Mercy and Justice (Hebrews 2:10)

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10, ESV)

Sometimes there are things that are difficult on the earthly plain to reconcile. One of these is the mercy of God and the justice of God. Both come forth from the divine essence of God and both are infinite and perfect. When I was a new believer, I attended a course called Evangelism Explosion and when we came to a part of the presentation about God, we explained that God was loving, but also just, that He did not want to punish us, but must punish because of sin. To explain this, we used portions of a passage of Scripture from Numbers.

The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty” (Numbers 14:18, KJV 1900)

The writer of Hebrews touches on this very issue in verse 10. He states that it was fitting of God to bring salvation to people by causing the founder of their salvation to suffer. It was fitting because the God who is infinitely merciful is also infinitely just. Since He is infinitely just, He could not allow sin to go unpunished and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Moreover, since “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23), a great sin debt needed to be paid.

Therefore, it was fitting that our righteous God would decree the penalty to be paid for sins so that many sons would be brought to glory. Yet, this is the beauty of His divine decree. If a person were to pay the penalty for their own sin, it would mean eternal death, eternal punishment, no hope. Yet, if someone else could pay the sin penalty for the guilty sinner, the penalty would be paid in full for that person and they could experience the mercy of God.

But who could pay such a penalty for another? Since all have sinned, there were none available to do this. Every person would have to pay their own sin penalty, which meant eternal death and punishment. There was only one way. One who knew no sin could pay the penalty for others. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is the only one who could accomplish such a task. Scripture indicates Jesus died on the cross, God “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV 1900)

On the cross of Calvary, where Jesus died, the just requirements of the Law were met and mercy was extended to those who would believe. On the Cross God’s infinite love and justice were perfectly joined for everyone who believes. God made Jesus, through his suffering, the founder of our salvation.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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