Justice

Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy; for thou renderest to every man according to his work.
— Psalm 62 v.12

I will tell you what I believe: I believe in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, my elder brother, my lord and master; I believe that he has a right to my absolute obedience whereinsover I know or shall come to know his will; that to obey him is to ascend the pinnacle of my being; that not to obey him would be to deny him. I believe that he died that I might die like him—die to any ruling power in me but the will of God—live ready to be nailed to the cross as he was, if God will it. I believe that he is my Savior from myself, and from all that has come of loving myself, from all that God does not love, and would not have me love—all that is not worth loving; that he died that the justice, the mercy of God, might have its way with me, making me just as God is just, merciful as he is merciful, perfect as my father in heaven is perfect. I believe and pray that he will give me what punishment I need to set me right, or keep me from going wrong. I believe that he died to deliver me from all meanness, pretense, falseness, unfairness, cowardice, fear, anxiety, self-love, all trust or hope in possession; to make me merry as a child, the child of our father in heaven, loving nothing but what is lovely, desiring nothing I should be ashamed to let the universe of God see me desire. I believe that God is just like Jesus, only greater yet, for Jesus said so; that he is absolutely, grandly beautiful, with the beauty that creates beauty, not merely shows it; that he has always done, is always doing his best for every man; that he is not a God to crouch before, but our father, to whom the child-heart cries exultant, “Do with me as thou wilt.”

Commentary

by Jess Lederman

If, as in some science fiction movie, I was told that all memory of the writings of George MacDonald would be erased from my brain, save for one passage, this would be the passage I would choose to retain. While MacDonald and C.S. Lewis diverge on some matters--most notably, on the likelihood that any soul could forever resist the love of God (though Lewis, in The Great Divorce, paints the Scotsman as coming around to his way of thinking in the afterlife)--either of them might have written the line above, "[Jesus] died that I might die like him--die to any ruling power in me but the will of God..." This is much the same thought as Lewis expresses in the chapter entitled The Perfect Penitent in Mere Christianity. One reason I love this passage is that it shows how theology, "done right," is never abstract, never merely academic, but rather of immediate, urgent importance to our everyday lives. Jesus' work is not finished; while He defeated death on the Cross, his death both requires much of me, and enables me to accomplish everything it requires. Like Peter and the other fishermen who became His disciples, like the rich young ruler who asked what he must do to gain eternal life, we, too, are asked to give up everything else, if need be, to follow Him. We must die daily to ourselves, die to everything other than the will of God! 

This passage sounds another of MacDonald's core themes: the child-heart of God that must be born in us if we are to be saved.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
— Matthew 18:3

Indeed, this theme is so important that it is the subject of the first of the thirty-six Unspoken Sermons, The Child in the Midst. We must trust in God and delight in Him as a little child trusts and delights in a loving father. What more wonderful reward than to know that God wishes me to be "merry as a child!"