Therein lays a healthy theological tension: a holy God must demand justice, while at the same time as a merciful God, He must express infinite love. Perfectly holy, God alone qualified to satisfy His own justice, and He chose to appease Himself through Christ. Such an act of justice also became an act of mercy.
The Cross not only reminds us of the intersection of God’s two great attributes-justice and mercy-it also serves as a fitting reminder that our reconciliation, initiated by God through the incarnation and intercession of Jesus Christ, should be reflected in the horizontal relationships of our lives to enhance the community of saints. The moral imperative for those of us who have received mercy is to grant mercy. One day General James Olglethorpe said to John Wesley, “I never forgive.” Wesley replied, “Then I hope, Sir, that you never sin.”
As you take those long walks with your family this Christmas season, savor the smells of evergreens and fires burning in the fireplace. Breathe deeply and remember the Savior’s sacrifice as He spread open His arms and breathed His last to reconcile us to God. We walk in grace and forgiveness because of Christ’s journey from the manger to the cross to the Father’s right hand.