After King Benjamin’s people made the covenant of obedience, and after they had experienced the “mighty change” so that they no longer desired evil, King Benjamin proclaimed “ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold this day he hath spiritually begotten you . . .therefore ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.” (Mosiah 5:7)
The term “begotten” refers to fathering a child, which is the first and earliest event of life. It is to begin a life. King Benjamin’s statement implies that becoming Christ’s Sons and Daughters is the first great step as spiritual offspring of God. The whole metaphor of being “Born Again” is that of spiritual birth and infancy, not of spiritual maturity.
We were born of natural man and natural woman into a natural body, of our mother’s blood, the water of birth and our own immortal spirit, and thus became a natural man, an infant beginning the journey of a mortal lifetime. King Benjamin taught that we “put off the natural man” which is the worldly influence and spiritual captivity inherent in the mortal body by yielding to “the enticings of the Holy Spirit”. (Mosiah 3:19) We become the infant offspring of Christ by the precious blood which He shed on the cross, by the water of baptism in promise of His atoning gifts, and by the spirit of Christ which He became by descending below all things. (D&C 88:3)
This is why we are His spiritual offspring, because He alone wrought out our salvation. Our mortal parents didn’t do it. We are incapable of doing it. Christ alone is our spiritual father. The reason he cried out “Father! Why hast thou forsaken me?” as he hung on the cross, was because he alone wrought out the atonement by the shedding of His own blood. Even the Father withdrew so that His sacrifice might be “perfect”.
“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.” (Moses 6:59-60)
After we are reborn in Christ we become a “new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) We are “changed from [our] carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters. And thus [we] become new creatures.” (Mosiah 27:26-26) We become “newborn babes” in Christ, (1 Peter 2:2). which works a “mighty change” in our hearts, places His “Image in your countenance” and gives us spiritual eyes to “look forward with an eye of faith” to the great day of judgment. (Alma 5:13-15)
Of great importance to our latter-day mission, it makes us one of the wise virgins, those who have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and who “shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day (of Christ’s coming). And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver. (D&C 45:56-59)
And – this is the beginning – the promises of spiritual infancy.
© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.