After King Benjamin finishes speaking, he looks around and sees that his people “had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.” (1)
I love the humble state his people are in at this point. It is something to strive for—this humility that cleanses by connecting us to the empowering, enabling Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.” (2)
They see themselves with heavenly eyes, and realize they are less than the dust of the earth, in the sense that they cannot return to God on their own power or merits. They are helpless to reach heaven. So are we…without Christ.
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 our hearts may be purified;”Mosiah 4:2
The people were united in humility. One voice. One desire. Wouldn’t it be awesome if, as a people each Sunday at church, we were united as one in supplicating for the atoning blood of Christ in our lives? No other distractions in our minds.
They pleaded for mercy, which shows they had knowledge of the justice and goodness of God. They knew if they asked, He would be merciful to them. This knowledge and trust comes by having a relationship with God…learning to trust Him, believe in Him.
They asked for two things: 1) forgiveness of their sins, and 2) hearts to be purified.
Each Sunday, during the sacred ordinance of the sacrament, we can unite to ask for the same.
- Do I take advantage of this moment?
- Do I plead with trust that God will forgive me of my sins?
- Do I believe God can make my heart pure?
Forgiveness is the first step. Then we need to be strengthened—our hearts purified—so we transform into new creatures (the desire to sin burned out of us).
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.”Mosiah 4:2
Faith in Jesus Christ empowers us to believe and call down the saving and transforming power of the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.
The people bow down and call upon God for mercy, and “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 who should come…” (3)
Joy results from sincere repentance, which brings peace of conscience we can gain no other way. Sincere repentance comes through exceeding faith in Jesus Christ.
Benjamin goes on to speak, since they are in the perfect frame of mind (due to their repentant hearts). They are joyful and clean from the redeeming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that has sanctified the whole audience, opening ears and hearts and eyes to truly hear and understand and do.
To receive salvation, Benjamin tells them they must do these things:
- Have “a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” (6) A basic belief in the Godhead and Their eternal character (Article of Faith 1)
- Be “awakened…to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state—” (5) We acknowledge the Fall of Adam and its consequences, realizing we don’t have the power to get back into God’s presence on our own merits or labors.
- Believe in “the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world…” (6)
- Put their “trust in the Lord” (6)
- “Be diligent in keeping his commandments…” (6)
- “Continue in the faith even unto the end” of their lives (6)
When we do these things, we “receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.” (7)
He reiterates that there is no other way to gain salvation, or any other conditions that must be met than the ones listed above. Then he pleads with them:
Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”Mosiah 4:9
He knows that by expanding their knowledge and testimony of the Godhead, they will understand their own eternal identity and purpose. Same for us.
And again, 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;”Mosiah 4:10
Repentance is a glorious gift.
Whenever the prophets urge us to repent, they do so because they want us to be happy. Forsaking sins goes hand in hand with sincere repentance. We don’t want to repeat mistakes and failings. We repent and do all in our power to tap into the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ to overcome our weaknesses and all else that brings us up short of the glory of God.
…and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.”Mosiah 4:10
So true. If we believe these things—the first principles of the gospel—then do them. Repent. Ask for God’s forgiveness. Come unto Christ to become better than we can be on our own.
After we have “tasted of his love (like Lehi and his family tasted of the fruit of the tree of life), and have received a remission of your sins,” (11) do the following:
- Remember these sacred spiritual experiences
- Retain in our memory the ‘greatness of God’
- Remember that we are nothing compared to God
- Remember how good and long-suffering God is to us
- Humble ourselves before Him
- Call on His name daily
- Stand steadfast in the faith
And behold, I say unto you that 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, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.”Mosiah 4:12
As our testimonies grow through the fruits of repentance, we “will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.” (13) We won’t judge or belittle; we won’t compare. We will be kind, generous, uplifting, inspiring and helpful.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry (I would say both physically and spiritually), or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.”Mosiah 4:14
Fighting and quarreling seem like normal family behavior, but Benjamin makes it quite clear that those things serve the devil. Instead of letting our children bring contention in our home we “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.” (15)
This is how we bring humility into our homes, with its intended blessings that brings us closer to Christ. Our homes should be a piece of heaven. Benjamin gives us several ways to start making it that.