Curse these computers!!! 😉 I wrote a completely different post on my phone, and for whatever reason, it didn’t update on the site before I published it. My apologies! What follows is the post that I originally intended.
On a walk yesterday, I had a wonderful discussion with some friends about modernistic and post-modernistic movements and the arts. One of the most interesting parts of the discussion was about a musical that teaches the recently well-worn concept about human existence – that “good guys” do bad things and “bad guys” do good things. This is not a new concept, and an argument that is very often used to “justify” a person’s standing – “well, those guys did this and they’re supposed to be good, so I’m okay”.
This mentality breeds complacency and will never be a worthwhile argument until this idea is added to the conversation – that the only difference between a Saint and a Sinner is that one continually repents and works on forsaking sins, while the other doesn’t.
After all we are told –
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23).
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy (Mosiah 4:19).
When I taught Seminary, I found a scripture that taught me an amazing principle about the atonement – And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day (2 Nephi 33: 12, emphasis added).
That phrase – “if not all” seemed to leap out of the page at me. All of us…everyone could be saved by the atonement of Christ – he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile (2 Nephi 26:33). The only thing that can keep one out of the Kingdom of God is his or her own choice. It’s a question of the heart and humility.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel (Article of Faith #3, emphasis added).
That’s why it is vital to finish out the conversation about “good guys” doing bad and “bad guys” doing good. Because Saints are only considered “good guys” because they continue to go to God and continue to try to be good despite (sometimes often) falling short. A sinner does not, but the good news of the gospel is that a sinner can become a Saint any day of the week.