Please explain the phrase “Law of the Gospel.” Thanks.
For the simplest answer just look at the Fourth Article of Faith:
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.
Or as the resurrected Christ told the Nephites says:
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. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel. 3 Nephi 27:20-21. (emphasis added)
For a deeper answer, I believe I need to first clarify the words used. The word “law” does not refer to an individual law like “thou shalt not kill.” Instead it refers to a body of law like “law of the land” and “Law of Moses.”
How it refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the meat of the phrase. The word “Gospel” comes from the Old English meaning “good news” or less commonly the Latin “blessed announcement” or “good tidings”. The phrase is shorthand for Law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And what a blessing we receive from the law of the gospel! Prophets both ancient and modern have said much on the topic, so it is clear for us to understand.
The law of the gospel embraces all laws, principles, and ordinances necessary for our exaltation…culminating in a man being sealed up unto eternal life. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.337 (emphasis added)
It also encompasses our attitude and priorities even after making covenants and performing ordinances.
…if we understood…when we entered into its covenant…we must still be conscious of the fact that that law requires us to seek first the kingdom of God, and that our time, talent and ability must be held subservient to its interest. Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp.169-170
Any true covenant must require a change of behavior. We must place the Lord first in our lives. We must be obedient in all things.
If a man will enter into life, then he must abide in the law of the gospel, keeping all of the commandments to the end of his mortal life. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:34 (emphasis added)
To be truly obedient to the law of the gospel, more than our actions and behavior are affected. Every aspect of our being must have a mighty change. The covenants we make are not just an outward showing. It must go deeper than the surface and be written on our hearts. It is only then that we may have a credible claim to being able to live a Celestial Law.
In the final analysis, the gospel of God is written… in the lives of the Saints. It is not written with pen and ink on paper of man’s making, but with acts and deeds in the book of life of each believing and obedient person. It is engraved in the flesh and bones and sinews of those who live a celestial law, which is the law of the gospel. It is there to be read by others, first, by those who, seeing the good works of the Saints, shall respond by glorifying our Father in heaven, and finally by the Great Judge to whom every man’s life is an open book. Elder Bruce R. McConkie; Our Gospel Came Not Unto You in Word Only…; General Conference; Oct 1968