When a worthy soul is born again they are changed by the empowerment of the atonement of Christ. The scriptures call this the “Mighty Change”, “Rebirth of the Spirit”, “Baptism of Fire”, “Baptism of the Holy Ghost”, and many other terms. It is not optional. We must be born again in order to enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
Some people experience the rebirth dramatically, in a glorious event, and bask in a newness of life that is astonishing and wonderful. More often we are born again as a spiritual process rather than as an event. Most people who have been born again don’t realize it until the Spirit brings it to their realization, perhaps years later.
There is a mighty key to experience being born again as an event, one which few people understand until long after their rebirth. It is simply this – when a humble soul makes “the” covenant with God that from this moment onward, they will obey Him in every way known to them – then, usually, in that moment, the heavens open, and the blessed changes occur.
When King Benjamin was teaching his people about Christ and they believed his words and experienced this mighty change, they entered into a covenant “to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things . . . all the remainder of our days” (Mosiah 5:5). When they covenanted themselves to be flawlessly obedient for the rest of their lives, they were born again.
Imagine the joy in King Benjamin’s soul as he replied, “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 hath he 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 his daughters.” (Mosiah 5:7)
Making this covenant of obedience for the remainder of one’s life requires inspired preparation.
- It must be done under the influence and guidance of the Holy Ghost, which means that it occurs during “mighty prayer”, or praying in the Spirit.
- Mighty prayer is one of the spiritual delights of mortality. This type intimate exchange with God is learned over many years of righteous experience.
- The covenant is not a statement of hope or desire. It is prophetic because it is inspired, meaning that the words are given to us in that moment. Since it is prophetic in nature, it becomes statement of fact – We will obey.
- Most people make this covenant by the walk of their lives – rather than by words. When one commits to obedience as manifest by their life, the blessings are the same, but the receipt is slower, over a period of years, and generally lacking a defining event. On this pathway one’s heart is changed by degrees, desires change over the years, faces softly glow with growing righteousness, and they walk in the light they possess. This describes almost everyone I know and love in the congregation of Christ.
This mighty change is the meaning of the metaphor of being “born again”. This is what stumped Nichodemus, because he could only imagine a physical re-birth. This baptism of fire constitutes being “born again” into the family of Christ. We thus become “His sons and His daughters”, which means He becomes our spiritual father. This is the reason we address one another in the church as brother and sister, not because Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits (which is common to all mortals), but because Jesus Christ is the father of our souls. The intended meaning is that (eventually) we will all have been born again.
When a person is born again they are thus sanctified by reception of the Holy Ghost. This is the moment when the promises bestowed by baptism and the ordinance of the Holy Ghost are realized. This is the moment when one’s sins (all of them) are forgiven and forgotten, washed away, so that they become spotless and holy. (3 Nephi 27:20)
One becomes a “saint” through sanctification. Thus, the name of this church is “The Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints”. The overarching message is again, that this is the church of the children of Jesus Christ, the spiritually reborn, the sanctified and saintly.