Sunday, October 31, 2010
3 Nephi 14: 21
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven."
This was a favorite quote from President Kimball. It really puts Christ's followers on notice that confessing with the lips with no accompanying action to obey Him will not allow anyone into the kingdom of heaven.
Christ could not be more clear in this statement. The evangelical crowd quotes Paul's statement, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," as proof to contradict the Lord. (Romans 10: 10.) Paul does not explain salvation in that brief aside. Confession requires the confessor to go forward and present their entire life as a living sacrifice, continually obedient unto God (as he explains later in the very same letter). (Romans 12: 1-2.) This foolish error is creeping into Mormonism with each passing day. From Professor Steven Robinson's rapprochement in How Wide the Divide? to Alonzo Gaskill's awful mistake called Odds Are You're Going To Be Exalted, the erosion of doctrine to conform to the evangelical "market" continues apace.
They teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Their creeds are an abomination. The professors of these creeds are all corrupt. (I'm only quoting Christ.) (See JS-H 1: 19.) We would be better informed to draw the starkest, widest and clearest distinctions between ourselves and them, rather than seeking to be regarded as another brand of mainstream Christianity.
Calling Christ "Lord, Lord" will accomplish nothing. There will be those who claim they are "of Christ" but who are no better than the liars, thieves and whoremongers. (D&C 76: 99-104.) It is not a "brand name" to associate with. It is a Teacher to follow.
Christ teaches the will of the Father. Conforming to the will of the Father is required to "enter into the kingdom of heaven." Confession without conformity to His will is worse than meaningless. It is evidence that you are superstitious and foolish. You want Christ as a magic talisman, to be invoked to control the outcome of your life. But you do not want to honor Him by doing as He teaches. You do not want to live as He would want you to live. You do not want to surrender your sins and seek after truth and light.
The simple life which Christ describes in this sermon is how we are to conform to His will. We have taken it bit by bit to examine how living that life should be accomplished. This is the blueprint for understanding the Lord and meeting Him. It is not intended to cause pride, but to provoke repentance. It is the means by which we can know Him.
As the sermon is ending, He reminds those present that calling out to Him and honoring Him with the title of "Lord" will never be enough. You must do as He taught.
There is no other way.
The path is identical for everyone.
You are as capable of doing this as any person who ever lived here. The difference between you and those who have succeeded only exists so long as you refuse to repent. Repentance will cure your lack of faith. Your confidence will increase in the Lord as you lay aside the sins which beset you.
The symmetry of Christ's sermon is astonishing. The closing call to follow Him is unmistakably sobering. It is not enough to sit in an audience honoring Him by showing brief attention to His talk. The talk must become alive in you.