Divine Justice

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

"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....[i]f God punish sin, it must be merciful to punish sin; and if God forgive sin, it must be just to forgive sin. He cannot be sometimes merciful, and not always merciful. He cannot be just, and not always just."

"Why does God punish sin? Because sin itself deserves punishment? Then how can he tell us to forgive it? Here, then, is the fault with the whole idea: punishment is nowise an offset to sin...If it were an offset to wrong, then God would be bound to punish; but he cannot be, for he forgives. Punishment is not directly for justice, else mercy would involve injustice. Then it is not for the sake of the punishment, as a thing that in itself ought to be done, but as a means to an end, that God punishes."

"God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy it. If he were not the Maker, he might not be bound to destroy sin; but seeing he has created creatures who have sinned, and therefore sin has, by the creating act of God, come into the world, God is, in his own righteousness, bound to destroy sin."

"If there be no satisfaction to justice in the mere punishment of the wrong-doer, what shall we say of the notion of satisfying justice by causing one to suffer who is not the wrong-doer? And what, moreover, shall we say to the notion that, just because he is not the person who deserves to be punished, but is absolutely innocent, his suffering gives perfect satisfaction to the perfect justice?'

The quotes above are from what is perhaps the most influential—and controversial—of  MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons: Justice. Discuss whether or not you agree with him, and any affect these words have had on your life.