Is God Just or Merciful?
Is God a God of justice or a God of mercy? Is it possible for Him to be both?
It’s hard for some people to understand that God can be just and merciful at the same time. Because they know that God is love, they may wrongly believe that whatever they do, He will accept it.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes referred to as Mormons, believe God is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful.
God’s laws, or commandments, function like the laws of our societies and communities. Laws maintain order and prevent chaos. They involve choices and inevitable outcomes for those choices. Breaking societal laws brings consequences such as fines or jail time. Following or violating God’s laws also brings consequences: either blessings or punishments. This is justice.
God is holy, pure, and perfect. Disobeying God’s commandments makes us unworthy to live with Him again after this life. Since no one is perfect, all people would then be banned from His presence. That is where mercy—made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ—comes in. By sacrificing Himself for us, Christ met the demands of God’s law of justice. If we accept Christ’s Atonement, choose to have faith in Him, and repent when we make mistakes, we receive His mercy. God’s perfect love for all His children allows for both justice and mercy.
We are subject to the consequences of our actions but have also been given a Savior who promises to take away our sins if we will follow Him.