Justice. It’s a word that conjures up images of a gaunt faced, steely eyed, black-robed, no nonsense judge handing down the sentence. The criminal got what he deserved. No love lost here. Now we can move on with our lives. Justice was served.
We love it – especially if you are a diehard conservative. After all we are a nation of laws! We love Justice. We want judges who will hand it out according to the letter of the law.
There’s little to no place for mercy in our system.
Until we are the one standing before the Judge.
I have yet to read of anyone, conservative or liberal, asking the judge to give them what they deserved. Most, perhaps all, are hoping for the lightest possible sentence. Hoping for mercy.
To be honest, we only want justice for those we have predetermined are unworthy.
But that includes all of us.
According to the highest court in the universe, we are all unworthy – we are all guilty. There is not one innocent person, not even one (Romans 3:10). All are guilty and have come woefully short of keeping the law of God (Romans 3:23). While I’ve paraphrased those two passages, I don’t think that I’ve violated the meaning. In fact, I think this is exactly what they mean.
Somehow when we’re faced with our own guilt before God the righteous judge, our demand for justice changes into something else. We’re not so conservative now. Truthfully, we hope for a giant helping of liberal mercy.
If we were to get justice we know where we would spend eternity. I’m not talking about heaven.
But God is not only Just, He is also the Justifier (Romans 3:26). In His Justice He deals with our sin. As the Justifier He forgives our sin. And it’s all because of Jesus.
God made it possible for our sin to be assumed by another (1 Peter 3:18) and for anyone who will put their faith in Jesus to stand before him in complete innocence (2 Corinthians 5:21).
His is a hard Justice. But it’s a justice tempered by mercy.
Justice without mercy is cruel. Justice tempered by mercy gives hope.
Thankfully God knows what we struggle to understand. That Justice and Mercy can walk hand in hand.
Stay in the Word