JUSTICE AND MERCY HAVE KISSED
Rom. 3:25-26 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Here are two opposite even conflicting aspects of the nature and character of God. God is holy and God is just. It is impossible for sin or any impurity to stand in His presence. At the same time He is merciful. David sang about this mercy, “the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever”. Again in Psalm 104 David declares, “For Your mercy is great above the heavens and Your truth reaches to the clouds”. Of course who can forget Isaiah’s vision of God’s holiness as he saw and heard the angels singing, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory”. So which is it, holiness and justice or goodness and mercy? Of course these are some of the “diverse excellencies” seen in the Lord. This apparent conflict was settled at the cross. God’s justice is satisfied by the judgement of man’s sin in Christ and at the same time mercy extended to whosoever will. What an amazing God! His ways are past us, too deep for human comprehension. Here is Jonathan Edwards’ thoughts about this amazing conflict satisfied at the cross.
“Such diverse excellencies are expressed in him (Christ) towards men, that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object; as particularly these three, justice, mercy and truth. The same that are mentioned, Psalms 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested as in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God’s justice, in that when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honor of that attribute. And as he is the judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict justice; he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked in judgment. And yet, how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been, and are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world: though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life of sinners..”
I love that, justice and mercy have kissed at the cross. Jesus Christ is the just and the justifier. Our sins have been judged and mercy has been extended. There is no message quite like the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cross is central, through it the Lord has demonstrated those supposed conflicting characteristics. At the cross He has revealed His love for justice and His incredible endless mercy.