The Book of Alma the Son of Alma

Chapter 42

Mortality is a probationary time to enable man to repent and serve God—The Fall brought temporal and spiritual death upon all mankind—Redemption comes through repentance—God Himself atones for the sins of the world—Mercy is for those who repent—All others are subject to God’s justice—Mercy comes because of the Atonement—Only the truly penitent are saved. About 74 B.C.

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

 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of aEden, to till the bground, from whence they were taken—yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, ccherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—

 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed acherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—

 And thus we see, that there was a atime granted unto man to repent, yea, a bprobationary time, a time to repent and serve God.

 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and apartaken of the btree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.

 But behold, it was appointed unto man to adie—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became blost forever, yea, they became cfallen man.

 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were acut off both temporally and spiritually from the bpresence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own cwill.

 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this atemporal death, for that would destroy the great bplan of happiness.

 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the afall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual bdeath as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.

 10 Therefore, as they had become acarnal, sensual, and devilish, by bnature, this cprobationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.

 11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were amiserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.

 12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which aman had brought upon himself because of his own bdisobedience;

 13 Therefore, according to justice, the aplan of bredemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would ccease to be God.

 14 And thus we see that all mankind were afallen, and they were in the grasp of bjustice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

 15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself aatoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of bmercy, to appease the demands of cjustice, that God might be a dperfect, just God, and a emerciful God also.

 16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a apunishment, which also was beternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed copposite to the plan of happiness, which was as deternal also as the life of the soul.

 17 Now, how could a man repent except he should asin? How could he sin if there was no blaw? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?

 18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of aconscience unto man.

 19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man amurdered he should bdie—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?

 20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.

 21 And if there was ano 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 apunishment affixed, and a brepentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the claw, 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 amercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the batonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the cresurrection of the dead; and the dresurrection of the dead bringeth eback men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be fjudged according to their works, according to the law and justice.

 24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also amercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

 25 What, do ye suppose that amercy can rob bjustice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

 26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal apurposes, which were prepared bfrom the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.

 27 Therefore, O my son, awhosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be brestored unto him according to his cdeeds.

 28 If he has desired to do aevil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.

 29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things atrouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

 30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the ajustice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his bmercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in chumility.

 31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to apreach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bbring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.