Sunday, September 5, 2010

3 Nephi - Chapter 9

I have always taken comfort in this verse:
13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
I am certainly not as wicked as those of Jacobugath, for instance, so it may be that if the Second Coming should arrive before I've fully repented, maybe I'll yet be spared.  Today as I read, I didn't get such comfort.  I didn't find this verse nearly so full of loop holes.  Rather I found it condemning in light of the whole chapter.

Chapter 9 makes it plain that many of the truly righteous were not spared.  These are they who'd be persecuted for their faith, who'd been stoned and slain for their courage to call the people to repentance.  These are they, who for their faith, forfeited the blessed opportunity to feel His hands and bathe His feet with their tears.  Of course my first reaction was a supposition that these were somehow cheated.  In my heart I know that they were not.  They had already come unto Christ and they had already been healed.  They, I believe, were like Elder Bruce R. McConkie, in that they already knew and had walked with Him.  Any loss they may have experienced was most certainly "swallowed up in the joy of Christ" (Alma 31:38)

Once again, the natural man in me had jumped to incorrect conclusions.  Yet as I consult with my heart I know that life is not a merit badge system.  Privileges and blessings out there are not prizes to be earned.  Rewards are not handed out at illustrious ceremonies to those who excel above the others.  Righteous living is it's own reward as we walk, healed, in the presence of He whose merits are the only ones that count.

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