01 March 2016

BSF 2015-2016: God’s Justice and Mercy

This week, we briefly will step away from Revelation for another thematic lesson – God’s justice and mercy.

In Revelation, we have seen God’s wrath and justice poured out on the earth. But He also extended mercy to believers. God acts in perfect justice and powerful mercy for the good of His people. Thinking about God’s justice and mercy should lead us to worship Him.

God is just
God’s justice describes the quality of His character that moves Him to be actively and utterly righteous. God does what is right all the time. God cannot be unjust. That would go against His character. God does not have impure motives or selfish vengeance. He has divine anger against sin. Someone must be held accountable for sin. Jesus took the accountability for believers. Unbelievers still carry their sin and one day will be held accountable.

When God serves justice, it is with complete knowledge of every fact, of every motive, of our entire hearts. God serves justice to those who have wrong motives and who are not trusting Him.

God’s justice is expressed in two ways – punitive justice (when He punishes evil and sin) and remunerated justice (when He rewards righteousness, through Christ’s righteousness not our own). At the cross, we see the greatest demonstration of God’s justice and mercy. Jesus became our substitute. God did not look away from sin but put our sin on Jesus. The death of one meant the salvation for many. Consider the justice that fell on Jesus; consider the severity of your own sin.

Knowing and believing God’s attributes changes how we live. When you believe and act on the truth that God is just, you are comforted because you know that God is right, upholds justice, and will do what is right at the right time. Then you are drawn to worship God for who He is.

God is mercy
God’s mercy describes the quality of His character that moves Him to be actively compassionate and generous to sinners. God does not extend mercy because of our own goodness but because of Jesus’ goodness offered to us.

Without God’s mercy, we would be consumed and condemned. Instead, He withholds the wrath we deserve and bestows blessings. God’s mercy does not compromise His holy standards. No one is entitled to receive mercy. He extends mercy as He determines (Romans 9:15). God’s mercy acts in accordance with His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His authority, and His omnipotence.

God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), and His mercy is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Knowing and believing God’s attributes changes how we live. When you believe and act on the truth that God is merciful, you understand that God is not distant, that He is personal, that He responds with mercy when you cry out for mercy. Extend mercy to others. Then you are drawn to worship God for who He is.

God Himself
God doesn’t have to suspend His mercy to show justice, and He doesn’t have to suspend His justice to exercise mercy. The full fury of God’s wrath fell on God’s only Son, in my place. Jesus was the only one who could fully satisfy God’s justice.

Do you have peace with God? Have you been reconciled to God?

Things to Think About
  • One day, God will right all wrongs. We think that evil is winning because God has a delayed earthly justice. But one day, His perfect, complete heavenly justice will come.
  • God can be trusted to make everything right.
  • The full measure of God’s justice has not been handed out yet, but it will come. God will do what is right at the right time.
  • Who has wronged you? Release those wrongs to God. Show mercy to your enemies.
  • If we truly understood God’s mercy toward our sinfulness, we would not gloss over or ignore sin.
  • When God looks at believers, He doesn’t see spoiled, selfish sinners who resist His control. He sees the righteousness of Christ, and He extends His mercy.
  • Do you act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)?
  • God can be trusted with everything. He knows everything. He can do anything. He is bigger than everything. He is our all in all.
  • Set your gaze on God not on the storms in your life.

This Week’s Memory Verse
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiven wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7 NIV