Psalm 33:4-5

4For the word of the LORD is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice. These are not two qualities that people in the mainstream of life often put together. We are fond of saying “righteousness and mercy” and we do find those two attributes of God coexisting in the Scriptures.

But we need to remember that the reason mercy is a trait we like is because we deserve, and yet cannot stand under, justice.

The cross is history’s most glaring example of righteousness, mercy and justice. It is righteousness in that the One dying on the cross has never sinned. It is justice because God is punishing sin. And it is mercy because the sins that God is punishing are not the sins of the One being punished. The One suffering is paying the punishment for the sins of others.

There is no sense to the cross whatsoever if we remove the concept of justice and mercy from each other. Christians need to live every day in the knowledge that God is just and the only reason justice will not be levied on them for their crimes is because Jesus took the justice for them.

Such mercy should humble them very greatly and result in a life lived for the glory of a great God who exalts Himself through the death of His own Son.