Faith Moment
May 20, 2013
Justice and Mercy Meet

One of the most publicized events of the last decade was the execution of a Texas woman who had been convicted of murdering two people 14 years earlier.  During her time in prison, she became a Christian.  The evident genuineness of her conversion elicited calls from all over the world to spare her life. In the end, those who sought punishment for the crime she had committed prevailed.  With a lethal cocktail running through her veins, CNN reported that Karla Fay Tucker “coughed twice, let out a soft groan, and fell silent.”

The debate raised by this case was gripping enough, but what I found to be most fascinating was the intense contest that was unfolding outside the premises where the execution was to be carried out.  Both the proponents and the opponents of the death penalty camped outside, each side trying to drown the other’s voices.  The news of the execution was greeted by a boisterous cry of triumph from those who had sought justice for the crime.  Others were left wondering where mercy was to be found.

This drama illustrates the conflict between justice and mercy.  How are the guilty to be spared in cases where absolute justice is administered?  What hope is there for those wedged between the jaws of justice?

The biblical solution to this conundrum is found at the Cross of Jesus, where God’s justice was perfectly administered and his eternal mercy publicly displayed when God took upon Himself the punishment meant for the guilty. The sinless and infinitely just God devised the means whereby sinful human beings could be justly reconciled to God without an ounce of guilt being swept under the carpet. The rhetorical force of the question posed by the author of Hebrews ought forever to haunt every seeker of justice, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”? (Hebrews 2:3)

With Love,


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