23 August 2022

Christ's "Rewards and Punishments" Two-Edged Sword

I am still looking at the "spiral" nature of the Savior's answers to questions, building and expanding on what he has said before.  This chapter begins with a rather simple question from the disciples on what the name of the Church should be.  Christ has already addressed that there should be no contention at all, much less about such things; gives reasons and logic about how the church should be named; and now provides what might be considered threats to those who would steer the Church via any doctrine other than his own:

3 Nephi 27

10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.

11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.

12 For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you.

This is yet another example of a Messiah who, along with caring for and loving those who diligently follow and obey him, will also "hewn down and cast into the fire" those who work their own private agendas through the instrumentality of the Church. People come to the Church to get the gospel of Christ unvarnished and terrible things await those who use the Church for other purposes.

We should expect to see the Father's own works in the Church. Things like abuse and unrighteous dominion will be punished in the end with a metaphorical or even literal "burning". There is much bally-ho among denominations regarding grace vs. works (more of that contention) and I think these verses, along with others, indicate that all will be judged on "their works (that) do follow them", "because of their works that they are hewn down".  This seems like clear talk to me - Christ's grace works alongside judgement for our works.

These versus are further statements of Christ's loving watch-care shepherding of his follower sheep and fierce punishments that await those who have worked their own will counter to the gospel of the Shepherd. Jesus has said, here and in other places, exactly what we can expect from him and his Church. The only question is if we will follow him and reap the rewards of keeping his commandments and being loyal and loving sheep, or if we will *work* our own agendas rather than his and suffer being "hewn down and cast into the fire".