BORN OF GOD

Excerpts from President Ezra Taft Benson,
General Conference, October 5, 1985

 

When you choose to follow Christ, you choose the Way, the Truth, the Life – the right way, the saving truth, the abundant life (See John 14:6).   When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed.

"No man," said President David O. McKay, "can sincerely resolve to apply in his daily life the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth without sensing a change in his own nature. The phrase 'born again' has a deeper significance than many people attach to it. This changed feeling may be indescribable, but it is real"   (Conference Report, April, 1962, p. 7).

Can human hearts be changed? Why, of course! It happens every day in the great missionary work of the Church. It is one of the most widespread of Christ's modern miracles. If it hasn't happened to you – it should.

Our Lord told Nicodemus that "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Of these words President Kimball said, "This is the simple total answer to the weightiest of all questions. . . . To gain eternal life there must be a rebirth, a transformation" (Conference Report, April, 1958, p. 14).

President McKay said that Christ called for "an entire revolution" of Nicodemus's "inner man." "His manner of thinking, feeling, and action with reference to spiritual things would have to undergo a fundamental and permanent change"   (Conference Report, April, 1960, p. 26).

Beside the physical ordinance of baptism and the laying on of hands, one must be spiritually born again to gain exaltation and eternal life. . .

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. . .

Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world.

Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Like Paul they will be asking, "Lord, what wilt you have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Peter stated, they will "follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). John said they will "walk, even as he walked" (1 John 2:6).

Finally, men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. To paraphrase President Harold B. Lee, they set fire in others because they are on fire   (Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 192).

  • Their will is swallowed up in His will (See John 5:30).
  • They do always those things that please the Lord (See John 8:29).
  • Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him.
  • Enter their homes, and the pictures on their walls, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their words and acts reveal them as Christians.
  • They stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. (See Mosiah 18:9)
  • They have Christ on their minds, as they look unto Him in every thought (See D&C 6:36).
  • They have Christ in their hearts as their affections are placed on Him forever (See Alma 37:36).
  • Almost every week they partake of the sacrament and witness anew to their Eternal Father that they are willing to take upon them the name of His Son, always remember Him, and keep His commandments (See Moroni 4:3).

In Book of Mormon language, they "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3), "talk of Christ" (2 Nephi 25:26), "rejoice in Christ" (2 Nephi 25:26), "are made alive in Christ" (2 Nephi 25:25), and glory in their Jesus (2 Nephi 33:6).

In short, they lose themselves in the Lord, and find eternal life (See Luke 17:33).

When we awake and are born of God, a new day will break and Zion will be redeemed.

May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and born again I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Excerpted from ENSIGN, November, 1985, pp. 5-7; highlighting added.

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