Understanding Justice, Mercy, and Grace

Lesson 2

In the previous lesson,  “The Sin Problem”, we learned that the entire human race inherited the sin nature of Adam because of his disobedience. The class agreed that it is not our fault that we were all born with a sin nature and an overpowering tendency to sin; but it is our problem, and we must deal with it, or else suffer terrible consequences.

 Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

 Divine Justice

 Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  

 Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is
death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the purpose of explaining Divine Justice we’re only going to
consider the first part of this scripture.

Last week we learned that Sin is not merely the breaking of a law, but it is transgressing against the very nature of an infinitely good, pure, and Holy God, thus creating a personal attack on God Himself.  

 Albert Barnes
(
1798–1870) in his commentary on Rom 6:23 had this to say about it: 

“Death is thus called the wages of sin, not because it is an arbitrary, undeserved appointment, but because it is its proper desert. Not a pain will be inflicted on the sinner which he does not
deserve. Not a sinner will die who ought not to die.”
 

 

Another way to look at it is this: Because of the extreme seriousness of the crime – of a creature inflicting a rebellious attack on its Creator- the most extreme penalty is justly warranted. – DWE

 

Notice I use the words “justly warranted.”  

 

Abraham’s conversation with God while trying to get Him to spare Sodom and Gomorrah shows
us that he believed God to be  a just and righteous judge: 
 

Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the
Judge of all the earth do right? 
 

Divine Justice can then be summed up as- God acting in accordance with His own sense of rightness in meting out the appropriate judgment for specific transgressions. – DWE 

Some people look at various biblical examples of God’s wrath being poured out upon wicked, profane, and rebellious sinners in the Old Testament and wonder why He seemed to be so much harsher than He is in the New Testament age. 

The answer can be found in Isaiah 53, prophetically speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus 700 years before it happened: 

Isa 53:3-6 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 

Isa 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities 

The crucifixion of Christ was the most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice this world has ever seen, and the most amazing thing about it is – the victim of the cross, the Lamb of God, Jesus, never committed a single sin!

 If you ever wonder if God really loves you, consider the Cross. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most significant event that ever happened on planet earth!  He paid the death penalty for everyone who ever lived, so that you and I can freely receive the mercy and grace of God. 

  Mercy 

Mercy is when God chooses to withhold His righteous judgments for man’s transgressions against Him. 

Exo 33:17-19 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.  (18)  And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. (19) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 
 

Here God informs us of His sovereign nature. He is the supreme ruler of the universe and everything that’s in it, and as such can do whatever He chooses, but the best part is that his sovereign decisions are rooted in His infinite love, goodness, wisdom, and power!  

 Psa 136 has 26 verses and every one of them ends with the phrase, “for his mercy  endureth for ever. 

Nowhere can we find a better example of God’s love and mercy than what He did for us at
Calvary’s cross!
 

Grace 

Grace is God’s supernatural way of demonstrating His love, guidance, and enabling power
to believers, so that we can live holy, godly lives.
 

“Without God man cannot – without man God will not.”  God has chosen to work in partnership with man in spreading the Gospel message. 

God’s grace and sanctification are both necessary for a healthy Christian life. These two components can be thought of as dependence and discipline; reliance and effort. 

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

We need to learn to depend on God and His grace, and not on our own feeble efforts.

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We are saved by the operation of God (grace) through, or by means of our faith.

Our good works are, then, the result, not the cause of our salvation: 

Eph 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.   (10)  For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 

Our next lesson will be “What is Justification by Faith and When Does it Happen?” I believe this is very important for us to understand the concept of  justification and I also believe it will help us to have a greater appreciation and assurance of our position or standing in Christ. 

 

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