Justice and Mercy

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Ezekiel 35-36

Edom (Mount Seir) rejoices when Judah falls to the Babylonians. It thinks it might take over the land. But it receives God’s justice: it falls to the Babylonians never to rise again. Israel (Judah), on the other hand, receives God’s mercy. It too deserves justice, that its destruction should end its existence as it did for Edom. But instead, after a period of exile, it will be brought back to its land by the grace of God. Once again it will be fruitful and multiply.

God will do this, not because of any good in them, but in order to show the world his wonderful character (see Deut. 9:4-6). God will not only bring Judah back from exile; he will work in their hearts. “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezek. 36:26). This wonderful covenant relationship will be restored: “You shall be my people, and I will be your God” (v. 28). Their land will become “like the garden of Eden” (v. 35). The return from exile fulfilled this.

God still deals with people in justice and mercy. The lost suffer the consequences of their sins, receiving what they deserve. Those who are saved, who by God’s grace believe in Christ as Savior, receive God’s mercy. We who are saved do not deserve to be saved. We too deserve justice, which means eternal punishment. Salvation is all of grace. Let us take no glory to ourselves but give all glory to God.

PRAYER

Father, we praise you for your mercy made possible by the atonement of Christ. In his name. Amen.