How can “casting out devils” in Christ’s name be a work of “iniquity?”
The commandment at the front end is to not take the Lord’s name in vain. (Exo. 20: 7.) The result at the back end is revealed here. Take care in how you presume your acts are in harmony with Him. Until He speaks to you, and affirms that you have a work to do for Him, you may only be working iniquity.
When the message comes from a true prophet, you can know the message, along with those who heed it, and the messenger will survive the burning which is to come, because they are purged by repentance and can abide the day of wrath.
3 Nephi 14: 13-14:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
This is re-affirmation of man’s tendency to reject the right way. The narrowness of it requires surrender of the selfish, parting with pride and sacrifice of self-will.
Many prefer their ignorance to light. Therefore, they will not draw toward the light when it is revealed to them. Without drawing closer to the light they cannot comprehend what the Lord is teaching. It makes no sense to them. For it requires light to comprehend light. Therefore unless a person is willing to increase in light they are left in darkness and unable to apprehend any of what saves them. It remains a mystery to them.
The way to darkness is broad and easy. It requires no effort. It welcomes you. It tempts you with its ease. Because there are “many who go in thereat” it is also popular. When, therefore, you take opinion polling and focus group testing as the measure of a proposition you are only joining to the wide, broad way which will be popular.
Truth challenges. It requires change. It informs you of your faults and mistakes. It is difficult because you are called to rise above what the world is doing, what the world is saying and what the world accepts as good and true. This tendency to want to be popular can twist you away from truth quicker than any other corrupting influence here. This is why Nephi cautioned about the latter-day churches which crave popularity and acceptance. (1 Nephi 22: 23.)
There will only be a “few who find it.” Even in the day in which we live, the measure will always be “few.” Not in a relative sense, but in an absolute sense. Few. Period. Only a small number.
Looking down through the ages, speaking with the vision of a prophet, the number of those who, living in the last days would have the Father’s name upon their forehead, were only 144,000. (Rev. 7: 3-4.) Though from all ages the number would be in the millions. (Rev. 7: 9, 13-14.) Still, we live in the time when a living number who are prepared for the return of Christ will be but few in an absolute sense. (D&C 77: 11.) Even if they have wives and children, yet the number will remain but few.
It is foolish to believe the conditions for salvation are any different for you than they were for Enoch, Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, Elijah, Peter or Joseph. This Gospel is the same. Always and in every generation it is the same. The odds are that but few of those who are living will go in thereat. All the opinion polling to test for popular acceptance of a message cannot deliver a message from God to mankind. It can only entice you to the broad, wide gate “which leadeth to destruction.”
The Lord could not be more plain. The teachings which preceded this statement are His invitation. Here He gives His prophetic description of the audience’s response. From all those who will read or hear His words, every soul will be accountable. From among those, like you, who are accountable, there will be but “few who find it.”
Why is that so? What is so important about the world’s acceptance that a fool will treasure it before their own salvation? What can the world offer in exchange that you tempt you to give your soul? (Matt. 16: 26.) How many will lament when the summer is passed, the harvest has come, that their soul has not been saved. (D&C 45: 2.)
This is a sobering remark by the forgiving Lord. He invites all to come to Him. But He is realistic about how few will respond. It requires repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and living by every word which comes from Him. It is strait and therefore narrow. But it lies in a straight path before you. You can know you are on it when you encounter the gate-keeper, for He has no servant there. He alone maintains that gate through which entry to salvation is gained. (2 Nephi 9: 41.)
Study, therefore, to show yourself approved. (2 Tim. 2: 15.)
When a person treats the information in an appropriate way, they “prove” themselves (Abraham 3: 25) worthy of weightier information to be given them. (D&C 132: 20-21.) Then they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart, only according to the heed and diligence which another should give to the word. (Alma 12:9.)
Entrusting the things that are in truth “most sacred” to those who are not qualified will arouse their anger. They will “turn and rend you” because you have shown them something which excites their envy, jealousy, hatred and fear. They know you have something they lack. They resent you because of what they cannot easily obtain. Therefore, you must measure carefully what you give to others. The final arbiter of the decision to impart is not made by you, it is made by the Lord.
This does not make us better than another, it makes us whole. It allows the Lord to forgive us for our own, much greater offenses against Him. For when we are generous, we merit His Divine generosity. It is how we are healed. It is the means for our own salvation. Instead of thinking ourselves better than an offender, we should look upon them with gratitude for they provide the means to obtain salvation– provided we give them forgiveness from all their offenses. This is why we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad. (3 Nephi 12: 10-12.) They enable us to obtain salvation by despitefully using us, as long as we measure them by the same standard that allows God to forgive us.