Here’s the thing. When I’m one thing, I’m less of another. For instance, when I’m mad, I’m almost incapable of still being loving. When I’m gracious, it’s very easy to almost be – or completely be – co-dependent as I overlook the need for restitution, repentance and consequences. It’s very difficult for me to be 100% of two, seemingly opposing, kinds of character. I don’t think I’ve ever, in my entire life, been 100% angry and 100% loving in any given moment. The same is true with grace and truth, justice and mercy. But what’s crazy is that God can actually pull this off.
John describes Jesus in John 1:14 in this way – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus was 100% full of grace and 100% full of truth at all times, never being one at the expense of the other. He was never, as I can be, full of truth at the expense of grace. He was never, full of grace at the expense of truth. He was always, consistently 100% full of both in everything He did. How does God do that!? Extend this thinking out to every one of God’s attributes: His unshared attributes (those we do not in any way share with God) and His shared attributes. What is mind-boggling is to recognize that God is always and consistently 100% of every one of His attributes without every diminishing any one of His other many attributes. His justice never diminishes His mercy, His truth never diminishes His grace, and His love never diminishes His sovereignty.
This is important for me to understand when I worship God. God is not like me. When His justice rolls down like water (and it makes me uncomfortable) I cannot drag God down to my level and think of Him as being vengeful at the expense of His love. No! When God’s justice rolls down it includes all of His mercy and grace along with His justice. I don’t know how God does it, but it is how He always functions all of the time.