If a criminal was 100% guilty, a just judge would never simply let him walk away unpunished – that wouldn’t be right, would it? Likewise, God wouldn’t be a just God if He merely turned a blind eye to the rebellion of his treasured creation (us) against Him.
But what about mercy?
James Hamilton writes “Without justice, mercy has no meaning.” Indeed, if we are not aware of what we have been spared from, what is the significance?
Scripture speaks often of God’s justice and mercy together:
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)
God’s mercy is good, but so is His justice.
Hamilton continues – “Justice is God keeping His word and displaying His righteous character. Mercy is God’s is God’s freely pardoning and blessing those who deserve justice. Justice reveals who God is and accentuates the gratuitous splendor of His mercy. ”
Amen! The ultimate way He shows His mercy and Justice is His Son, Jesus. On the cross God both punished sin, and provides the way of mercy. Let us then run to Jesus for healing and restoration, and to be connected back into the glorious purpose we were created for.