In the last chapter, Alma spoke, preparing their minds for truth by teaching about the Word of God and faith. Now, Amulek begins to teach the poor Zoramites.
Amulek right away calls them out and says it’s impossible for them to be ignorant of Christ since “I know that these things were taught unto you bountifully before your dissension from among us.” (2)
They’ve asked what they should do because of their afflictions and Amulek says he knows their thoughts, that the “great question which is in your mind is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ.” (5)
He reminds them that Alma has just proved to them through the prophets “that the word is in Christ unto salvation.” (6) Alma called upon Zenos, Zenock and Moses “to prove that these things are true.” (7)
Now Amulek “will testify unto you of myself that these things are true.” He bears a very humble, simple testimony of Christ, that he knows Christ shall come among men and atone for the sins of the world.
For it is expedient [vital] that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.”Alma 34:9
In verse 10, he tells how this won’t be a human sacrifice, “but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.” Those words—infinite and eternal—are incomprehensible to me. But they bring hope unto salvation.
Amulek goes on to tell why it needs to be infinite. A human sacrifice, no matter how lovingly it is done, will not atone for the sins of another. He tells how this great and last sacrifice will fulfil the law of Moses, and “this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.” (14)
Amulek lays out more basic doctrine—simple, saving truths.
And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.”Alma 34:15
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is what gives us the means to have faith. Faith in Him leads us to repentance, with the hope that we will be forgiven and the demands of justice will be met.
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety…therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”Alma 34:16
This is the journey of discipleship we must walk—experiencing mortality, making mistakes since we are human, and seeking to be rescued through this infinite atonement by repenting of our sins and seeking the enabling power of Christ’s atonement to become better. How can we stay on this path?
The journey of discipleship is not an easy one…As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home.
However, we need to ask the Lord for directions along the way. We have to ask some difficult questions, like “What do I need to change?” “How can I improve?” “What weakness needs strengthening?”What Lack I Yet? by Larry R. Lawrence (2015)
Power of Repentance
Amulek now urges them to seek true change through the power of repentance.
Exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you.
Yea, cry unto him for mercy, for he is mighty to save.
Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.”Alma 34:17-19
Power of Prayer
He tells them to pray everywhere and for everything—in their fields, for their flocks, in their houses, against their enemies, against the devil “who is an enemy to all righteousness.” (23) Pray for your crops, that you may prosper and have increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.”Alma 34:26-27
When Jesus walked the earth, a righteous rich young man who was already keeping the Ten Commandments came to Him, seeking how to become better. He asked the Savior, “What lack I yet?”
Jesus answered immediately, giving counsel that was intended specifically for the rich young man. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and…come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
The young man was stunned; he had never considered such a sacrifice. He was humble enough to ask the Lord but not faithful enough to follow the divine counsel he was given. We must be willing to act when we receive an answer.”What Lake I Yet? by Larry R. Lawrence (2015)
Do I pray sincerely, with faith to act upon whatever God tells me to do, even if it is hard or difficult, which it probably will be?
But there are times when we are in dark, lowly places in our lives, and maybe we don’t need to ask What we lack at those times. It would probably only depress us more, since we are very capable of seeing what we lack in those dark times. For those times, we can take a different approach to our prayers.
The Spirit can show us our weaknesses, but He is also able to show us our strengths. Sometimes we need to ask what we are doing right so that the Lord can lift and encourage us….He rejoices every time we take a step forward. To Him, our direction is ever more important than our speed.”What Lack I Yet? by Larry R. Lawrence (2015)
When we make good use of the tools of repentance and prayer, we can be lifted out of despair and be set on the path to becoming more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I have learned that where there is a prayerful heart, a hungering after righteousness, a forsaking of sins, and obedience to the commandments of God, the Lord pours out more and more light until there is finally power to pierce the heavenly veil….A person of such righteousness has the priceless promise that one day he shall see the Lord’s face and know that he is.”Spencer W. Kimball, “Give the Lord Your Loyalty,” Ensign, March 1980, 47
What a glorious promise to strive for in our lives.
Repentance and Prayer are priceless gifts we each have. Are we using them, or letting them grow dusty in our lives with non-use?