Mosiah 4:1-3 How Do I Know I’ve Been Forgiven?
After sharing everything the angel had given King Benjamin to teach his people, he “cast his eyes round about on the multitude” to perceive their reaction (verse 1). The people were in a state of deep humility, feeling a great need for repentance, and with “exceeding faith” they pleaded for forgiveness through the atonement of Christ (verses 2-3). According to verse 3, the Lord immediately blessed them with the desire of their hearts, and four blessed results came into their lives:
- “The Spirit of the Lord came upon them”
- “They were filled with joy”
- They “received a remission of their sins”
- They gained a “peace of conscience”
When repentant members meet with their bishops for help in resolving sin, it is not uncommon for them to ask, “How do I know when I’ve been forgiven?” Certainly the bishop can extend forgiveness in behalf of the Church by reinstating such privileges as a calling, a temple recommend, and partaking of the sacrament, but members want to know how they can know if the Lord has forgiven them. Mosiah 4:3 seems to be the perfect scripture to answer this question. One may know by feeling in their lives the Spirit, joy, and peace of conscience. This is the miracle of the Atonement.
Mosiah 4:4-30 What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?
Following up on his people’s tremendous spiritual experience in receiving “a remission of their sins” (verse 4), King Benjamin teaches them how to continue coming unto Christ. We can consider his teachings to be an outline of the characteristics of those who have been “born again.” We learn that when we are spiritually reborn:
- We see the goodness of God and our own nothingness and worthless and fallen state (verses 5, 6, 11).
- We recognize the Atonement and the Lord’s power, wisdom, patience, and long-suffering toward us (verses 6, 9).
- We trust in God, diligently keep His commandments, and continue in the faith (verse 6).
- We recognize that we do not comprehend all that He does (verse 9).
- We continue to humble ourselves before God, call on Him daily, repent, ask for forgiveness, and stand steadfast in the faith (verses 10-11).
- We are filled with God’s love, we rejoice, and we grow in our knowledge of the truth (verses 11-12).
- We do not have a mind to injure others, but to live peaceably (verse 13).
- We fulfill our roles as parents; teaching our children obedience, love, and service (verses 14-15).
- We give to beggars and others in need, without judging them (verses 16-17, 22; see also D&C 104:18).
- We recognize that we ourselves are beggars before God, pleading for His blessings, His forgiveness, and His Spirit (verses 18-22).
- If we are too poor to give, we must say in our hearts that we would give if we could (verses 24-25).
- We retain a daily remission of sins by giving food and clothing and by visiting and administering to the relief of the sick and others, both spiritually and temporally (verse 26; see also Alma 34:28).
- We seek a proper balance in life, doing all things “in wisdom and order,” not running faster than we have strength; yet being diligent (verse 27; see also D&C 10:4).
- We are careful to watch our thoughts, words, and deeds; continuing in our faith in Christ to the end of our lives (verse 30).
As Latter-day Saints, we must always consider the condition of our hearts, minds, and souls—to confirm that we are continually on the path of born-again disciples of Jesus Christ. Mosiah 4 can help us in such self-evaluations.
Mosiah 5:1-14 To Become the Children of Christ
In response to an inquiry of King Benjamin, his people share their collective response that they believe his teachings and have the affirmation of the Spirit (verses 1-2). Spiritual rebirth changes our hearts to a condition wherein our “disposition” (desire, tendency, inclination, propensity, mind-set, interest, nature, attitude) is “to do good continually” (verse 2). This is a blessed state of being!
Additionally, born-again Saints are anxious to make and keep covenants with God (verses 5-6; see also Mosiah 6:1-2) and to receive the accompanying ordinances. Faithfully doing so leads to an even more elevated spiritual state: Becoming the “children of Christ” (verse 7). Of course, all who are ever born on this earth are spirit children of our Heavenly Parents, and we are also spirit brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ, who was the first-born Son of God in the spirit. So why did King Benjamin tell his people that they “shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters”? This is the doctrine of rebirth: Our old “natural man” (who is an enemy to God; see Mosiah 3:19) dies and we are reborn in a new, spiritual state of being. And the Parent who engendered our spiritual rebirth is Jesus Christ, through His atonement, love, mercy, and grace.
Also, because children carry the name of their father, Jesus’s disciples are called Christians, and they take upon themselves—by ordinance, covenant, and character—the name of Jesus Christ. This is what King Benjamin had promised in Mosiah 1:11, saying: “I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished.” To conclude his discourse, King Benjamin reiterates this doctrine, using the word name twelve times in Mosiah 5:7-14. Search these verses for his teachings regarding this blessed name and what it can mean to each of us.
Mosiah 5:15 The Lord Will Seal Us as “His”
Read and ponder verse 15 and consider what it means to be “steadfast and immovable” and to be “always abounding in good works.” Think also about what these behaviors and attributes lead to: “That Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven.”