God’s merciful justice

Scripture presents the justice of God as something which is not only good but beautiful.  This may seem strange, especially if we think of justice purely in terms of punishment for sin.  God’s justice implies judgement and God’s judgement is something to fear.  However when we consider that these judgements are also deeply concerned with protecting and caring for weak and wounded people they also stir up other more desirable emotions.

In the book of Isaiah there is a beautiful promise describing Christ’s tender attitude towards the poor and needy where it says,

He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish”
(Isaiah 42:2-3a)

At a glance this verse might easily be mistaken purely as a portrait of Christ’s love and mercy.  The true beauty of this portrait however lies not so much in what it reveals  of Christ’s love but in what it tells us of his justice.  The words immediately preceding this frequently quoted verse are a promise that “He will bring forth justice to the nations.”   And just what does bringing forth justice  mean?  It means bringing a quiet reassuring voice to an anxious soul.  It means dealing ever so gently with people that are bruised and easy to break.  It means preserving those whose lives have  become like the flickering flame of a candle that would be easily snuffed out by one false movement.

This tender portrayal of justice is then immediately followed by the words,

He will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.
(Isaiah 42:3b-4)

That sounds good to me.  Come quickly Lord Jesus.


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