I’ve been reflecting this Lenten season on the powerful display of JUSTICE and MERCY meeting in full expression at the cross where Jesus died. While JUSTICE and MERCY seem like two extremes on the spectrum of God’s character, we see them meet and embrace right on the cross. Jesus, the perfect sinless Lamb, takes on the penalty of our sin to satisfy God’s JUSTICE against sin. Jesus didn’t deserve to endure the JUSTICE of God; yet He did, so that we, guilty sinners could receive what we don’t deserve the MERCY of God. Taking the time to sit and reflect on how these two attributes of God, which can seem to be in conflict with one another, meet so powerfully, gives Good Friday a richer depth and commanding expression of God’s amazing love. The JUSTICE Jesus endured is just as undeserved as the MERCY we receive by putting our faith in Him.
God’s character doesn’t change or compromise with Jesus, it displays it. Jesus took on the full wrath of sin’s penalty. He was beaten, spit on, rejected, crucified. God didn’t spare the penalty because it was His Son who endured it. Jesus received it in full. As complete as God’s JUSTICE is, His MERCY is just as complete as we; undeserving sinners, receive this incredible gift of salvation. Being saved from the wrath of God is something we can so easily take for granted and it’s something we can overlook. Easter isn’t nearly as meaningful if we don’t take the time to ponder this incredible MERCY we’ve been given. We can’t experience true rejoicing of Easter unless we reflect and grasp the crucifixion. I’m not sure we can really love that He rose, if we don’t embrace the truth of why He died.
No matter how much culture shifts and changes, God remains the same. His unchanging character is good news and should bring us great comfort. We live among a movement of tolerance yet all we are told to tolerate is sin. Sin is never tolerated by God. He dealt with sin’s penalty by sending Jesus to die a death He didn’t deserve so those who believe in Him could receive the MERCY they don’t deserve. As much as Jesus didn’t deserve to die, we don’t deserve to live. Because of the JUSTICE and MERCY of God, those who put their faith in Him do get life…life today and life eternally.
For those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus Christ, please look at the penalty for sin as you see Jesus being crucified. That’s the penalty. If you don’t put your faith in the One who bore it for you, you will bear it for yourself. God doesn’t change based on culture, trends or what we think. The penalty of sin is death. The penalty is so severe because sin is so severe. Sin destroys people, marriages, families, towns, cities, countries and worlds. A JUST God can’t pretend or overlook the reality of it. And yet, in His MERCY driven by love, He made a way for us to overcome sin, and that way is through Jesus Christ. Today is His day. The day He suffered so we don’t have to.
Reflect and remember the cost and the incredible MERCY of our good God that loved us enough to pay God’s JUSTICE for us.