For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
ascribe greatness to our God!
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
When we are wronged we want justice, but when we do wrong we want mercy. So how can this God whom Moses declares by saying that all of his ways are justice show us not just mercy but also pour out his grace into our lives? In this passage we also see that God’s work is perfect, and part of that work is being the righteous judge and thus dispensing justice. We see many instances of God judging and administering his justice in the Old Testament. We see God’s justice in the story of the flood. Humanity had become so wicked and sinful that God’s justice demanded that they be punished. God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their great sin. Yet even in these stories there is grace to be found. God rescues Noah and his family from the flood, and God sends angels to lead Lot and his family out of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A limited perspective
We so often see things as black or white. God can either be a God of Justice or a God of Mercy—but he can’t be both. This view is too limited to describe our God. He is both just and merciful in his dealings with his children. And the reality is that no one wants a judge who is not also just. If someone you cared about was killed or injured through the willful or negligent actions of another, you would want justice. Any normal person would. Now when the guilty person goes before the judge, if no punishment is given, we would all say that the judge was either wicked or corrupt or both.
…So if 1) all of God’s ways are just and 2) we are sinful people who deserve punishment, how can we hope for mercy and even grace?
Our hope is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Romans 3 explains that Jesus died for us “so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith…” God’s justice demanded that our sins be punished. Jesus stood in our place and absorbed God’s wrath and justice. The punishment that we deserved…Jesus took it upon himself because of his great love for us! So God is just. He does not allow sin to go unpunished. He is also merciful because he allowed his son to take the punishment that we deserved. If this were not wonderful enough, he is also the God grace—declaring us his children and joint heirs with Jesus. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. And beyond this we have the assurance of an eternity in his presence in heaven!
We find this beautiful promise in I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Have you confessed your sins and sought God’s forgiveness and reconciliation based on faith in his Son Jesus? If you have never made that decision, let today be the day you surrender your life to Jesus. If you are already a follower, then rejoice throughout this day that God is both just and the justifier for you!