The New Life in Christ The Book of Mormon Lecture 10 by Hyrum Andrus
Hyrum L Andrus
All rights reserved August 10-12, 1989
Lecture – 10 THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
We haven’t got through the doctrine of rebirth yet. We are going to discus now the topic of the new life in Christ. When Jesus came to the Nephites they had the law of Moses. The law of Moses was a great law, but this old "eye for an eye" business has been pushed so far that we think it was just kind of a heathen law. But Jesus got the first and the second great commandments out of the law of Moses, didn't he? You go in back of those two great commandments, and you'll find that he gets them from Leviticus and elsewhere in the Old Testament. And the law of Moses had a lot of beneficial things to it. But the thing that it lacked was the spiritual transformation; it had the letter, but it didn't have the power.
So when Jesus came to the Nephites, he said, "Old things are done away, and all things have become new." (3 Ne 12:47) He says that in a very meaningful way. Nephi gets to that when he talks about a person who is able to speak with the tongue of angels. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, and you can speak with the tongue of angels. So there's a new life in Christ.
Let's get right back to the basics on that. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught some doctrine in relation to that, that for some reason has never really caught on. It isn't just that it's something out in the eddies of the gospel plan, it's at the very heart and core of the gospel plan. It's the very foundation, and we ought to pick it up, see it and teach it and utilize it.
It has to do with Jesus' statement to Nicodemus in John 3. It begins with the report of Nicodemus, who was one of the rulers of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, etc., and he came to Christ by night. He didn't have backbone enough to come to him by day and ask a decent question. Those who came to Jesus by day among the Jews in Jerusalem were hasslers, either to spy for the Sanhedrin or to badger him and hassle him. Nicodemus, though, knew enough that he was genuine and had enough of the witness, but then he had his social status to take care of. So he came to Jesus by night.
He starts out very glowingly. He says, verse 2: "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles
which thou doest, except God be with him." Now, that's a great thing- -you know, the fanfare that you sometimes get may or may not be genuine, and many times isn't. Nicodemus apparently meant it, but he didn't have the character to sustain it. But even at that, the Savior wasn't very much interested in talking with him on how great he was. He wasn't interested, and he immediately checked it like that and said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Now, he didn't talk about baptism, that isn't what he was talking about. And he wasn't talking about the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost; that wasn't what he was talking about. He was talking about born again to see, to get your eyes opened so that you can see something that before that you hadn't seen.
He said you have to be born again to see the kingdom. Well, that was enough to set Nicodemus off in his mind, racing, wondering how a person could be born again. He asked, and it's kind of a challenge to Jesus, "Is it possible to go back into your mother's womb and get born again?" Jesus didn't handle the issue, he just went on and talked about a new phase of this whole rebirth process.
He said again, "Verily, verily," and in the Aramaic, "verily" meant very positively, and "verily, verily," put a cinch on it--doubly, doubly sure. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It's one thing to be born to see the kingdom, and it's another thing to be born to enter the kingdom. They are both part of the process of rebirth. What's the difference?
Well, the difference is contained in the statement. A person is born again to see, and in the old Bible, and I've got a new set--I'm up with the brethren on buying a new set. But this is like your best girlfriend-- you get acquainted and you know her and you understand her, and you have a hard time putting her away. So I've still got the old set here. I've got two or three other old sets like this put away in a box with a sign on them that says, "Rest in pieces." And this one is just about to that stage now. I'm going to have to break down and start using the others.
But the margin on this one says at the point where he says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see," it has the note, "Born from above, or you cannot see." In other words, this rebirth of which he initially speaks is a birth of illumination of the mind. It is to see something that you couldn't see before. This birth process … Get the full transcription from www.hyrumandrus.com!