A God of Justice or Grace?

June 13, 2012 — 1 Comment

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We often wrestle with whether God is a God of grace or a God of justice. Different Scriptures seem to show each perspective. Sometimes we feel like we are reading about two different gods who are at war. We usually end up choosing one at the expense of another.

If there are no consequences (justice), than it is sloppy agape.
How could a loving God send someone to Hell?
How can God be good with so much suffering in the world?
If you show people grace, they will sin more!

Books have been written. Theological viewpoints formed. The battle line have been drawn. As they fight, which attribute will win?

This is necessary if God is like us.

We cannot be just and merciful at the same time. We choose one or the other.

As a parent I usually “let it slide” or “dish out the punishment” when dealing with my children. It is impossible for a fallen and finite human being to be 100% just and 100% merciful.

Thankfully God is not like us. God is a God of both, not the either or.

God, being God, can have two attributes that appear in contrast yet are in perfect harmony.

It is a mystery.

We will never totally figure out how all the mysteries of God work. Difficulties in Scripture or about God can be explained, but mysteries are what make God… well God. It is what makes Him different from us. It is why we worship Him.

Flannery O’Connor, an American writer in the mid 20th century, says it this way, “Whatever you do anyway, remember that these are mysteries and that if they were such that we could understand them, they wouldn’t be worth understanding. A God you can understand would be less than yourself.”

Our job is to pursue knowing Him, to ask the hard questions, to wrestle with the mysteries, all the while knowing the tension we feel is one specifically put there to keep us trusting in something (or Someone) greater than ourselves.

Tension and mystery are two of the very things that cause me to worship God. I love the parts of God I don’t understand. It gives me something tangible to look forward to in heaven.

When I picture heaven, I don’t imagine myself floating on a cloud singing worship songs. Instead, I picture an eternity of God revealing himself to us and answering our questions

So rather than picking mercy or justice; why not embrace both?
As we do, we embrace all of God.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 21 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God