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.  Many of 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 though, 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.  Elder McConkie put it this way:
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
Any loss he, or the stoned prophets may have experienced by dying before the coming of the Lord was already, 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.

No comments: