Alma 42:25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.
I am uncertain if I understand this. It seems to be contradicting the New Testament (new covenant - God's eternal mercy, turning the other cheek, etc...) message of Jesus regarding forgiveness and returning instead to Old Testament (eye for an eye) values.
Why would God cease to be God?
I understand this verse to mean that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and in Gethsemane met the demands of justice for each of our sins. Mercy can’t rob justice because Christ suffered and served the sentence of our crimes on behalf of us. He would cease to be God if the sentence had not been served by his blood and infinite atonement.
Even though Christ extends mercy to all of us, there are conditions we must meet for his sacrifice to pay our debts.
Only by repenting for our own sinful nature and forgiving all who have harmed us are we able to heal from the crimes/offenses of others.
It’s not as if those who commit heinous crimes have an easy way out.
Even after going through the hell and torment of repentance for our sins, justice would not be served to the person who was harmed by our actions.
Think of a mother who has lost her child to a senseless murder. How can this type of sinner ever meet the demands this mother would need to feel justice has been served? By Christ paying the death penalty on behalf of this murderer for example, justice has been met. If I was the mother of that sinner, I would gladly step in and pay the price for my child’s mistakes, but it would never satisfy the demands the victim needs for justice to be served.
Only a perfect God could serve justice on behalf of another.
It is only because we are all sinners and in need of a Savior our self that the justice we require
is satisfied through the atonement.
Only then can our hearts be healed by the sins of others and filled with mercy and charity for our fellowman.
I recently studied Luke 15
with my children and was overcome with happiness for the good news of Christ’s gospel and His unconditional love.
Christ rejoices more for the person who was lost and returns, the same way we would feel over a lost child.
The story of the lost sheep and Prodigal son teaches us that there is no place in heaven for demanding that another serve justice by an eternity in hell or a lower kingdom of heaven for not living as faithfully to the gospel as we did. The older son in the parable was angry and bitter when his father celebrated his wild brother’s repentance and homecoming. He felt that after all his steadfastness in living by the rules, that he deserved more of a reward than his brother.
We must rejoice with Christ when any sinner comes home, just as the father did for his rebellious child.
The older brother in the Prodigal son represents many of the self righteous Pharisaical believers I’ve seen who feel entitled to a higher kingdom of glory for their religious works.
They are the types to feel mercy has robbed justice, when a repentent sinner is given the same place in heaven as the faithful saint who "endured to the end."