I am sitting a lot with the thought that righteousness is neither piousness nor self-indulgence. The sinners and the pious do not approach heaven. It is only those that do the will of God. Doing good within myself and doing good externally with others are two different activities, but they shouldn’t be. That is my challenge, in my external piousness, or putting on of airs. I am covering up and crowding out the space for the true good works. Garden analogies work good here too.
Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.Verse 20
I have sat with this chapter for many days now. I have given a talk at church based on this chapter. Repentance, is not the main theme (it is part of these foundational principles of faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, reception of the Holy Ghost, and endurance until the end), however the more that I sit with this, it feels like this is the main purpose of our existance. We are here to repent, to change, to grow into something beautiful so that we may be able to dwell in the presence of the Divine.
There are several times where Christ repeats the same principles but each time in a slightly different order they are as follows:
- Repentance: “And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth”
- Baptism: “and is baptized in my name shall be filled”
- Endurance: “and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.”
- Sanctification/Reception of the Holy Ghost: “therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood,”
- Faith in Christ: “because of their faith,”
- Repentance: “and the repentance of all their sins,”
- Endurance: “and their faithfulness unto the end.”
- Repentance: “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth,”
- Faith in Christ: “and come unto me”
- Baptism: “and be baptized in my name,”
- Reception of the Holy Ghost: “that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost,”
- Endurance: “that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.”
(See also Ether 4:18, Moroni 7:34)
Christ also repeats the teaching that we shall be judged according to our works. (Verses 14, 15)
This chapter ends with an admonition to the Savior’s disciples, the twelve that he had chosen to lead these people, to “enter in at the strait gate.” This seems like a curious statement for these disciples/leaders, but it is also a reminder that each one of us, brings full humanity to our leadership callings, and we are yet individuals on a mortal journey, having to choose for ourselves every day, even when it appears that we are steeped into our religion.