Sunday, January 24, 2016

D. Todd Christofferson on God's eternal justice and mercy

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (b. January 24, 1945) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace, our failures to live the celestial law perfectly and consistently in mortality can be erased and we are enabled to develop a Christlike character. Justice demands, however, that none of this happen without our willing agreement and participation. It has ever been so. Our very presence on earth as physical beings is the consequence of a choice each of us made to participate in our Father’s plan. Thus, salvation is certainly not the result of divine whim, but neither does it happen by divine will alone. (See D&C 93:29-31.)
"Justice is an essential attribute of God. We can have faith in God because He is perfectly trustworthy. The scriptures teach us that 'God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round' (D&C 3:2) and that 'God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). We rely on the divine quality of justice for faith, confidence, and hope....
"It is compelling evidence of His justice that God has forged the companion principle of mercy. It is because He is just that He devised the means for mercy to play its indispensable role in our eternal destiny. So now, 'justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own' (Alma 42:24)."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "Free Forever To Act For Themselves," Ensign, November 2014, pp. 16-19
Click here to read the full article

If the "gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become," then the Atonement and the grace it provides enable us to move along that path toward the eventual glorious destiny. In the interplay of justice and mercy, that progress occurs beautifully.

It's interesting to ponder the fact that justice really is required for this plan. As Elder Christofferson points out, we are blessed to know that we can trust God's word because justice is one of His "essential attributes" — and we rely on that knowledge of His eternal justice in order to have faith in Him, confidence in His promises, and hope for eternity.

But then Elder Christofferson teaches that it is because He is just and true, that God would ensure the "companion principle of mercy" is also available to us.

But the bottom line is that "none of this [can] happen without our willing agreement and participation." It is eternally up to us to choose to participate fully in God's eternal plan of happiness for us.

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