THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND JUSTICE - 7
Today’s reading: Ezekiel 18:1-32
God is a God of mercy, and He is a God of justice. God is
merciful and just. The two go together. While it might seem
that mercy is at the expense of justice, it is not. The error
is precisely when we emphasize God’s mercy without considering
God’s justice. Today there is a false mercy, that looks
to just accepting the sinner without correcting his sin.
is about life, while sin is about death. “Only the one
who sins shall die!” (v.4b). Justice is also about life.
“If a man is just .... he shall surely live” (v.5a,9b).
What is justice? It is giving to the other person what is
due that person, according to the design of God. It is not
taking what naturally belongs to another. Thus it is giving
worship only to God (v.6a), it is not defiling another’s
wife (v.6b), it is helping the poor and not depriving the
poor of such help (v.7), it is not being usurious in lending
(v.8a), it is not doing evil to another (v.8b), it is obeying
the just shall live and the unjust shall die. The key for
moving from spiritual death to life is mercy. The sinner is
given a chance. “But if the wicked man turns away from
all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes
and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He
shall not die!” (v.21). No matter how wicked a man is,
no matter how great his sin, God is merciful and can forgive
him, wiping the slate clean. But he has to act to make his
life right. “None of the crimes he has committed shall
be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice
he has shown.” (v.22).
is indeed merciful, but mercy is an invitation to repentance.
“Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked--oracle
of the Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their
evil way and live?” (v.23). God’s mercy is abundant.
But it is up to us to appropriate His mercy for ourselves.
To do so, we turn away from sin, evil and injustice, and turn
to obedience to God and living according to His ways. “Cast
away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make
for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you
die, house of Israel?” (v. 31).
is merciful. God wants all to be saved. “For I find
no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies” (v.32a).
It is up to us. We need to turn away from sin and turn back
to God. “Turn back and live!” (v.32b).