Alma 42:21-24 (#262)
Why is Alma 42:23 such a “tender” and “hopeful” verse?
21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
All of us have made wrong turns along the way. I believe the kind and merciful God, whose children we are, will judge us as lightly as He can for the wrongs that we have done and give us the maximum blessing for the good that we do…
Of vital importance is resolving transgression, experiencing the healing process which comes of repentance. As President Kimball reminds us: “The principle of repentance—of rising again whenever we fall, brushing ourselves off, and setting off again on that upward trail—is the basis for our hope. It is through repentance that the Lord Jesus Christ can work his healing miracle, infusing us with strength when we are weak, health when we are sick, hope when we are downhearted, love when we feel empty, and understanding when we search for truth.”
One of the tender stories of the Book of Mormon takes place when Alma speaks to his son Corianton, who has fallen into transgression while on a mission to the Zoramites. As he counsels him to forsake his sin and turn again to the Lord, he learns that Corianton is worried about what will happen to him in the Resurrection. There follows a detailed treatment of the probationary state of this life, of justice versus mercy, and God’s plan for our happiness in the hereafter, culminating in [the verse found in Alma 42:23].
President James E. Faust