JUSTICE? MERCY? WHICH IS IT?

MALACHI 2:17
You have wearied the LORD with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”
In that you say,
“Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the LORD,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

OBSERVATION: Is God a God of justice or mercy…or both? We make a great error when we emphasize only one aspect of God’s nature. If we say He is only “Justice” then we view the Lord as an austere judge who is waiting to lower the boom upon us whenever we fail. If we say His is only “Mercy” then we dismiss the call to righteousness and excuse both our sin and the sin of others. What is the answer?

The answer is in understanding that the Lord is perfectly both! He is all merciful, and He is righteous in judgment. This means that sin has consequences – for everyone. We cannot dismiss the consequences of sin by appealing to the mercy of God. We cannot presume upon God’s mercy and simply live the way we want to without any repercussions. This is what is being addressed in this verse. The children of Israel, and many today, make the great error of presuming upon the grace of God and leading others into error believing that they can sin with impunity.

If sin had no consequences, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the judgment that was justly levied against mankind for their sin. The God of Justice showed His great Mercy when He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world. Sin still has the same consequences in life, but now we have an advocate. Through faith in Jesus Christ we enter into the provisions of God’s Mercy and the forgiveness of sin. This is only realized when we fully acknowledge both the “Justice” and “Mercy” of God together. The turning point is “repentance”!

Repentance acknowledges that God is just and we are deserving of punishment. It turns from what we have been both practicing and approving and calls upon the mercy of God that is found in the Cross of Christ! Repentance is a turning from sin and a turning to God. It never makes sin “okay”, and it never diminishes the “justice” of God. It stands in awe of the great sacrifice that was paid so that we could be partakers of His Mercy. Through repentance we enter into a “New Life”, we receive a “New Heart”, and through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit – WE ARE CHANGED! We no longer live as we once did, we now live for the One who gave Himself freely and completely so that we could escape the righteous “Judgment” of God and enter fully into His “Mercy”!

Lord, help me to affirm fully Your “Mercy” and Your “Justice”. Let me not lead myself or others in error by suggesting that sin has no consequences, that we can simply live our lives as we please and presume upon Your Mercy. Help me to walk in the fulness of Your Holy Spirit, affirming Mercy and Truth in all that I do. Let the understanding of Your Justice and Mercy compel my heart to reach out to others with Your Love and call them to repentance and the Kingdom of God! In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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