I am a brand new subscriber and would love to get your opinion on a couple of issues. How do we develop the kind of faith that causes miracles to come to pass in our lives? How do we change our faith from a belief in the truth to the kind of faith that opens the powers of heaven?
First, faith is developed by practicing faith. So I guess we need a definition of faith in order to communicate the concept. Actually, there are both general and specific definitions of faith. Here are a few—
Faith is the motivating power to action.
If you want to increase that faith, do something! No one tries anything without some degree of confidence that something positive will happen. That degree of confidence is the faith that promotes the action. Faith is demonstrated when we complete the action. So here’s another definition of faith.
Faith is sticking at it till the job’s done.
If one quits before success is achieved, he lacked the necessary faith to see it through. So you might say that faith is the forerunner of reality. That leads to another definition—
As memory is the mental record of the past, so is faith the mental record of the future….Action in the present converts the faith in the future into the memory of the past.
That concept is consistent the one of the definitions in the Book of Mormon—
And now as I said concerning faith–faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true (Alma 32:21).
So, according to Alma if you have confidence in something that is not true, that is not faith, and of course, since it isn’t true it will not happen. And that leads us to Paul’s famous definition—
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)
We can’t see the things because they haven’t happened yet. But the evidence that they WILL happen is the existence of faith, because it is faith that brings them about. That brings us to yet another definition of faith—
To have faith is to act as if we had knowledge.
Now we’re getting somewhere! The pinnacle of faith is that reposed in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has told us–and his associates saw it–that he would live again after being put to death–the resurrection of his body. So powerful was that marvelous act that its benefits accrue to all living beings–plants, animals, insects, and at the pinnacle, man himself! If we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we will act as though we knew the concept for a fact. Again, we have learned that in his infinite suffering, that began in the Garden and terminated on the cross, Jesus took upon himself the responsibility for having committed all the sins of all the people on all the worlds over all the ages of time!! Thus, he submitted himself to an infinite punishment, sufficient to pay the full price to an eternal justice for ALL SIN COMMITTED. Then, he has told us, if we repent of our sins, i.e. if we change our character so that we wouldn’t be caught dead doing similar things again, and then are baptized by one in authority for the remission of those sins, and then live faithfully by the covenants of obedience to the gospel of which our baptism is a sign, our Father in Heaven, through the merits of the great atoning sacrifice of our Savior, will forgive us of the sins that we have committed, and we will no longer be accountable for them.
To practice faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is to practice living according to all the commandments for righteous living that he has given to us, with the full and confident expectation that our sins have already been forgiven, and we are clean and pure before the Lord. You may find that concept elucidated in D&C 58:42-43—
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
That scripture does not say will be forgiven, but IS forgiven.