Those who walk in the light receive the love of Christ and enjoy fellowship with the children of God.
John taught that those who walk in the light are born again.
But the reality behind the symbols is the power of the Atonement coupled with the power of the Spirit which brings a real change in the person and real fellowship with the Father and the Son and the children of God.
John stated the criteria by which one can determine if he has been born again.
One becomes the son or daughter of God through the bestowal of his love.
Those who are born again have true fellowship with the Savior and the family of God.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 52, “Walk in the Light As He Is in the Light”
D&C 34:1-3. Why and for whom did Christ suffer?
Mosiah 5:7. Why are we “born” into the family of Christ and not that of the Father?
2 Corinthians 3:18. How are people changed into the glory of the Lord and by what?
Teachings, pp. 149-51. What is the fullest extent to which one may receive fellowship with the Savior?
DS, 1:12, 97-98. In what way do men actually become as God?
DS, 2:64-65. In what way is marriage essential to becoming a son or daughter of God?
DS, 2:37-41. Why is priesthood essential to becoming a son of God?
Discourses, pp. 16, 227. What is the gospel designed to do?
David O. McKay in CR, Apr. 1940, p. 116. The importance of fellowship.
Ezra Taft Benson in CR, Oct. 1967, pp. 34-36. The need to love God and man.
James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:30-31. To be a son of God.
Some Suggestions for Presentation
Man Is Born Again Through Blood, Water, and Spirit
By comparing 1 John 5:4-12 and Moses 6:51-67 it can be shown how both refer to the elements of spiritual rebirth. The teacher could develop the following list on the chalkboard to impress upon the students the literal meaning of being born from above:
A new beginning
Mother’s travail (labor and pain in childbearing)
The mother’s blood shed in the birth process
The innocence of the child
The premortal spirit that gives life, intelligence, personality, and character
A new beginning
Jesus’ travail (especially Gethsemane)
Waters of baptism
The Savior’s blood shed at Gethsemane and Golgotha
The innocence of the convert through sanctification by Christ’s blood
The new spirit (gift of the Holy Ghost) which gives new and greater life, intelligence, personality, and character
Was the Atonement real or figurative? (It was real. Jesus actually paid the price which the eternal justice of god demands.)
The Power of the Atonement and the Power of the Spirit Bring a Real Change
The instructor could present this sensitive and beautiful teaching by asking a series of questions and having the students respond in turn. The students’ answers should be kept short. The teacher could expand any answer to assure the students’ understanding. The following are examples of questions and answers that might be used:
What about the power of the Spirit? Does a convert get a new spirit? (He does not get a new spirit body. The spirit that came into his body from the premortal spirit world is still there in his physical body. But a new Spirit is added in that the convert can receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. That is what is meant by the new Spirit. It changes the convert and aids him to keep the covenants into which he has entered.)
What does this new Spirit, the Holy Ghost, do to the convert when the convert fully “receives” him? (A change occurs. The convert becomes a new person in a manner discernible to others who are susceptible to the Spirit. A marked improvement in his conduct, activity, charity, and other characteristics and qualities shows that he has begun to overcome the world.)
Is the adoption as a son or daughter of Christ real? (Yes, it is real in this way: Just as we inherited weaknesses of the flesh through the Fall and our mortal parents [compare Moses 6:55; Ether 3:2; Romans 7:15-25; 2 Nephi 2:29], so we inherit the divine nature through the Atonement and adoption into the family of Christ [compare 1 John 3:1, 10; Isaiah 53:10-13; Mosiah 5:2, 7; 27:25; 2 Peter 1:4]. Thus we become new creatures called the sons and daughters of Christ.)
The instructor may wish to make up his own questions to guide the student’s thinking.
Real Fellowship with the Savior and the Family of God
The Greek word Koinonia, from which fellowship comes means more than the English words partnership or membership, but it is more expressive of sharing an inner relationship. John’s writing suggests the sharing in a nature (which Peter calls the “divine nature”) which has been received or may be obtained. Does baptism alone bring us into the fellowship? What else is needed? Why is it that only members of the Church can have true fellowship with one another? What does it mean to have fellowship with Christ?
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