4 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.
This article of faith gives us a progression of steps that help us to become more like our Savior. There are two principles mentioned, and two ordinances mentioned.
The first principle is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have faith in Him, and His atonement for us, we will then be able to progress to the second principle which is repentance. If we repent of our sins, we will then be worthy to participate in the two ordinances mentioned.
The first ordinance is baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Jesus was also baptized by immersion to "fulfill all righteousness". Being baptized is symbolic of a spiritual washing. It is also symbolic of a new birth. When we are baptized we covenant with our Heavenly Father to keep His commandments and always remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
The last ordinance mentioned in this article of faith is the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. This ordinance is performed after baptism. When we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and are confirmed a member of the church, we then can qualify to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion to lead, guide and comfort us.