CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 4.
King Benjamin finished his big speech in the last chapter, and the people respond by falling to the ground – an outward symbol of internal humility (verse 1).
“And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men” (verse 2).
They believed in Christ before He came.
And their belief requires a three-fold response:
1. Applying the atonement;
2. Receiving forgiveness; and
3. Purifying their hearts.
“And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ…” (verse 3).
Peace of conscience is part of the testimony of remission of sins.
With his people in peace, King Benjamin has more words for his people to remain in peace and progress even further (verse 4).
He begins with a comparison between the goodness of God and our nothingness (without Him) (verse 5).
“The goodness of God” is an accurate understanding of who God is ( his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering) as well as what He has done through the atonement (verse 6).
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things… believe that he has all wisdom, and all power…” (verse 9).
An accurate understanding of who God is and what He has done for us transforms us by causing us to respond to Him and the love He has for us:
“Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before GOd; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them” (verse 10).
But now that the people have done this, and now that they have confirmed their choice to be a covenant people, King Benjamin warns them to remember what they have learned about God, and to be humble by remembering that they are nothing without God (verse 11).
“If ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you” (verse 12).
If you do this, there will be evidence, “fruit” of proof that demonstrates this love of God.
“Ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably…” (verse 13).
Contention is not of God.
Love is of God.
“And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another…” (verse 14).
As covenant people, we provide both for the physical and spiritual needs of our children.
Our children learn what love is by how they feel love in the home.
Our children learn what peace is by how they feel peace in the home.
So it is important to teach them the love of God and the peace of God, so that these are what feel familiar, so that these are what they seek after when they are grown.
“Ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (verse 15).
But this love and service must be taught by example:
“Ye yourselves (not just the children you are teaching) will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need…” (verse 16).
You will nourish and give life to those around you. This isn’t just about food and money and material help in temporal ways, though that is very important and absolutely necessary. Temporal assistance to those around us is absolutely a vital part of the gospel.
But there is also the spiritual nourishment and life-giving and creating-ish kind of gift we should be giving. There should not be any contention, no drama, no tearing-down, no angry words, no raised voices that chase the Spirit away. Love and peace are what will nourish and teach by example, teach by helping them become familiar with the very Spirit of God.
And, specifically, we are to help because we are commanded to help – not because we think someone deserves it or not (verses 16-18).
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (verse 19).
So remember, King Benjamin says, that while you are begging for forgiveness – that which you do not deserve and only God can give – remember those who are “begging” for temporal help, regardless of whether or not they deserve it. We do not “deserve” the forgiveness He has given us (verse 20).
“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another” (verse 21).
We must live as the Savior lived, including nourishing those around us both temporally and spiritually.
“… for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God – I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally…” (verse 26).
But do this in “wisdom and order” (verse 27).
For example, members of the church contribute to feeding the hungry by giving generous fast offerings. The assist those after disasters by giving to humanitarian aid. They provide counseling for those with addictions, mental illness, and real life struggles by giving full tithes and generous offerings. They give spiritual help through donating to the missionary funds, the Book of Mormon funds, or the Temple funds. That’s why we fill out the little tithe/offering forms!
This is how we do the work of the Savior: we provide temporally through our tithes and offerings, and we provide spiritually through service and by being loving and kind peacemakers that invite the Spirit into our homes, families, wards, jobs, and interactions.
“… watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord…. remember, and perish not” (verse 30).