Is God merciful? Or is God Just?
Is it possible that He is both? How?
You are merciful, Lord!
You are kind and patient
and always loving.
You are good to everyone,
and you take care
of all your creation. Psalm 145.8, 9
We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people. Hebrews 10.30
To begin to understand God we have to get comfortable with this paradox. God is both merciful and Just. As humans we have to choose . . . we feel as though if we are going to be merciful, we have to ignore justice, at least for a while. Likewise, if we are going to be just, we have to say that in this case we leave mercy at the door.
But to understand God is to understand the paradox. God is both left and right, here and there. God always was, and always will be. He is both merciful, and just. Take a look at this passage from Hebrews chapter 4:
The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help (Heb 4:12-16).
As Gods created beings, we are tempted to think that perhaps we need to balance mercy and justice, and not go to either extreme. This is very earth thinking and beautifully logical. But to begin to understand God we must realize that God isn't some magical balancing act. He is both just, and merciful. At the same time! In all things!
Get your head around that, and you might get your head around understanding how amazing God really is.