Justice and Mercy

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other!” Psalm 85:10

The salvation of sinners by the substitutionary death of Christ gives the brightest display of the perfections of God, and particularly of those which belong to Him as the Supreme Ruler of the moral world.

Justice and mercy, duly tempered and exercised with wisdom, is a summary of those virtues which belong to a good ruler. Now these are most illustriously displayed in a happy union in Christ crucified.

Justice shines brighter in the cross than if every sin had been punished upon offenders without any mercy! Mercy shines brighter in the cross than if every sin had been pardoned, and every sinner made happy without any execution of justice.

Mercy appears in turning the divine heart with such a strong propensity upon the salvation of sinners! Justice appears in that when the heart of God was so much set upon it, yet He would not save them without a complete satisfaction to His justice.

Mercy appears in providing such a Savior! Justice appears in inflicting the punishment due to sin upon Him, without abatement; though He loved Him more than the whole universe of creatures!

Mercy appears in transferring the guilt from the sinner upon the Surety, and accepting a vicarious satisfaction! Justice appears in exacting the satisfaction, and not passing by sin, when it was imputed to the darling Son of God.

Mercy appears in pardoning and saving guilty sinners! Justice appears in punishing their sin!

Mercy appears in justifying them though destitute of all personal merit and righteousness! Justice appears in justifying them only and entirely on account of the merit and righteousness of Christ!

Mercy appears in providing a Savior of such infinite dignity! Justice appears in refusing satisfaction from an inferior person!

Mercy appears in forgiving sin! Justice appears in not forgiving so much as one sin without a sufficient atonement!

Mercy, rich, free mercy–towards the sinner! Justice, strict, inexorable justice–towards the Surety!

In short, mercy and justice, as it were, walk hand in hand through every step of this amazing scheme of salvation by the substitutionary atonement of Christ!

God pardons and saves the sinner and yet condemns and punishes his sin!

Though innumerable multitudes of rebels are pardoned, yet not one of them is pardoned until their rebellion is punished according to its demerit in the person of the Surety!

The precept of the divine law, which they had broken was perfectly obeyed. The penalty which they had incurred was fully endured and paid, indeed not by themselves, but by their divine substitute. Hence the divine law is magnified, and made honorable, and the rights of government are preserved sacred and inviolable, and yet the sinful rebels are set free, and advanced to the highest honors and blessedness!

God brings the greatest good out of the greatest evil!

God pardons and saves the sinner and yet condemns and punishes his sin!

God gives the brightest display of His justice in the freest exercise of His mercy!

God gives the richest discovery of His mercy in the most rigorous execution of His justice!

God magnifies His law in justifying those who had broken it!

God reveals the utmost hatred against sin in showing the highest love to the sinner!

What an astonishing God-like scheme is this! What a stupendous display of the infinite wisdom of God!

– Samuel Davies

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