This meaty chapter has covered a lot. Alma first turned the minds of his people to the past, to remember all that the Lord had done for them. He then gave them a spiritual checklist to help gauge their own state before God.
Now, he gives them a key to always retain a remission of their sins. They must not only use that spiritual checklist once, but over and over again.
And now behold, I say unto you my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”Alma 5:26
- Do I walk blameless before God? (27) Daily repentance makes this possible, because of our Savior.
- Am I sufficiently humble? Enough so that I reach out and utilize the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
- Am I stripped of pride? If not, I’m not prepared to meet God. (28)
- We must “prepare quickly” to be ready for the Lord’s second coming. (28)
- Am I stripped of envy? (29)
- Do I mock others? (30) Even if only in my thoughts? If so, I’m not prepared to meet God.(31)
Repentance – A Gift
Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.”Alma 5:32-33
Repentance isn’t punishment. It’s an invitation from Christ to come unto Him and be healed and strengthened. It’s a blessing to partake of His mercy.
The Good Shepherd
Alma tells his people that if they aren’t following God, they’re following the devil. The Good Shepherd calls to us in “his own name…which is the name of Christ.” (38)
And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, or what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd and ye are of his fold; and now who can deny this?
For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God and whosoever is evil cometh from the devil.”Alma 5:39-40
How to Know Truth
Alma says the things he has taught them are true, and he tells them how he knows these spiritual truths for themselves.
And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now, I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.”Alma 5:45-46
Alma did the work necessary to gain a testimony.
- Am I willing to work to gain revelation from God on how to live?
- Am I willing to fast and pray much, study God’s words through scripture and living prophets?
- Am I willing to repent and forgive, so I am holy and can receive the Holy Ghost as my companion?
Witness of Jesus Christ
Because of the spiritual work he has done to gain a testimony, Alma’s faith in Jesus Christ is strong. He bears witness of the Savior.
…I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.”Alma 5:48
Alma calls his people to repentance repeatedly in the next few verses, inviting them to return to their God. That is why Christ came to the earth and sacrificed Himself for us, to overcome death and sin, that we might live. Repentance is how we show we have chosen Him, not the devil.
Alma tells them to stop treating others poorly. Stop mistreating the weak and needy. Give of what they have to others, to bless and lift.
Can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist I the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?”Alma 5:53
Thinking we are better than others is a sure sign we need repentance. (54) Helping the poor and needy is a sign of humility and a healthy heart. Alma ends with a command and an invitation.
I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.”Alma 5:62
Am I taking advantage of this command and invitation to repent and come unto my Savior? If not, what could I change to more fully turn to Him?