We all want to feel that we are appreciated and are being treated fairly. Don’t we?
As I read this week in Exodus, I thought about how God, too, cares greatly about the right treatment of His children. He cares about justice and wants us to treat each other fairly.
Because God is a just God.
But there are many times when I am just as thankful that our God is a merciful God! Those times when I’ve mistreated someone and am in need of mercy and forgiveness myself. How about you?
Thankfully, God is both…just and merciful, according to these justice and mercy scripture verses. Take a few minutes as you read to praise your God and Saviour for these wonderful truths about His character in His dealings with mankind.
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How Does Justice Relate to Mercy?
Justice and mercy are related in that they are opposites of one another. Justice has to do with the consequences of breaking a law, whether that is man’s law or God’s law. When a law is broken, justice demands that the lawbreaker get his due and be punished. Justice has to do with fair treatment.
Mercy, on the other hand, offers the offender a way to receive less punishment than their offense deserves. Mercy is an exercise of forbearance and compassion and is an act of grace.
As justice and mercy are opposites, it can be difficult to see how God can be both just and merciful. Keep reading to find out how these two aspects of God’s character work together to His glory and our great blessing!
Justice and Mercy Scripture
The Bible has so much to say about justice and mercy. These justice and mercy scripture verses teach us about the justice and mercy of our God.
- The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Numbers 14:18
- And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. Isaiah 30:18
God in His mercy to His children metes out justice in judgment of our enemies!
- And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. Psalms 143:12
God is a God of justice, yet His mercy tempers His judgment. For we do not reap the full judgment of our sins.
- He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Psalms 103:10
Bible Verses About Justice and Fairness
“She gets away with everything. That’s so not fair!”
Sound familiar, Mom? We hear many forms of the “That’s not fair!” statement, in raising our children, don’t we?
But to be fair, we adults are as guilty as our children of worrying about fairness.
Haven’t you ever felt replaced, or mistreated, or misjudged? And thought, “That’s so not fair!”
I have, too. Many times.
But God knows the truth and takes care of working things out the way they should be. (Romans 8:28)
- He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4
And because God is a just God, He gives laws to ensure the just treatment of us all…of servants, of parents, of animal owners, of land owners, of borrowers of money, of widows, of orphans, of the poor, and of strangers.
In Exodus 21:24, we read this often-quoted judgment…
- Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Exodus 21:24
These laws in chapters 20-23 were given to provide just punishment for offenders. The punishment was to fit the crime. Be just.
And meted out without fail.
The punishments specified were also intended to be serious enough to discourage offense in order to protect the innocent. Protect us from offenders such as murderers, kidnappers, thieves, and even negligent animal owners.
God is so serious about justice that He states…
- Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. Exodus 22:22-24
Indignation rises up within me when I hear of unjust treatment of others, especially of those who are helpless to defend themselves. My heart cries out for justice. And in those moments I’m so glad that our God is fair and just, hears their cry, and will repay.
- Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. Exodus 23:7
I have no problem wanting God to be just when someone else needs correction. But not so much when it is I who needs correction. After all, they are wicked.
Scriptures on the Mercy of God
But then, the Holy Spirit pricks my heart and reminds me that I am just as guilty. I am a sinner, too.
And I really have no right whatever to cry “No fair!” I deserve God’s just punishment for my sins. As much as anyone else.
Then suddenly I’m not so sure I want God to be the righteous and just God. But the fact remains…God is just. And when we sin against His goodness to us, He has every right to cry, “That’s not fair!” And to mete out justice on each of us.
And that is why I am so very thankful that God is also a merciful God! Scripture is rich with the mercy of our God.
- To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Psalms 51:1
- And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 5:10
- O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
- Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Psalms 32:10
- Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18
Here is a fun resource just for you! See if you can find all the hidden words related to the justice and mercy scripture verses about our God!
Click the image to download.
God’s Justice and Mercy Meet at the Cross
Instead of giving us immediate justice…what we fairly and rightly deserve for each and every sin against Him…God has chosen to be not only just, but the merciful justifier of sinners!
- To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:26
Jesus…just and justifier!
God knew before He even created the world that we would ALL treat Him unfairly. He would bless us with a beautiful world to live in, His boundless love and care, and we would repay Him by rejecting His commands…given for our good in the first place! First in the Garden of Eden and then throughout history.
God is fair and just. Therefore, sin must not go unpunished. Even mine!
However, God loved us enough to make a way for Him to remain true to Himself and His character…and yet forgive sin!
He would still be just…but also the justifier. He would grant mercy while remaining just.
Jesus would take our punishment in our place!
God’s justice and mercy meet at the cross! God placed my sins and yours upon His sinless Son there on the cross and punished Him, instead of you and me!
- Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24
If God gave you and me justice…if we got what was fair…we’d be in Hell for eternity! For we have all sinned against Him, separating ourselves from His perfect Holy presence.
“Amazing love! How can it be that thou my God shouldst die for me?!from the hymn “And Can It Be” by Charles Wesley
Keep drawing nigh to our Amazing God Who loves you so,