Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Name of Christ

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines covenant in multiple ways. The third definition is interesting to me.
3. In theology, the covenant of works, is that implied in the commands, prohibitions, and promises of God; the promise of God to man, that mans perfect obedience should entitle him to happiness. This do, and live; that do, and die.
The covenant of redemption, is the mutual agreement between the Father and Son, respecting the redemption of sinners by Christ.
The covenant of grace, is that by which God engages to bestow salvation on man, upon the condition that man shall believe in Christ and yield obedience to the terms of the gospel.
After Benjamin finished discussing his final sermon to his people, he asked them if they believed his words, to which they replied that yes, they did.  They express that they were willing to enter a covenant with God to

  1. do his will and 
  2. to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he would command, the remainder of their days.  

Benjamin was glad that they expressed this willingness, and declares to them that
"this day he has spiritually begotten you for you say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name therefore you are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters and under this head you are made free and there is no other head whereby you can be made free".
He invites them then, to take upon themselves the name of Christ – those who have entered covenant with God, and declares them to be found at the right hand of God.  Why?  Because they will be called by the name of Christ.

I sat with this awhile, wondering by what name I am called.  My name is Jen.  My formal name is Jennifer.  My old friends and my family sometimes call me Jenny.  Some of my best friends call me JenHead and my husband calls me Sweetheart.  My kids call me Mommy, while those who don't know me at all beyond my last name call me Ms. Kindrick.

What would it sound like to be called by the name of Christ?  Do I retain any of these names?  Or do I add Christ to them?  Jennifer Christ?  Or just Christ? 

Do I call myself a Christian?  Because in 2017, that denotes a different idea than what I suspect Benjamin was expressing.  Or maybe it does?  Do I call myself after the name of Mormon, believing in the Book of Mormon?  This makes me scratch my head.  We were never told to call ourselves Mormon, or after his name.  But it does help people know that we believe (or purport to) the Book of Mormon – which end up pointing us to Christ anyways.

The stipulations for being called this name are agreeing to do his will and to be obedient.  Are Christians willing to do this, when they pronounce that they have been "saved" on "July 11, 2013", or whatever date they "accept Jesus into their heart"?  Is this not very similar to what Benjamin is asking here?  Typically when they are saved there is an understanding that their life is changed, and from my limited experience it is not something they take lightly.

Benjamin says that this name will never be blotted out, except through transgression.  It is possible for the name to be blotted out of our hearts.  We are to be capable of hearing the voice by which we are called.  The forthrightness of God is explained by Benjamin like this:
"Does a man take an ass which belongs to his neighbor and keep him I say unto you nay he will not even suffer that he will feed among his flocks but will drive him away and cast him out I say unto you that even so will it be among you if you know not the name by which you are called."  
In all the times I've read the Book of Mormon, I don't think my eyes ever really saw this line above.  God will not claim us as His, if we are not truly begotten by Him, becoming His by taking on His name.

He further explains that he desires that once we are called by this name, we "always abound in good works that Christ the Lord God Omnipotent may seal you his."  Seal you his what?  Seal you as his, might be a more clear way to explain it.  We are as though we now have that intimate relationship with him.  In essence, we are moved from being called Ms. Kindrick to Jenny or JenHead.  It is so simple yet so profound.  This is the process by which we are sealed by Christ to himself.  It begins simply, with our willingness to be taken into his family. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

IF/THEN of Mosiah 2, King Benjamin's sermon

King Benjamin's people had a deep response to his relaying of the message from the angel of the Lord.  This post is a general summary of this chapter, in list form.  As described in Mosiah 2 (Simple Edition), the people hearing his message:
  • Fell to the earth (Quite dramatic, in my opinion.  How often do I fall to the earth willingly, at a message or sermon?)
  • Fear of the Lord came upon them
  • They viewed themselves in their own, personal, carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth
  • They cried aloud in one voice, begging for 1) mercy, 2) atoning blood of Christ, that they might 3) receive forgiveness of sins and 4) that hearts may be purified
  • They expressed belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God who created heaven and earth and all things who will come down among the children of men
After they had done this, what happened: 
  • The spirit of the Lord came upon them
  • They were filled with joy
  • having received a remission of their sins
  • having peace of conscience because of their exceeding faith in Jesus - who HAD NOT YET COME - but they believed Benjamin's account
After all this, Benjamin their king begins to speak to them again, in this very interesting sermon.  He's not yet done.  He gives many important if/then statements, worth pondering.

  • IF the knowledge of the goodness of God has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, worthlessness, and fallen state
  • IF you have come to the knowledge of the goodness of God and his matchless power, wisdom, patience and long suffering towards you, and the knowledge of the atonement prepared from the foundation of the world
  • IF you know that salvation might come to you that will put your trust in the Lord
  • IF you will be diligent in keeping his commandments
  • IF you will continue in the faith, even unto the end of your life (mortal body)
  • THEN you receive SALVATION through the atonement prepared from the foundation of the world, which is available for ALL mankind - who ever were since the fall of Adam, who are or who will be until the end of the world.  
These are the keys of salvation.  Keys of knowledge which open doors of information.  Benjamin just told you.  He underscores even more: 
  • There is NONE other salvation except this one
  • There are NO other conditions whereby man can be saved
  • BELIEVE in God, that he is, that he (this "Jesus Christ", as explained above) created all things in heaven AND earth
  • Believe that he has all WISDOM in heaven and earth
  • Believe that he has all POWER in heaven and earth
  • Believe that man does not COMPREHEND all the things which the Lord can comprehend
  • Believe that you must repent of your sins, forsake them, and humble yourself before God
  • Believe that you must ask in sincerity of heart that he will forgive you
Can you do this?  Is this possible?  Is this believe attainable?  

  • You believe these things? 
  • Do them
  • IF you come to the knowledge of the glory of God
  • IF you have known of his goodness
  • IF you have tasted of his love
  • IF you have received a remission of your sins which causes exceedingly great joy
(Have you?  These people did.)

  • Remember the greatness of God
  • Remember your own nothingness
  • Remember his goodness and long suffering towards you unworthy creatures (lol! Don't mince words Ben!)
  • Remember to humble yourselves even in the DEPTHS of humility
  • Remember to call on the Lord daily
  • Remember to stand steadfast in the faith of what is to come (or what came, meaning Jesus)
  • You do this
  • You will ALWAYS rejoice!
  • You will be FILLED with the LOVE of God
  • You will ALWAYS  retain a remission of your sins (because it can be lost)
  • You will grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you
  • You will grow in the knowledge of that which is just and true
  • You will not have a mind to injure one another
  • You will have a mind to live peaceably
  • You will have a mind to render to every man according to that which is his due
  • You will not suffer your children that they go hungry or naked
  • You will not suffer that your children transgress the laws of God, fighting and quarreling one with another
  • You will not serve the devil, the master of sin, the evil spirit enemy of all righteousness
  • You will teach your children to walk in the ways of truth and soberness
  • You will teach your children to love one another
  • You will teach your children to serve one another
  • You yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor
  • You will administer of your substance to those in need
  • You will not suffer the beggar to put their petition to you in vain
[What stuck out to me dramatically, was an understanding that the blessing of being capable of teaching my children to have love for each other was part of the "then" section.  It is a byproduct of the remembering listed above.  I try so exceedingly hard to teach my children these things, but it ought not be difficult.  If I take care of the remembering above, I am virtually promised, per this message, that the mind to live peaceably among my family will be a consequence.  This would not have dawned on me had I not printed out this section, and begun circling "if" and "then", and underlining what appeared to be connected.]  

  • You impart of your substance to the poor, diligently
  • You win the prize
[Again, imparting of my substance to the poor is a byproduct of the remembering section above.  It ought not be difficult.]   

  • You do not watch yourself
  • You do not watch your thoughts
  • You do not watch your words
  • You do not watch your deeds
  • You do not observe the commandments (which Benjamin admits there are so many ways to sin, he cannot number them)
  • You do not continue in the faith of what you have heard
  • You must perish

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Observances of Mosiah 1

Study observances from Mosiah 1 (Simple version)

  • King Benjamin's father's name is Mosiah
  • King Benjamin uses the words "suffer" and "list" quite a bit more than the average speaker.  (Original BoM uses "suffereth" and "listeth").  
  • 1828 Webster's Dictionary defines "list" in this manner, as the 6th definition of the transitive form of the verb -  "To hearken; to attend; a contraction of listen, which see". 
  • King Benjamin "could not teach them all within the walls of the temple".  This infers that variant teaching was typically done inside the temple, rather than strictly routine teaching or strictly ritual. 
  • His teachings, appropriate for the temple, were done outside the temple, open invitation.  Attendance was encouraged. 
There are obviously quite a bit more deeper messages in this chapter.  At the end, he relays a very important prophesy delivered by an angel of the Lord, which causes the people to literally fall upon the earth in the next chapter.  What would it look like, for the fear of the Lord to fall upon the reader of chapter 1, like the listeners did live in the flesh?