This is the fourth part in a series on submission by the author.
We have discussed the first three principles of the Gospel--Faith, Repentance, Baptism (covenant and promise repeated through the taking of the sacrament) and some of the many ways that these principles can lead us to the kind of submission that King Benjamin spoke of in Mosiah 3:19: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Emphasis added)
As we come to this final principle--Receiving the Holy Ghost--we can see that we have climbed stair steps, 1.) Embracing faith and thereby beginning to know our Savior and the miracles he can perform in our lives; 2.) Being led through faith to repentance of our worldliness with a desire to sacrifice all our sins and fears on the altar of submission; 3.) Signifying that submission by undergoing baptism—a figurative death and resurrection, a new life. This life can be made new again every week, as we repent and then partake of the Sacrament, covenanting with the Lord to keep his commandments and take upon ourselves His name to have his spirit to be with us.
How does receiving the Holy Ghost contribute to our complete submission to our Savior? As King Benjamin tells us, in the above-quoted verse, yielding to its enticings is the only way we can truly put off the natural man and become a Saint through the atonement of Christ. The atonement is our Easter gift. It is at the very root of all our hope for eternal life. We cannot change without it. We cannot progress spiritually without it. We cannot be saved or exalted without it.
We cannot submit our earthly selves to Christ without the intervention of the Holy Ghost through the atonement. By ourselves, we are not enough. We need the help of our Elder Brother. Picture him extending His hand to you, pulling you out of the deep, as He did Peter. If we have followed the first three principles, He is ready and willing, indeed hoping, to extend us this helping hand. It is always there for us when we have the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In his address, “Come Unto Christ” given at Brigham Young University on 29 October 1989, President Henry B. Eyring made this statement: “You can invite the Holy Ghost’s companionship in your life. And you can know when he is there, and when he withdraws. And when his is your companion, you can have confidence that the Atonement is working in your life.”
This statement, when properly understood, can change your life. Recently, I was very upset and exercised about a major problem in my life. I saw no solution to it. I thought I had tried everything. Satan was having a heyday with me, leading me down a path to even greater unhappiness. Then, finally, I remembered to “invite the Holy Ghost’s companionship” into my life. I submitted my problem to the Lord and laid it on His shoulders. I repented of my poor attitude and lack of faith. Then I asked the Lord to fill me with the comforting power of the Holy Ghost to demonstrate His love unto me, and to guide me in the way I should go. Through this experience, I learned that the answer to my problem was this very thing: relying on the Holy Ghost to fill me with love and charity. My problem began to dissolve. I was filled with hope. I was filled with love. Whenever I became tempted to anger or despair, I reached up to my Heavenly Father and drew power to change through this amazing gift of the Holy Ghost. I can testify that President Eyring’s words are true. The atonement is working in my life this very day.
This process is known as sanctification. In Alma 13:11-12 we read: “Now, they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.”
This sanctification through the Holy Ghost is a gift. It is the ultimate, most valuable, indeed priceless gift that we can receive. Elder D. Todd Christoffherson refers to this as the “gift of grace.” Quoting 3Nephi 27:19-20-- “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day”—he further says, “It will seem a natural thing for those who have been sanctified to enter into the rest or Kingdom of God, for they will have become like Him. As the Lord said to Adam after he had been baptized by water and by the Spirit, “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:68). (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, June 2001, p. 18)
Could there be a greater gift than this member of the Godhead that allows us to access the atonement of Jesus Christ and become one with our Savior and Heavenly Father? I think not. I am also aware, after my own experiences in this life, that it is up to us to learn to use the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is given to us upon baptism, but, like any gift, we must open it. To do so, we must pray for it specifically in order for it to sanctify us. We must submit in this way, that we may seek the Holy Ghost to overcome bitterness, sin, trials, and earthly demons.
As with Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, submission leads to greater gifts. Laying our all on the altar enables us to receive grace, and through grace we receive all that our Father has to give.
G.G. Vandagriff is the award-winning author of twelve books, including The Only Way to Paradise, a novel dramatizing the discovery of Agape (Christlike love) among the people of Italy. You can visit her on her website , read her blog , and browse among her books . Watch for her new book: The Duke’s Undoing this Spring.