I was thinking on the way in to work this AM about how absurd the “God id love, but also just” argument is. Now I’m aware that others have addressed this before, but one particular thing about the argument made an impression on me. If the redeemed individual who claims that they are “safe” from hell because God is merciful but the unredeemed individual is in serious trouble because of God’s justice, they are grossly misunderstanding the situation. A few thoughts come to mind here. If we strip away love/mercy and lean on God’s justice, we would be promoting a doctrine of universal damnation. It seems that most people anthropomorphize God and suggest that sure, He would like to just forgive all, but it would conflict with notions of justice, therefore He simply can’t just excuse sin in an effort to be “true to Himself”.
This whole line of reasoning is flawed as it presupposes that our “decision for Christ” has excused our sins. The reality is that we will not stand before God with a resume and attempt to gain entrance to the Holy City standing on our merit, but solely on the grace/mercy of the one who was rejected and punished in our stead. This moves the act of justification completely away from human agency and places it squarely on the One who died. Pure justice would still require penalty for the crimes committed (our sins). So it seems the individual who attributes the consignment of mankind to hell to God’s justice is overlooking their own sins, which if dealt with according to the law, would yield undesirable results. So in summary, I would propose references to God’s justice in dealing with the unredeemed would also apply to the redeemed. Repentance brings about reconciliaton, but doesn’t erase the infractions that we commit on a daily basis. There are no “buts” when comparing God’s love with His justice. There is no tension in the two.