“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV)
What justice demands, mercy pays. Of all the demands upon the Christian, justice and mercy -- not to mention humility -- are perhaps the most misunderstood.
Justice is a hard standard. Justice demands absolute conformity with God’s holy character -- righteousness in our hearts, righteousness in our conversations, righteousness in our jobs and lives, righteousness in our institutions. Because God is a holy God, He cannot be in fellowship with unjust people.
At the same time, God is merciful. He woos His people and calls them back to Himself. But His justice -- consistency with His own decrees -- means that sin has to be paid for with death. And so He placed His only son, Jesus Christ, on the altar as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Christ -- in fact God Himself -- paid the price…
Why didn’t God simply forgive and forget and let us begin again? Because His standard of justice, which demanded righteousness or death, could not be put aside.
So God shook heaven and earth, merging justice and mercy at the cross by fulfilling the demands of justice through the one perfect sacrifice...
When the Scriptures tells us to do justice and to love mercy, they require of us nothing less than the glorious, full-bodied justice and mercy that God Himself showed.
-- Charles Colson in an article entitled “Doing Justice, Loving Mercy, Walking Humbly” in “Discipleship Journal” No. 63