The justice and mercy of God

Many people in our world cry out for justice. More than 3 million people in the world have been imprisoned without trial. Autocratic leaders in China and Russia silence all dissent, arresting and imprisoning political opponents and denying them justice. In China more than a million Uyghur Muslims are detained in ”re-education” camps” and hundreds of thousands are in prison. In Afghanistan religious fanatics deny freedom of religion to those of other faiths and human rights to women. President Putin has started an unjust war against the people of Ukraine.

It may seem as if evil people will “get away” with their actions. Few are likely to appear before the International Criminal Court. But God, who has given us his moral law, will ensure that one day everyone will give an account of what they have done in this life. The Bible says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The Judge of all the earth will do right. Justice will be done and will be seen to be done.

God’s moral law is written on our hearts. We all know what is right, but do not do it. Immanuel Kant, the 18th century German philosopher said, “Two things fill me with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely my mind and thoughts are drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” God has given unmistakeable evidence of his existence and his character to all people. Do the stars in the vast universe and the voice of conscience fill you with wonder and awe?

In the cross of Jesus, his eternal Son, God revealed his total commitment both to justice and to mercy. Jesus lived a perfect life but died on the cross to take away our sins. His death fully the just and righteous demands of God. He died that sinful people like you and me might be reconciled to God. The hymn writer William Rees wonderfully expresses how God’s perfect justice and amazing love are revealed in the death of Jesus: “Here is love, vast as the ocean, loving kindness as a flood when the prince of life, our ransom, shed for us his precious blood. Who his love will not remember, who can cease to sing his praise? He can never be forgotten, throughout heaven’s eternal days. On the mount of crucifixion, fountains opened deep and wide; through the floodgates of God’s mercy, flowed a vast and gracious tide. Grace and love, like mighty rivers, poured incessant from above, and heaven’s peace and perfect justice, kissed a guilty world in love.”