God – Justice or Love
God is love (1 John 4:8) and His mercy is great (Ephesians 2:4), but He is also just (Psalm 25:8). In order to uphold His attributes of holiness and justice, He must judge and punish sin (Numbers 14:18; Nah. 1:3). A good judge will never just forgive the offender but will also seek justice. The Lord can not just forgive sin without administering the punishment of death because “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
When Adam and Eve first sinned, they were condemned to die for in the Creator’s government “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4). But why is the punishment for sin so serious? It is so serious because of the divine holiness.
Yet, instead of the sinner dying according to the perfect law, Jesus offered Himself to die. At the cross, we see the heavenly Father as both the “just and the justifier” (Matthew 27:33–35; Romans 3:26). For the heavenly Father “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this (John 15:13). Thus, the divine justice and mercy were fully satisfied at the cross.
The Lord can’t forgive our sins unless we claim the blood of Jesus as our substitute. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of the Lord, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12). Thus, the decisive factor in salvation lies with us.
The life and death of Jesus proved forever how the Creator regards sin (2 Corinthians 5:19). It showed the Lord’s infinite compassion for all His creatures, a compassion that could not only forgive, but could also win fallen sinners to surrender and by His grace yield perfect obedience (Romans 1:5).
The Lord’s plan of salvation not only makes it possible to pardon and restore us, but it also demonstrates for all ages to come the absolute perfection of His own character and the complete union of His justice and love in the divine government (Psalm 116:5).
In His service,