Thursday, July 9, 2015

Becoming Born of Christ

As I was preparing for a lesson to teach my YW class, I came across a verse in Mosiah that made me say "hmm." It is during the speech that King Benjamin gives to his people before he dies. He had taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and throughout invited them to become better and take responsibility for their own actions. This is the verse:
"And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters." (Mosiah 5:7)
 It came after this verse, of the people explaining the covenant they desired to make:
"And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God." (Mosiah 5:5)
The phrase that stuck out to me was "ye are born of him [Christ]"—and the phrase "he [Christ] hath spiritually begotten you." This probably stuck out to me because I have been interested in pregnancy and birth lately. Let's see what we may be able to learn by delving into this metaphor. How does Christ spiritually beget us? How does this process come about? How can we help it? What does that mean about our relationship to Him?

King Benjamin tells us how he knows that the people were born of Christ. He says "for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him." So the evidence of being born of Christ is having our hearts changed through faith on His name. 

How does this change come about? The people's change in their hearts began when they listened to the prophet's voice, believed his words, and then received a more sure testimony that what he taught was true (Mosiah 5:2,4).  
Mosiah 5:4
"And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy."
That sounds really cool! How can I exercise faith in the words of prophets, so I can come to a great knowledge, cease to desire to do evil, and then be able to rejoice with great joy?

A look at King Benjamin's people's progression to this point uncovers that they had a very active role in becoming born of Christ.
  1. First, they listened to the words of their prophet.
  2. Then the fear of the Lord came upon them. (Mosiah 4:1)
  3. They "viewed themselves in their own carnal state" and called with one voice (suggesting unity with each other?) to the Lord for mercy and to apply the atoning blood of Christ so they could receive forgiveness of their sins, and so their hearts would be purified. (Mosiah 4:2)
  4. They express belief—faith—in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. (Mosiah 4:2)
And as a result of those sincere desires, faith, and action, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, bringing them 1) joy, 2) a knowledge of a remission of their sins, and 3) peace of conscience. (Mosiah 4:3)

Basically they repented of their sins, received a witness of the Spirit, and (from earlier in the post) had their very hearts and desires change for the better. And then they desired to covenant with the Lord, and became born of Christ.

I think it's cool how clear these steps are, for how amazing the consequences are. Who doesn't want joy, to know they've been forgiven of their sins, and peace in their hearts?

Looking at these chapters has made me want to learn more about being born of Christ. How else is repenting and making covenants like being born? How else does it affect us? How is it related to the ordinance of baptism? What does it mean for our relationship with Christ and the Father? How does the progression go from there—are there more parallels with a new and developing baby? I have a feeling all of the answers will be simple ones I already know about the gospel, but looking at things I already know from a new perspective can be pretty cool, so I'm going to try it!

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