Christ Truly is Merciful

Christ is Merciful


We must of course teach our children to obey the commandments of God. Furthermore, we must teach them that Christ is the author of the law, and that there is no other name under heaven by which they can be saved. But we must not teach them that they will be saved by mere obedience to the law and the commandments. It is inevitable that they will not keep all the commandments, and unless they are taught that they can still be saved through repentance, through turning to their Savior, the most fundamental teaching of the gospel, they will not truly “get it.” 

This is an excerpt of Pearls from the Plates by Karl Nehring.

Indeed, in my own personal experience of grappling with my sins, and in my experience as bishop in helping others to grapple with their sins, I have found that one of the most difficult concepts for many Saints to grasp is that they can be forgiven, that Christ truly is merciful. I have found that in our emphasis on keeping the commandments—and I am in no way denying or belittling the importance of keeping the commandments—we can forget about the power of repentance. 

We realize that we have sinned, and we see that no matter how many  commandments we do keep, we have not been able to keep all of the commandments all of the time. In truth, we may come to feel that we can never hope to keep them all. If we are not mindful of the power of repentance, and the mercy of the Lord, we will find ourselves in the unenviable position of discovering for ourselves the deadness of the law while at the same time concluding that the deadness of the law means that we ourselves are dead—and without hope. What a sad state of affairs! 

Recall that Joseph Smith was enjoined by the Lord to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation” (D&C 6:9). We sometimes think that means that he was supposed to continually call on the wicked to repent, but as we read the Book of Mormon, we can come to see that repentance is not just for “the wicked,” it is for all of us. Repentance is not just about justice, it is even more so about mercy. We need not only to call people to repentance, but to preach to them about repentance, which means that we need to teach and testify of the grace, mercy, and atoning sacrifice of the Lord. 

This is an excerpt of Pearls from the Plates by Karl Nehring.

We must come to realize that the Lord has instructed His prophets ancient and modern to call upon His people to repent, but that He has done so out of love, in hope that we will return to Him and be made whole. As Nephi declares: 

2 Nephi 26:25. Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. 

Does the Lord ask any to depart? No. Will all be saved? No, not all will be saved; only those who repent and come unto Christ—only those who accept His loving invitation. Again, the charge we have been given to call people to repentance is not a charge intended to drive people away; it is instead a charge for us to invite the world to come unto Christ.

This is an excerpt of Pearls from the Plates by Karl Nehring.