Hosea 12:6 “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
Love AND justice. My Life Application Bible says this....
The two principles that Hosea called his nation to live by, love and justice, are at the very foundation of God's character. They are essential to his followers, but they are not easy to keep in balance. Some people are loving to the point that they excuse wrongdoing. Others are just to the extent that they forget love. Love without justice, because it is not aiming at a higher standard, leaves people in their sins. Justice without love, because it has no heart, drives people away from God. To specialize in one at the expense of the other is to distort our witness.
Hosea 13:4-6 reminds us of our tendency to forget about God and feel self-sufficient when things are going well for us. We need to rely on God in both good times and bad. He's not a genie, ready to pop out and rescue us when things get bad. And we are truly not self-sufficient. He holds the world, and everything that makes it work, in His hands. One moment without His life-sustaining presence would literally result in our death.
Hosea ends with a call to repent and a reminder of God's promise of restoration. We need to keep God's love and justice in mind - He does not gloss over sin, and we are incapable of saving ourselves. So thankful for His mercy and love when we recognize our sin and truly repent.
Our Matthew passage teaches us about this grace. God is generous and will bestow salvation on everyone who repents - whether it is at the beginning or end of our lives. We should never begrudge those who turn to God in their last moments (like the thief on the cross)! The reality is - no one deserve eternal life. God extends grace to us all. Are we gracious to those around us?
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Jeremiah 1-2; Matthew 20:17-34