Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book of Mormon Sunday II- Helaman 8-12

       Helaman 8:6 "And now we know that this is impossible, for behold, we are powerful, and our cities great, therefore our enemies can have no power over us."
  The big question is, "Who has real power?" The answer lies in where we place our faith. Nephi faces a group of people who have mixed motives. Those who are caught up in the Gadianton mentality have faith in their own power and in the power of money and influence. There are still others who remember the tradition of their fathers, who hear Nephi and have a inkling that God is still communicating with them thought his prophets. Their hearts are pricked as he reminds them of the power of the coming Messiah.

   Helaman 10:5 "And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people."
   These verses testify of power beyond any that man might have. They testify of the power of grace through Jesus Christ. 
   "It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The Infinite Atonement is both for the sinner and the saint in each of us." Elder David A. Bednar 
   In chapter 12, Mormon comments on the weakness of mortal man. He drives home the point that denying the power of God will bring destruction. God will fulfill his promises and if we refuse to repent our demise is sure. Our only hope is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
   Helaman 12:24 "And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works."
   If through our sins we lose grace, (enabling power), then having it restored to us, through repentance, is the goal we should strive for. According to Helaman grace is restored as we do God's work, grace for grace. Jesus grew in spirituality this same way.
   Doctrine and Covenants 93:12 "And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;"
  Nephi grew in spirituality precisely because of his bold actions in declaring repentance unto his people. As he stepped forward in faith, grace, (enabling power), was granted, enough to withstand the threats of his enemies and enough to courageously challenge others to rethink their behavior.
  Doctrine and Covenants 93:20 "For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace."
  As I read these verses I wonder if I can have grace restored unto me. I do very little when compared to Nephi. I suspect I live far below my privileges. However, I can testify that I have been given grace for grace many times in my life. My honest labor in the vineyard of the Lord has never been without reward. 
   Mosiah 18:26 "And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God."
   In summary, what I learn from these verses is that through the doctrine of the atonement I can live the principle of gaining grace for grace by keeping God's commandments and by laboring in his kingdom. 

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