Not the Final Meeting
Thank God that the justice of God can never be isolated from the mercy of God. We can divide them when we study them. We can track both words through a concordance search and read passages that mention one and not the other. But in the world, in God’s nature, the two cannot be separated.
When God judged Adam and Eve, promising them pain and death, then banishing them from the Garden, He honored His righteous, authoritative justice. When He promised the defeat of the serpent and then covered the couple with skins and made it so that they could not live forever in the knowledge of guilt, He honored His righteous, loving mercy.
The same event showed more than one attribute for those with eyes to see. No greater display of His justice and mercy has been given than in the death of Jesus on the cross. Was the crucifixion the worst thing or the best thing that has ever happened? For all those who believe in God it is both.
In the Son’s sacrifice justice and mercy kiss. God’s demands are met, even as angry, jealous men betrayed and murdered an innocent man. They meant it for evil, God meant it for good. God used the unjust to satisfy His justice. God used the unmerciful to show mercy.
Golgotha was not the final meeting of these two attributes. If we trust God, then in many of our sufferings (personal and corporate) both justice and mercy are at work. Seeing one means that the other is probably not too far behind.