Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy; for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

— Psalm 62 v.12

Even without the material rectification of a wrong when that is impossible, repentance removes the offence which no suffering could. I should even feel that the gift the thief had made me, giving into my heart a repentant brother, was infinitely beyond the restitution of what he had taken from me. If it be objected, “You may forgive, but the man has sinned against God,” I answer, then it is not a part of the divine to be merciful, and a man may be more mercifiul than his maker! “Mercy may be against justice.” Never—if you mean by justice what I mean. If anything be against justice, it cannot be called mercy, for it is cruelty. “To thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy, for thou renderest every man according to his work.” There is no opposition, no strife whatever, between mercy and justice. Those who say justice means the punishment of sin, and mercy the not punishing of sin, and attribute both to God, would make a schism in the very idea of God. Which brings me to the question, what is meant by divine justice?

Human justice may be a poor distortion, a mere shadow of justice; but the justice of God must be perfect. If you ask the average congregation what is meant by it, would not 19 out of 20 answer that it means his punishing of sin? Yet a Roman emperor might punish every wrong and be the most unjust of men. God is one; and the depth of foolishness is reached by that theology which represents God as having to do that as a magistrate which as a father he would not do! The love of the father makes him desire to be unjust as judge!


by James House

To love God - to truly and fully love Him, I believe that you must fully believe that he is indeed all-loving, all-just, and all-merciful.  Without a complete belief in that, my postulation is that you must be left with a view of a God who is at least partially, if not significantly warped and distorted, inconsistent and incongruent, arbitrary and preferential.  In other words, you must be left with a view of a God whom your very soul cannot fully trust and therefore love.  Likewise, if you can believe that God is all-loving, all-just, and all merciful, then you will inevitably come to love him fully.  

Look at the evidences of God around us: the countless creations that testify of his love, and you will feel that love.  As you stand on an overlook of the setting or rising sun,  as you lay beneath a tree gazing up through its leaves, translucent from dazzling sun light, or as you dangle your feet in a cool stream and listen to the song of birds or insects - can you not, have you not felt His love?  His creations sing His praises continuously, and we are endowed with the capacity to feel the signature of his love left upon all of them.

Trust that feeling, that assurance of God's love.  Use that love to put his Son's words into practice - to serve and love your neighbors.  As you do, you will gain, bit-by-bit, new insights into the beautiful balance between justice and mercy - and come to see that they are both halves of his perfect love.  You will be able to trust that his justice and mercy are perfect.  That neither you nor anyone will be "let off" from error without having paid the last necessary farthing - nor without being given the opportunity to learn the greatest wisdom and gain the greatest good from the error.  And that each good that we do will be rewarded with joy and greater capacity for doing more.

God is so powerful that he is able to make even great goods result from terrible evils committed by his children.  Isn't it marvelous that he gives us such liberty, such opportunity to actually be and become more fully his children?

"Nothing can satisfy the justice of God but justice in his creature. The justice of God is the love of what is right, and the doing of what is right. Eternal misery in the name of justice could satisfy none but a demon whose bad laws had been broken."   (from What's Mine's Mine)

"All kindness is but justice. We owe it."    (from At the Back of the North Wind)