So, let's say that you go home tonight, and you find that all your friends and family have gotten together to throw a giant surprise party for you! As you arrive in the neighborhood, you find cars lined up on both sides of the street, many from out of state, friends and family that you haven't seen in years.
But as you get closer to your house, you realize that something is not quite right.
The front door is ajar, with a huge footprint in the middle of it. The door jam is broken and splintered, and you realize something is wrong, terribly wrong. As bullet casings crunch under your feet, you push the door open to find all your friends, all of your family, everything and everyone that you hold dear in your life have been slaughtered.
And that's not all, as you look through the broken window into the backyard, you see that the killer is still there, wringing the life out of the last victim.
You scream, run out there and knock him to the ground, the police show up and haul him away.
His day in court arrives, and you are there. He has admitted guilt, but expresses remorse, saying that he's really sorry and he will never do anything like that again. The judge looks down from his bench and says, "I am a very loving judge, and I can see that you are truly remorseful. You can go free."
"What?! Are you kidding me? Where is the justice, this man broke the law, he must pay!" The judge gives you a condescending look, and says, "I've made my decision, this man is forgiven out of love and free to go home."
What do you think? Was justice done?
I'll tell you this. You've created a god for yourself, made up in the human mind, that will overlook your sins and let everyone do whatever they wish, with no consequences.
As appealing as that might be to the human mind, you can see from the story I've given you, that there might be some flaws in that idol.
God is not ONLY love, to the exclusion of everything else. He is also holy, righteous and just. There is a fine to be paid, and unlike the judge in our little scenario, justice will be done in God's court. The question now is simply, how will that fine be paid?
Let's change it up a bit. Now, you're the criminal, the one who is guilty of unspeakable crimes and unable to pay your fine. Just before the judge bangs the gavel to finalize your prison time, the courtroom door burst open and a man appears who says that he will pay your fine.
THAT is what Jesus Christ did for you.
You didn't deserve it, you couldn't earn it, yet He paid your fine for you, that you could be forgiven. That is how mercy and justice work together.
Every person in the world will glorify God after this life, in one way or another.
Either you will glorify Him as a demonstration of His love and mercy in sending His Son Jesus Christ to take on the punishment that you deserve, as you repent and trust in Him alone.
Or, you will glorify Him as a demonstration of His justice and righteousness, as you are cast into Hell for your crimes against your Creator.
Either way, the human soul lasts forever, and either way, God is glorified.
Soli Deo Gloria