Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Alma 42:26-27

"And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world.  And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
Therefore, O my son, whosoever 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 restored unto him according to his deeds."
Alma 42:26-27

As I read this, what strikes me the most heavily is free agency.  God doesn't arbitrarily assign some people punishment and some people reward.  It is all before us, and we choose exactly what our reward will be in the end.  Salvation or misery.  It explains in a previous verse that mercy cannot rob justice... which makes sense.  It would be an insane universe if people who have worked their whole lives to help others received the same reward as serial killers.  But then, if we are tending towards the bad side of the spectrum, it looks pretty bad for us if we're going to be rewarded according to our deeds... which is why mercy exists.  Repentance saves the day... if we are sincere and actually willing to change our lives in a permanent way.
I really like the second verse in this selection.  Anyone can come and partake of the waters of life.  It isn't an exclusive club.  It isn't reserved for a special subset of the population.  Anyone can come and partake.  But God will force no one.  I think sometimes we wish he would compel us, because it is hard to bend our own wills and get ourselves to live the right way.  Reeks of effort. :)  But if we threw free agency out the door, then the whole plan would fall apart too.  We wouldn't have the same potential to become so much more than we are.  It's hard sometimes, yes.  But overwhelmingly worth it in the end.  Today, let's choose redemption over destruction and  long-term happiness over long-term misery.  Let's choose to partake of the waters of life.  Let's talk to God about our lives... we can repent and get our lives on track.  Let's stop doing bad deeds, and do more good deeds.  It's hard, but never impossible, with God's help.

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