Often times I'll get thinking about what I'm going to read in the scriptures, and a book, chapter and verse will come distinctly into my head. That's what just happened with this one. I hope this post helps someone, besides myself. :)
17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be ano other name given nor any other way nor means whereby bsalvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the cLord Omnipotent.
Yesterday I read an online news article (dated back from 4/26/12) about a man who went into a grocery store in Utah, and began stabbing random people with a knife. After he had harmed many people, a man who was carrying a gun pointed it at the stabber and yelled for him to stop, which he did. I commented on a friend's Nerdbook wall that that guy likely saved lots of lives by having a gun with him. It occurred to me that it was not proper to write that he "saved lives", but I did it anyways. How else would you phrase that?
It's funny/cool that this verse is what came to mind when I sat down at my computer to write. I had started editing a post on 1 Nephi 1:16, (which is long overdue), but Mosiah 3:17 came to mind. When I read the verse, it all made sense.
The man prepared with the gun did not save those lives. God did.
I'd like to know what passed through the gun carrier's mind that day. Does he always carry a gun? What prompted him to be certified to carry? Did the Spirit lead him in years of preparation, to take proper classes on how to hold, safely carry, and properly NOT use it? He clearly used self restraint, as my friend who passed the story (and is a cop) said he would have shot the man if it had been him. (And in his state, he would have been legally allowed to do so.) The gun carrier clearly listened to the Spirit that day. He was well prepared, well controlled, and no doubt inspired by God. I don't care what god he may or may not serve; I know God was the "salvation" of those lives.
It also makes me wonder what the shoppers in the store were thinking. Were they praying for their safety, once they realized what was going on? Will they survive their wounds? Were the prayers of parents, brothers, and sisters answered? Are those wounded now drawing closer to God, or instead blaming him for the madman's use of agency?
It's interesting that in Mosiah 3:17, King Benjamin tells us ever so clearly, that salvation is the Lord Omnipotent's. We can choose to believe in him, or rely on our own "arm" for our safety. I believe the gun carrier was prepared by God, as the Nephites so often were. This story is simply referring to a temporal salvation of the grocery shopper's mortal lives. But in an eternal sense, it is only in and through Christ that we are saved.