Posted by: 2thdocbob | 23 January 2022

Children of the Covenant

I was asked to speak just two days ago. Because I had read some insightful articles on our covenants, I decided to pursue the topic further. This is the talk that I gave.

I bear witness that I felt the Lord’s guidance through his Spirit as I prepared this talk. His covenants with us today are valid and real. As we bind ourselves to God through faithful covenant keeping, we will blessed with strength and wisdom beyond our natural abilities to help us remain true to these covenants and stay on the covenant path, as the Prophet has urged.

My brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you today, and grateful for the invitation to speak. I pray that the Spirit may be with us, that you and I may be taught through his influence. I’m excited for the opportunity to study the Old Testament this year. When I read it, it is like a reunion with old friends, meeting up with some of my earliest scripture heroes again.

The Old Testament has two purposes. First, it is a witness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is filled with prophecies, types and symbols of the promised Messiah. Second, it is a witness of the covenants and promises God has made to his children since the creation of this earth, and a lesson in what happens when covenants are honored or dishonored.

President Nelson’s talks have focused on these covenants since he was first called as an Apostle in 1985. In an early talk, he referred to us as children of the covenant. This phrase touched me deeply, in part because I often refer to Heidi as my wife of the covenant.

In his first message as Prophet, he said: “Now, to each member of the Church I say: Keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women and children everywhere.”

In General Conference in October 2020, President Nelson gave us this invitation: “As you study your scriptures during the next six months, I encourage you to make a list of all that the Lord has promised He will do for covenant Israel. I think you will be astounded! Ponder these promises. Talk about them with your family and friends. Then live and watch for these promises to be fulfilled in your own life.”

This invitation has changed how I perceive the Old Testament. The Joseph Smith Translation and the Books of Moses and Abraham in The Pearl of Great Price support the Old Testament in teaching us that God made covenants with Adam, Enoch and Noah. The Abrahamic covenant reflects in part the covenants and promises made with the prophets before him. We also read of covenants and promises given to Isaac and Jacob, and to Joseph and Ephraim.

And the Lord didn’t just make covenants with the men. We know that he also covenanted with Eve, Sarah (Gen. 17:15-16, ff.), and other valiant women.

These covenants reaffirm and validate the Abrahamic covenant, which makes sense, since they are his righteous offspring.

Abrahamic descent is claimed by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and rightly so. But not all were of the covenant lineage. We will see this year that when the Lord’s covenant people, the house of Israel, were true and faithful to their covenants, they were blessed; when they were not faithful to their covenants, they suffered. This is the same pattern we have seen in the Book of Mormon; and they were the same people.

Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Abrahamic covenant is offered to all people who will accept Jesus Christ through ordinances and covenants performed by those who have authority “to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof” (Articles of Faith 1:5).

The promises to Abraham include:

  • Jesus the Christ would be born through Abraham’s lineage.
  • Abraham’s posterity would be numerous, entitled to an eternal increase, and also entitled to bear the priesthood.
  • Abraham would become a father of many nations.
  • Certain lands would be inherited by his posterity.
  • All nations of the earth would be blessed by his seed.

And that covenant would be everlasting—even through “a thousand generations.” To provide a little perspective, it is estimated that there have been about 100 generations since Abraham’s time.

Why are these ancient covenants important to us? When we join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we become God’s covenant people in the latter-days. When we are baptized, we inherit the blessings and responsibilities of the Abrahamic covenant, as we are adopted into the family of Abraham through baptism. Through these covenants, we may claim all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant as if we were born into the covenant line. Our covenant lineage provides blessings that our blood lineage might have missed out on. When we partake of the sacrament, we renew our commitment to these covenants.

I invite you to think about what that means to you, personally. When we are baptized, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. We take the sacrament as a witness and a personal reminder that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son.

There are just two other times when an individual takes another’s name: marriage, when the wife takes the name of her husband, and adoption, when a person becomes part of a new family. Through our baptism we were adopted into the family of Jesus Christ, and took his name upon us.

The Lord told Alma: “Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;” (Mosiah 27:25).

When speaking of Christ and his mission, Abinadi testified:

“When his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?

“Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 15:10-11).

As the adopted seed of Christ, we become joint heirs with him through our obedience, as Abinadi taught. In Doctrine and Covenants, Section 84 we read:

“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

“And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (D&C 84:36-37).

This is promised to us through obedience to the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which applies to every member of the Church who has received their endowments in the temple. This is a part of the new and everlasting covenant, which encompasses the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and includes all ordinances and covenants necessary for the salvation of mankind. I bear you my witness that the new and everlasting covenant has been restored to earth in this dispensation; it is active and available to all of us.

Yes, we have to pay a price to follow Christ and stay on the covenant path, but where does that path lead us? It leads us to life everlasting where we may inherit “all that [the] Father hath.” And when the final judgment comes, the Savior, our Advocate with the Father will speak up for us. What a tremendous gift it is to understand the blessings that are available to us if we stay on the path, or return to the path and stay on it.

Brothers and sisters, I have come to understand through studying the words of living apostles and prophets, that the most important thing for each one of us is not where we are on the path or how fast we are moving on the path; the most important thing is that we are on the covenant path and facing the right direction.

Heavenly Father expects each of us to move at our own pace. But he also expects us to lift those who are slipping, and to help those who lag behind. We can “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” (Mosiah 18:8); and “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5) as we walk the covenant path together.

Being part of God’s covenant people means we help each other as we move closer to Christ. It also means we work to strengthen God’s Church on the earth. When we keep our covenants, we can find power and strength from God. Even in our weak moments, a willingness to help others counts in God’s eyes. He expects us to do what we can.

This is what children of the covenant do.

Sister Bonnie Cordon shared this invitation with us:

“We continually seek to draw closer to the Savior through faith, cherished repentance, and keeping the commandments. As we bind ourselves to Him through covenants and ordinances, our lives are filled with confidence, protection, and deep and lasting joy.

“As we come to Him, we see others through His eyes. Come unto Christ. Come now, but don’t come alone!”

We need to be on the covenant path together. We can’t do this alone. We need each other, and we need to be bound to the Savior through our covenants so that we can call upon his strengthening hand.

I testify to the authenticity of Heavenly Father’s covenants with us.

I know that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, who provided a plan for us to return to his glorious presence and to become like him – if we choose to do it – and live together in eternal joy as families. All he asks is that we keep his commandments (see Mosiah 2:22). His promises are sure.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. His atoning sacrifice and resurrection, combined with our faith, and our faithfulness, will enable us to stay on the covenant path and truly be children of the covenant.

That we may walk the path together as children of the covenant; as brothers and sisters in Christ is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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