God Kills and Gives Life
The Lord declares, “I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand” (Deuteronomy 32:3). The word “kill” in this verse refers to the justice of God. Although God is the God of love (1 John 4:8; Exodus 34:6,7), He is also the God of justice (2 Thessalonians 1:6). His justice and mercy are the two attributes that form a unity within His character.
Without love, He would not be the Lord for His loving-kindness is abundant (Romans 5:20; Isaiah 45:21). Although the Almighty permitted sin and allowed it to take place, He overruled it and brought about the most wonderful revelation of His mercy and grace, so that the rewards of salvation infinitely exceeded the evils of sin.
Even though the Lord is merciful to repentant sinners, He cannot afford to weaken His rule by ignoring justice (Psalms 85:10; 89:14). His justice is an important element in His kingdom (2 Thessalonians 1:6) as His mercy is important. Without justice, He could not be Himself. Justice is a necessary consequence of His love, for a Creator all mercy is a Creator unjust.
When the Lord punishes, He does it in love not in anger. Like the surgeon, the Lord uses the knife of pain in this life to bring about healing from the disease of sin in the lives of His children (Hebrews 12:5–11; Revelation 3:19). Thus, the Lord’s mercy controls His justice and makes Him “longsuffering” to people (Lamentations 3:22; Romans 2:4).
At the Judgment, the Creator “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6 also 14:12; Matthew 16:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). He will end the sin problem by fire and cleanse the earth once and for all from its deadly effects (Revelation 20:9). The wicked will experience the “second death” (verse 6).
The Bible teaches that the Lord delights in mercy (Micah 7:18), but it doesn’t teach that He delights in executing justice upon men. In fact, it calls His judgments His “strange work” (Isaiah 28:21). The truth is that the Lord’s heart will ache, with infinite sorrow, over the death of the sinners.
The Plan of Salvation Satisfies the Divine Love and Justice
Justice and mercy are the basis of all of the Lord’s dealings with people. The devil proposed that these qualities are conflicting, and that the Almighty is not merciful to His creatures in the exercise of his justice, nor was He just in His exercise of mercy. The plan of salvation was made to prove the devil’s claim as untrue. The Bible declares that “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalms 85:10).
The cross became the ultimate illustration of God’s love and justice (John 3:16). His justice demanded the death of the sinner but His love planned a way of redemption by shedding the blood of Jesus, His Son. Christ paid for every single sin ever committed; thus, the Almighty was just in punishing sin, and He can also justify sinners, who receive Christ as their personal Savior.
Paul says: “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24–26).
In His service,