of men, Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we [are] willing to keep the commandments of the Father...[who] said: Repent ... and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son" (2 Nephi 31:9-11, empahsis added). It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal. If we intend to follow Jesus Christ, Nephi says, we must follow the commandments of the Father, i.e. be baptized! I think I've made my point.
There are so many blessings that come from baptism. We are promised a newness of life (Romans 6:3-5); we are promised to have the Holy Ghost's companionship (2 Nephi 31:13); eternal life and resurrection (Mosiah 18:9); we are received into Christ's church; the list could go on and on. All my friends I mentioned above who got baptized are experiencing and enjoying those gifts right now. I know that anyone who wants to can enjoy those blessings as well. It takes a little doing, but I can testify that if you will prepare to be baptized by someone who holds the authority to do so (I will explain that further another time), you will enjoy all the blessings mentioned in the scriptures. You will feel the love of God more abundantly in your life and you will be happier.
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