Merciful Justice

Posted on 08-Jul-2014

Feature by Lance Corporal Nathan Chan of 10th Kuala Lumpur Company

The Bible tells us to be merciful. However, as an NCO, I often find it hard to exercise mercy while dealing justice at the same time. In many ways, mercy and justice are two sides of a coin. So I wonder, which one is right in Gods eyes?

On one hand, God is just. The Bible often describes God as a judge. He administers his laws fairly, showing neither partiality nor favouritism. Just like any judge, God does not exempt himself from the law. Instead, he conforms to it, while requiring us, his moral agents, to do the same. Gods show of justice is one of the things that make Him worthy of our admiration.

God is Just... (2 Thessalonians 1:6)

On the other hand, God is merciful. Throughout to Bible, God shows his mercy to many people. God was merciful towards David, Solomon and Israel in captivity. He further proves his mercy through a parable. In this parable (Matthew 18:23-27), the Kingdom of Heaven is described as “a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants”. When a servant owing the king 10 thousand bags of gold pleads for time to repay, the king cancels the debt instead.

For the Lord your God is a merciful God (Deuteronomy 4:31)

The problem is that the definition of mercy states it as “the withholding of a just condemnation”. If a human judge tried to show mercy in court, most would lodge a major complaint. It is a judge's job to deal justice according to the law. Failing to do so would be betrayal of the office. It would be injustice.
Despite His love for us, God didn’t simply withhold the punishment. Punishment still had to be dealt. God’s definition of mercy is slightly different from ours. Judgement was still carried out, but mercy allowed it to be on a different person. Such is the reason Jesus came to earth. Such is the reason he wanted to die - because it is the only way he can be with us.

In doing so, Jesus also gave us a picture of God's justice, while still exhibiting His mercy. That is why the cross is so
significant - it was a transaction of sins. Sins of not a million or a billion people, but of everyone past, present and future.

The price of such an act was high. God saw His Son tortured, but could not approach Jesus to comfort Him - not with all the sins piled onto Jesus. It is such that God wishes us to reciprocate His mercy to others around us. He has already paid the price, and does not want it to go to waste. In the parable mentioned above, the servant shown mercy failed to do the same, and got judged by the king as a result. We have been shown mercy so great, we have no right to withhold it from others. For those who do not accept God’s mercy will have to face His justice instead.

Page Created: 8th July 2014
Last Updated: 8th July 2014