Jacob testifies in this chapter, like his brother Nephi and his father, about the promises made to the people who live on this land (the American Continent). He talks about how it will be a land of liberty to the Gentiles (the immigrants to America). He also states that this land is a choice land above all other lands and that those who possess it must worship God.
If we fail to worship God, then we will be brought into captivity (2 Nephi 1:7). President Marion G. Romney gave a talk in October of 1975 entitled America's Destiny. He began the talk with a question, "Can we maintain our basic freedoms, peace and prosperity for another 200 years?" The nation, at that time, was preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Later in that talk he said something very noteworthy,
"The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that this “is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity” (Ether 2:9).If we are to maintain our freedoms, then we, as a nation, must worship God and live rightesously.
Reconciliation with God
The other point in this chapter that Jacob makes is about reconciliation. The definition of reconciliation is, “to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent.” I think a synonym could be “align.” In verse 24, Jacobs counsels us to reconcile ourselves to the will of God and not to the will of the devil. As I thought about this verse, it simply made sense to me. I have reconciled our bank statement to our own records many times. At work, I've reconciled our records with our actual inventory. It is not an easy process. It involves consistent comparing of what really is to what I think there is and then if there is a disagreement, a change is required. And always, the change will be made to the records, not the actual inventory. In spiritual terms, I need to compare what the will of the Father is to what my will is. If there is a disagreement, then it is I who needs to change. This will not happen just once. As with the bank statement and the inventory count, the reconciliation should be done regularly and often.
Salvation and Grace
In the second half of verse 24, Jacobs then counsels that only after we have reconciled ourselves to the will of God will we qualify for the grace of God to take over. We have heard many times that “we do all that we can do – however insufficient it may be – then will God take over and save us.” It is his grace that saves us. At the same time, if we did not do our part, we would not be saved either. We benefit from this deal, for what God requires is far more insignificant to what we will inherit if we do our part. But, if we truly reconcile ourselves to God’s will or align our will to God’s will, then we will be saved by His grace.
I am grateful for the Gospel and the atonement. I know that I am nothing. I truly stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. I have sinned many times in my life and I need the atonement to rectify what I have done wrong. I hope and pray that I will remember this verse at all times. This teaching is a powerful teaching and if I but remember it and think about it, I will not go astray as often as I do.