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. 

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