I read in D&C 50:42 “And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.” The cross references in the footnotes are verses that say a similar thing. How does one become one of those that the Father gives to the Son? Is there a way to know if we have made it on that list of those that have been given to the Son?
This is a great doctrinal question which emphasizes the beauty of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the depth of our covenant relationship with Him.
Although there are dozens of scriptural references that explore this question, I think I want to answer this question mainly from the perspective of King Benjamin’s address to his people, found in Mosiah chapters 2-5.
Let’s first take a look at chapter 2, verses 17 and 19,where we learn that His name is the only name by which we can be saved, and that We need to put off the natural man and become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ:
17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
I love how Mosiah 5:7 describes our covenant (remember King Benjamin’s people had experienced “a mighty change of heart” and taken upon themselves a covenant of obedience to all the commandments of God) relationship with Christ, and what it truly means, that we become His sons and daughters:
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
So as we enter the covenant path and let the Spirit work in us to change our hearts, we become born again, that is, our nature changes from that of the natural man or woman to become the man or woman of Christ, His sons and His daughters. In this way, we become Christ’s. But are we among those the Father has given to Christ? I say that we are! Because of the gift of agency, which is a gift from God the Father from before the foundations of the world, we get to choose our path.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-46 (which pertains not only to priesthood, but also to our walk with God—and is, but the way, one of the greatest “how-to” pieces anywhere on leadership) informs us that there are many called but few chosen, explains why people are not chosen, then gives instruction on how we become chosen. Being chosen is a matter of agency: we must choose to be chosen!
In 3 Nephi 15:24 the Savior tells the Nephites
“But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.”
We may not see the Savior at this time in the flesh as the Nephites did, but as we walk the covenant path and come to know His voice, and follow after Him, we get to be among those the Father has given Him.
Lastly, I want to refer to D&C 93:1, where the Lord describes exactly the path we need to be on to become His and to never be lost:
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
If we work to stay on the covenant path we truly become His, His sons and His daughters. Because we are His, He will support us in staying on that path.