Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Samuel the Lamanite: A Witness for Jesus Christ

In discussing the Book of Mormon, we must never forget it's primary purpose and focus: to testify of Jesus Christ. It is truly a Christ-centered book, providing the richest information I have ever encountered about His Atonement and grace.

From my reading today, I was impressed with Samuel the Lamanite's call to believe in Christ. His words were spoken to an arrogant and corrupt Nephite people just a few years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Here is an excerpt from Helaman 14, where Samuel stands upon the wall of Zarahemla to preach to a city that had cast him out:
[2] And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. . . .

[8] And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life. . . .

[13] And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

[14] And behold, again, another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death.

[15] For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.

[16] Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death -- that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.

[17] But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.

[18] Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.

[19] Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death. . . .

[30] And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.

[31] He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.
Faith in Christ is not merely acknowledging Him as the Son of God, but drives us to follow Him and change our ways to better conform to His will. Faith leads us to repentance, for we have all fallen and fall short of His expectations. But His Atonement makes repentance and forgiveness possible, and gives us means to change and better follow Him through faith on His name. This is the message of the Book of Mormon: believe in in Jesus Christ and follow Him.

What a tragedy that so many in the Christian world are afraid of this book, and have been led to believe that it is of the devil.

6 comments:

john f. said...

Thanks for this reminder Jeff. Just a note, it's Samuel on the wall, not Helaman!

ltbugaf said...

john f.: That's what he said. "Here is an excerpt from Helaman 14, where Samuel stands upon the wall..."

Mormanity said...

Actually, I had a typo at first that I since corrected. Sorry for not being clear. Thanks, John F.!

ltbugaf said...

My family read this passage a few days ago. I was struck by Samuel's diligence in obeying the Lord. When I was a missionary, I think I would have been a lot more willing to let something keep me from doing my job. Not Samuel--if he couldn't get in the door, he would just climb on the wall and give the message from there. It didn't matter what happened to him; what mattered was delivering the message he'd been sent to give.

Bookslinger said...

ltbugag:
In my mission, in the small Ecuadorian town of Bucay (hometown of the infamous Lorena Bobbitt), we rented the old movie theater to show a church movie. All was set, but when it came time to open the theater up, the keeper-of-the-key said that he had lost his key, and we'd have to call it all off. The door was locked with a $5 padlock, so I went and borrowed a hacksaw, and we were going to cut the lock off and just buy them a new padlock.

When the keeper-of-the-key saw what we were about to do, he remembered where the key was.

ltbugaf said...

Of course, I don't mean to imply that I should have been climing over people's fences or banging down their doors to make them listen to me. I just mean that I remember letting a lot of fairly insignificant things keep me from really doing my job as a missionary in the way I should.