CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 5.
Now that King Benjamin finished his big speech, so far, he wants them to respond. He sets the pattern for them, literally, by asking them to respond (verse 1). This demonstrates what his speech was all about, that faith requires action. Our choices, behaviors, and interactions all demonstrate our faith. So if we believe, we must respond – act – in some way.
“And they all cried with one voice, saying: “Yea, we believe all the words… and know of their surety and truth…” (verse 2).
But how do they know? Testimony!
King Benjamin (as later taught in the School of Prophets) defined faith as including a knowledge that God exists, an accurate knowledge of who He is, and knowing our lives are in line with His will. When we have this kind of faith, we have testimony. If any of those three are off, out of sorts, or struggling, then our testimony also struggles.
We may, sometimes, be hard on ourselves because the better we know our Savior the more we become aware of how very out-of-line we are. But this awareness is part of repentance, and repentance is part of progress. Making progress at becoming more-in-line *is* part of being in line (in Order) with His will.
So the people exclaim this as part of their testimony, saying that faith “has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (verse 2).
That’s sanctification, which comes through action – either repentance, obedience, or service in some form.
Sanctification comes by the power of the Spirit, but we are to “sanctify ourselves” by doing the hard work of action.
“… through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, (we) have great views of that which is to come…” (verse 3).
This is revelation!
“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” (verse 4).
When we listen to the words of the Prophets, when we read our Scriptures, when we say our prayers, when we the “plain and simple” things the prophets have taught us, then it will be as the Savior said: we will have joy and peace. It is the plan of happiness! But we must do the work to receive the words (through prophets, scriptures, and prayer), because these are the venues through which revelation comes.
It’s like trying to make a call without a phone. You need the phone to make the call. It doesn’t matter if it is a house landline or a cell phone or Skype or G+, but you need something to make the connection.
It is doing the work to keep these connections consistently open that makes us a covenant people.
“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” (verse 5).
This was the right answer to King Benjamin’s question, because it not only demonstrated faith (with action) but also an understanding that faith is a present-progressive kind of deal. It is an ongoing, active process, not just a one time checklist. So King Benjamin was glad for his people, and told them they were righteous for desiring this covenant (verse 6).
“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 daughters” (verse 7).
This is powerful. It’s a lot of words and a very long sentence. But it’s powerful.
It is about becoming a covenant people, about becoming the House of Abraham through covenant, and so also the House of the Lord. It’s about the Temple.
As they become His people, of the House of the Lord, then the Savior is the Head of that House (verse 8). Because becoming a covenant people means becoming of the House of the Lord, then they must be holy (set apart) because they are called by the name of Christ (verse 9), which is the Son of the Man of Holiness (Seriously! Did you click on the 1 Nephi 15 blog yet?! Mega-cross-reference between 1 Nephi 15 and Moses 6!).
Like any “adoption” (Romans 8:15), part of becoming a covenant people is getting a new name (Revelation 2:17, 3:12). It has always been, since the time of Abraham (see Genesis 17). We should “remember to retain the name written always in your hearts” as a reminder of this covenant, as well as for the purpose of being called in the resurrection (verse 12).
But then we must prove ourselves to be of the covenant. Being born into it is not enough, and even being adopted into it is not enough. We must actively participate in this new family we have chosen. It’s the participating that makes us family. It’s the participating that builds intimacy.
“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger (outside the covenant, in Old Testament terms) unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (verse 13).
If we want it to be real, we must make the covenant first in our thoughts and intents.
If we do not, then “ye know not the name by which ye are called” (verse 14). This is more than just the literal or symbolic forgetting of the new name. This is the forgetting that you are adopted into the House of the Lord, adopted into the Family of Holiness.
We must remember to which House we belong, to which Family we belong.
“Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable (faith), always abounding in good works (action as token or evidence of faith), that Christ, the Lord God Omnimpotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all” (verse 15).