God has perfect mercy, and God has perfect justice. How?
We discussed this in my Theology I class last fall.
Gen 18:16 says that God will vindicate the righteous, and put His judgement on the wicked. There are five theological implications of God’s justice & righteousness.
- God is right in His nature and His judgements. He is straight and true. He is faithful to Himself, and His self is true and just.
- The wicked will be punished.
- Evil will not triumph. Eventually God will put an end to evil as a whole.
- Oppression will be eliminated and social justice will prevail in the escaton (kingdom). This will not happen in this world, though. Only in the Kingdom…
- God is just, but also the justifier. (Romans 3)
God’s mercy is an attribute of His love. God’s mercy is viewed in Scripture as God’s favored response; His compassion towards His people. Jonah 4:2 says that He is slow to anger, and abounding in love. The New Testament displays this compassion also in Titus 3:5 “He saved us according to His mercy.” He is compassionate because of His love and compassion towards us in spite of who we are, in spite of what we deserve.
Okay, so we see how God judges and how He is merciful. But it’s hard to see or understand how His perfect judgement and His perfect mercy can go together…
Something that helps me put the two together is His long suffering. Take Israel for example (His covenant with them). He continually forgives them, puts up with them, and takes them back (read Hosea, for example). He makes promises that are conditional and promises that are unconditional. God bears with the wickedness of humanity. He isn’t willing to judge quickly (this is His Mercy). His forbearance means that He does not carry out His wrath immediately so that HE can keep His word and His covenant. God bears with wickedness or delays His judgment in order to accomplish His purpose. He allows wickedness to happen and delays His wrath and judgment on wickedness in order that people may come to repentance in Christ (if God automatically laid His wrath right when people did wicked things, none of us would be able to be redeemed). There is an environment worse than the holocaust, and other evils, that is eternity in Hell. He delays these things so that people can come to know Christ and spend eternity with Him. To me, this shows how those two perfect attributes of His nature work perfectly together.
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