Thursday, April 21, 2005

How Mercy and Justice Work Together

I will sing of mercy and justice:
To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
(Psalm 101:1)
Mercy and justice are not in competition. In fact, they work together. The justice of God is what sets things right, and it is a good thing. Of course, if you are on the wrong side of God’s justice, you might not think it so wonderful.

But that’s where the mercy of God steps in. The Hebrew word for “mercy” is hesed (or chesed, with the guttural kh sound). God’s hesed is His steadfast love and mercy. It is the love with which He has covenanted to be always be good to His people. It matches the agape love of the New Testament.

Here is how God’s mercy and justice work together:
  • The justice of God comes and sets things right
  • The mercy of God comes and sets you on the right side of His justice.
God’s mercy and justice come together in the Lord Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon Himself and nailed them to the Cross. Mercy and justice have both now been satisfied in the Lord Jesus, and we receive this through faith in Him.

No wonder, then, that David says, “I will sing of mercy and justice.” Together they come and set things right for you and me — and position us to receive blessing. In other words, God’s mercy means that it is just and right for God to bless us now. So David gladly becomes the minstrel who sings of both mercy and justice.

David quickly adds, “To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.” You see, mercy and justice are all about God. They begin out of His initiative and out of His goodness. It is God’s nature to do right and to set things right — that’s the holiness of God. But it is also God’s nature to show mercy to His wayward people — that’s the love of the God who is love.

Today is the day to sing of God’s mercy AND His justice, for they are both for your benefit and blessing. Sing praises to the LORD who has covenanted to love you forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord.