When we talk about the attributes of God, we’re not talking about things He does, we are talking about who He is. God is not just merciful, He is Mercy! Just as God is justice, He is Just! Justice is giving someone what they deserve. Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve. Grace is giving what someone doesn’t deserve also. So, how can God be just and merciful at the same time?
Psalm 89:14 – Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.
Psalm 101:1 – I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
Isaiah 30:18 – Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
The Father Is Completely Just
God is not “part” just and part mercy. Whatever God is, as in just, He is complete, fully just. Keep in mind that justice is giving what’s deserved. God is not like us because we have parts. We can be partially just, but then sometimes partially merciful. That’s not God. God is fully just and fully merciful. Don’t we all hope God’s mercy is a little stronger or bigger when it comes to dealing with us? God’s mercy is abundant already, but at the same time so is His justice.
Ezekiel 18:25 – “Yet you say, ‘The way of the LORD is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? (not just) (Verse 26) “When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.
(Verse 27) “Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. (Verse 28) “Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (Verse 29) “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the LORD is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?”
The word “fair” in Hebrew means “morally equal.” When the Bible talks about the justice of God, it’s talking about the moral quality of God. However, none of us are morally equal with God. As a matter of fact, we are born “unequal.”
So how do we understand God’s justice? We believe in a court system that the prosecutor puts all the evidence in their case on one side of the scale and then the defense puts their case on the other side of the scales. And whichever one has the better case of evidence, that tips the scales. That is not justice and that is not what the word justice means.
Here is actually what happens on the scale of justice with God: The prosecutor, the enemy, Satan, puts all of their evidence on one side of the scale, then the defense, you and me, put all of our evidence on the same side of the scale. Now all the evidence, together, is weighed against “justice” which is on the other side of the scale. If the person is innocent, then the scale is equal. Justice will say they are either guilty or innocent.
How does all this relate to us? It’s not only God’s mercy that believers get to go to heaven, but its’ also God’s justice that believers get to go to heaven! So many misunderstand when they think that God is going to put all of our “good” on one side of the scale and all of our “bad” on the other side of the scale. And then hopefully a believer will have more good that outweighs the bad. That is not the right way of thinking.
God puts all of my good and bad on one side of the scale and the Father steps on the other side of the scale. Do we honestly think all of our good can tip that scale when the Father is standing on the other side? No! Our goodness can never outweigh the Father’s love or mercy or justice! There is nothing any of us could ever do to meet God’s moral standards. So if we are born again, blood-bought by the blood of Jesus, Jesus steps on the scales on our side and the scales become “Equal.” That’s how and why believers get to go to heaven!
The justice of God sentences us to “Heaven!” Jesus took our place and when we ask Him in, He is in all believers on that side of the scale with us and justice is done. We are forgiven and declared innocent! Justice was done, Jesus died in yours and my place and because He died, we get to live and go to heaven.
God Is Completely Merciful
God is mercy. That tells me that mercy had no beginning. And mercy will have no end. And because God is infinite, no limits, no boundaries, mercy has no limits and no boundaries. That tells me that any person no matter how evil or wicked can receive the mercy of God! Think about this: God’s mercy will never increase and will never decrease. It’s perfect because God is perfect!
Psalm 136:1 – Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Verse 2) Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. (Verse 3) Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever.
The entire Psalm, after each saying ends with “His mercy endures forever! It has no limits and has no boundaries! God’s mercy does not start and stop. It’s fully in effect always. In many places, the definition of mercy is “to have compassion.” That definition in no way compares the full extent of God’s mercy. God’s mercy didn’t change from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Jesus knew that if He would die, we would live! This was the only way that the justice and mercy of God could operate together! Jesus took our hand, put our hand in the Father’s hand, left heaven and said, “I’ll arrange it!”