Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Elder David A. Bednar on mighty conversion through Christ

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"The Lord's authorized servants repeatedly teach that one of the principal purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ....
"We are instructed to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness' (Moroni 10:32), to become 'new creature[s]' in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), to put off 'the natural man' (Mosiah 3:19), and to experience 'a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually' (Mosiah 5:2). Please note that the conversion described in these verses is mighty, not minor—a spiritual rebirth and fundamental change of what we feel and desire, what we think and do, and what we are. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon 'the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah' (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn....
"The spiritual rebirth... typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process—not a single event. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience."
- David A. Bednar, "Ye Must be Born Again," Ensign, May 2007, p. 19
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

In the process of growth and change that occurs through our lives, the most important changes should be happening in our spiritual nature, as we are "changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." Elder Bednar points out that the scriptures teach this is not a minor change, but a mighty one:

So we are seeking "a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature." This process is not quick and not easy. It's a life-long process, though we should be able to notice ongoing progress towards the ideal. The key is that "our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God." I love that description; step by step, our natures change so that we are more godlike. In Moroni's words, we deny ourselves of anything that is ungodly (Moroni 10:32) so that the only thing that remains are god-like traits. What a beautiful and glorious process!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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