First, a definition of the word “beg” may be helpful to set aside any emotional response we may have to the word. Some among us may feel offended by this word thinking that God would never require His sons and daughters, the elect, those holding the priesthood, those who have made sacred covenants in the temples, to beg.
Beg: To ask earnestly; to beseech; to entreat or supplicate with humility. From American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828
The title of this post, Begging for a Remission of Your Sins, is taken from the account of King Benjamin teaching his people the message delivered to him by an angel from God .
Before going any further, I think it’s important to have an idea of just who King Benjamin and his people were. King Benjamin’s people are described as being “highly favored people of the Lord” because they were “diligent in keeping the commandments” (Mosiah 1:11 & 13).
Certainly this highly favored group of former day Saints could recount many instances of service and sacrifice on their part in behalf of the Lord’s work. These people were very much like some church members today. They attended their meetings, donated of their time and substance, served one another in the church and raised their families up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Included in this group of people were church leaders, the equivalent of today’s Prophets, Apostles, Stake Presidents, Patriarchs, Bishops, Relief Society Presidents, High Councilman and so forth (Words of Mormon 1:15-18).
With this background in mind, note what happens to this group of highly favored people of the Lord. At the conclusion of King Benjamin’s remarks “they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them“. Mosiah 4:1
The fear they experienced wasn’t the kind of fear that causes one to cower before an adversary. It was a different kind of fear, “they viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth“.
For the first time they understood, by the power of the Holy Ghost, what it really means to be a fallen being, living in a fallen world! They immediately knew what to do, with one voice they cried aloud:
“O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.” Mosiah 4:2-3
I write about this account from the Book of Mormon because it holds a special place in my heart. Many years ago, the Savior left the ninety-and nine and rescued me. Jesus Christ is not only the Savior of the world, He is an individual Savior too. Go here for my testimony.
I pray that all who read these words will have a renewed determination to do all in their power to repent and prepare for the day when each of us will stand before the Savior and be judged for our thoughts and acts.
Heavenly Father heard me when I begged Him for a remission of my sins. Since then, He has led me by the hand and answered many of my prayers. I’m grateful for his tender mercies. I am aware of my nothingness just as I am aware of His kindness and mercy. I am also aware that where much is given, much is required.
King Benjamin and his people were good at keeping the commandments. They were close to the Lord, had a temple, and had many manifestation of the Holy Ghost. However, as the account makes clear, they had not been born again by receiving a remission of their sins.
In this scriptural account, receiving the Holy Ghost, and receiving a remission of sins by fire and the Holy Ghost (born again) can be separate experiences. Nephi appears to teach this when he wrote:
“…witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost…“ (2 Nephi 31:13).