Reading in Alma one morning proved to be thought provoking. The 42 chapter tells of Alma’s admonition to his son Corianton. Both serving as missionaries, Corianton has struggled to preach the gospel which in turn affects Alma’s ability to gain followers. One of Corianton’s issues is found starting in verse 1:

“And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.”

Not an unusual concern to have. Each person at some point will quesition the justice of God found in the scriptures. I think we question it more when it concerns our salvation, our suffering, the one vice we find difficult to let go. Sometimes we ask, “Will He really keep me out of heaven for gossipping or because I chose to express myself with piercings and tattoos?” To answer yes seems unreasonable and extreme. But Alma continues to explain that because we are human, we are fallen. We will all make mistakes and have weaknesses that do keep us from returning to our Heavenly Father. There are laws that must be kept and when they are not kept, a price must be paid. God is just. He cannot change universal laws, no matter how small they seem. But He can provide a way for us to escape that punishment, which allows Him to apply mercy. This is the role of our Savior’s atonement.

In verse 14-15, we read: “And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”

Without laws, God would cease to be God. The Savior overcame the conflicting issue of justice verses mercy. It may appear cruel that punishment follows small broken commandments but justice must prevail. As we live on this earth, we decide what degree of glory we’ll receive by how obedient we are to the commandments of God. I know that no habit or wordly pleasure is worth risking our eternal happiness. When in doubt, do without! Heavenly Father blesses the faithful but it’s always in equal proportion to their obedience. He will not give you what you do not deserve, and you do not deserve that which you did not live for. Doctrine & Covenants 88:22 states that, “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” Christ surrendered completely to Heavenly Father’s will and He is our example. His call has been and forever will be, “Come follow me.”

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