In God’s justice there is no choice or liberty for the accused. There is no help for the condemned. God's Justice is solid, unquestionable, irreversible, unchangeable… absolute. A person is tried by a perfect law, and judgment flows from an absolute purity in God called Holiness.
But since God's Grace and Mercy entered the scenario of life nothing has been solid in this existence except God, His Word, and His Sovereignty over the affairs of life. Life's experiences under Mercy's rule are fluid, questionable, reversible, changeable… mysterious to us. We can be forgiven...
The first man Adam, who justice condemned to die the very day he broke God's law, was, by God's mercy, allowed to live… but... for how long, and to what extent would he now be punished while he lived? Who decided when the penalty would finally be executed, and what the quality of his life would be while he lived under this Mercy? God. He alone decides when mercy ends and justice begins. We are indeed “at His mercy”.
There are those who would like to concretely say of every matter in life, “If you do that God will do this!” But... we live lives overwhelmed by Mercy not Justice. If it were Justice that ruled... well... we wouldn't be here would we? While we are under the pleasant rule of Mercy we do not always or often receive the punishment we deserve. But don't let the joys of God's mercy lull you to an apathetic sleep, for without the promises found in Jesus and His Gospel, withheld Justice will pile up like storm-water behind a dam of Mercy, a dam which God will one day remove, and unrestrained justice will flow.
For Mercy to exist there must be a Being who has all authority over justice, and, therefore, authority over all the affairs of mankind. This authority extends to the powers of death, hell, and the grave, and liberty from the same.