In today’s Joy and Thanksgiving assignment, we are comparing and contrasting two groups of people described by King Benjamin. This is kind of a long scripture block…just so you know.
“And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved—When we compare and contrast, we look for what the items being compared have in common and how they differ. Usually, we can learn something from this comparison!
I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples.
Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.
And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment.
O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression.
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” – Mosiah 2:41
Commonalities between the groups
- They both had been taught the things of the gospel.
- They both had known the things of the gospel.
- They both make choices based on what they have been taught and what they know.
- They both experience consequences based on their decisions.
Differences between the groups
The First Group
- The first group chooses to sin. As a result, they withdraw themselves from the spirit of God.
- The Lord can no longer guide, bless, or prosper them.
- Come out in open rebellion against God – listing to obey the evil Spirit. – This is open rebellion because they knew better.
- An enemy to righteousness.
- Is an unholy temple, so the Lord will not dwell with them.
- If they die before repenting, then they die an enemy to God.
- Bound by justice, and because they refused to repent, cannot receive mercy.
- No Lord, No Righteousness, No Mercy → guilt, pain, anguish, fire.
When I think about this first group, I realize that King Benjamin doesn’t tell us these things to “scare us into righteousness.” These verses aren’t a manipulation. They are the facts. When someone refuses to keep the commandments and come unto Christ, then he cuts himself off from the atonement of Christ. He cuts himself off from the Spirit and the happiness of God. It is what it is – simple.
The Second Group
- Keep the commandments.
- Blessed and Happy
- Blessed in all things: both temporal and spiritual
- Received into Heaven
- Dwell with God in a never-ending state of happiness.
- Keep the commandments → Never ending happiness
As I write this, I keep getting impressed by the fact that a part of keeping the commandments is repenting. We aren’t expected to be sinless. We are expected to keep the commandments. Because this is the expectation, then we are allowed room to sin – as long as we repent.
If we refuse to keep the commandments, then we refuse to repent.
I don’t mean this to be an excuse for sinning and breaking the commandments. We need to do our best. However, we’re human, so we will sin. Also, if we could perfectly keep the commandments, then there would be no need for Christ. Which is ridiculous. We need to keep the commandments – which means we need to repent. Which implies, that the Lord knows that we’ll sin, he just wants us to change it when we do.
Then, when we repent, we are blessed. We are blessed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We are received into Heaven, thanks to His infinite Mercy, and we are able to dwell with God in a state of Never-ending happiness.
It’s a really good deal for us.
For tomorrow’s assignment, click here.