5 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made…
Notice the verbs in this verse: “persists,” “goes on,” “remaineth.” Abinadi is not talking about good people turning bad. He’s talking about people who, in their fallen state, are already carnal and rebellious, who start off as enemies to God! Does this mean that people are inherently evil? No, not your true self. Not that part of you that has power to overcome your mortal frailties. But because of the Fall, as King Benjamin would later teach, our “natural” or “autopilot” state in mortality would be contrary to God’s will (Mosiah 3:19, Mosiah 4:2,5, see also Alma 42:10). In other words, we have to do something to overcome the effects of the Fall. We can’t do it on our own–we need God’s grace to overcome this natural state–but we have to intentionally choose to receive that gift; it doesn’t just happen.
Put another way, we can’t adopt the attitude of a team that is already ahead and just needs to maintain the status quo. We need the urgency of a team that is behind and needs to do better. Doing nothing is not a winning strategy for us.
Today, I will seek God’s help in overcoming my natural state. I will also be forgiving of others when they are impatient, unkind, or unwise, recognizing that we all have to deal with the challenges of mortal life, and that, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can all overcome the natural man.