CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 9.
Now that they could no longer deny the truth or ignore the signs, all the people responded to the Savior’s call (verse 1). He told them the devil laughs that so many have chosen iniquity and abominations (verse 2). He confirms that cities have been burned (verse 3), and cities have sunk into the sea (verse 4), and cities have been swallowed up by the earth (verses 5-6). He explains that wickedness cannot be in His presence, and so it must be put away before His presence can come (verses 7-8).
This is the same with us, as we become His, as we become the House of the Lord. We cannot enter His presence when we are full of wickedness, and His Spirit cannot be with us when we are holding onto wickedness. We need the cleansing of the atonement, and to be sanctified by His Spirit – set apart as holy – if we want to be at-one with Him.
We cannot be holy as He is holy, if there is wickedness in us. We cannot be at peace if we are destroying the peace of others (verse 9). We cannot receive His words if we refuse to listen to those He has sent to us with His message (verse 10).
What was not-of-God must be destroyed, purged, pruned away (verse 11), so that we can grow to be more like Him, so that He can make us into who He created us to be (verse 12).
This message is for all of us, not just those who do not believe in God. We are not innocent. We are not finished. We are still a work in progress: notice in verse 13, where he says that wickedness was destroyed but some were spared “because ye were more righteous than they”. He does not say “You are righteous”. He says “you were more righteous than the wicked”. He is not saying we are righteous, and so already like Him. He is saying we have made some progress in that we were not as bad as we were without Him. He is saying are more righteous than when you were wicked, but you are not yet as righteous as me.
So even us, the “more righteous” (or, rather, the not-yet-righteous), even to us – especially to us – comes the call to repentance, to conversion, to our own healing.
Us, who are “more righteous”, but “not yet righteous”!
Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
These more-righteous-but-not-yet-Righteous people are spared not because they are finished, or have arrived, or have completed the journey, but so that they may have opportunity to repent still, to further align themselves with His will, to humble themselves and return to their God.
He calls them to repentance, that they may have eternal life.
They are more-righteous than the wicked, but not-yet-Righteous as He is.
Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me (verse 14).
This calling to repentance is for those who already believe!
He is confirming that yes, this is what you have been waiting for, and He really is the one promised!
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name (verse 15).
He is the one!
And it is to us, those who already believe in Him, that He calls to rescue. It is those who already are waiting for Him that He appears. It is those who already know Him that He does welcome home.
I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled (verse 16).
We read those exact words in John 1:11, and we know that the Jews were “first” in line to receive Him, for they had been chosen and kept their records and had access to all the knowledge. They were the ones who professed to be waiting for Him, and yet did not recognize when He came. So now they will be last in receiving the whole gospel, and those who were the “last” to be prepared (Gentiles) were the “first” to receive Him.
And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God;and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled (verse 17).
He is waiting to give us all the Father has, and to teach us all the Father knows (John 15:15). The law has been fulfilled by His obedience, and justice has been met by His sacrifice (verse 19). It has all been fulfilled, and so now He is free to act as mediator and advocate, and able to offer us mercy. It is the end of what was, and the beginning of what can now be. He is “the light and the life of the world”, the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (verse 18).
All we have to do to receive this mercy is to turn to Him, and let Him be who He is. We offer the sacrifice of a “broken heart and a contrite spirit”. This moves us into a position turned towards Him, so that we can receive. This surrenders what we have been holding onto, so that He can cleanse us and purify us and pull the weeds and splinters and shards that harm us. This softens us, so that we become malleable, shape-able, mold-able into who He created us to be. This refines us into being quickened by spiritual things.
It is the Holy Spirit that does this work in us, because we cannot do it on our own. We need something greater than ourselves, and we need to become something greater than what we have been. There is a discrepancy between who He says we are and who we have really been, and only the atonement bridges that gap. By the power of the atonement, the Holy Spirit can transform me from the person I have been into the person He says I will be. This is our redemption (verse 21).
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me, ye ends of the earth, and be saved.