"The gospel has to be bad news before it can be good news," says Frederick Beuchner. I love that quote. If we don't have an understanding of the seriousness of sin and the wrath of a holy God who, by the nature of reality must punish sin, must do justice, then we cannot really appreciate the grace and mercy of God. We live in the shallow water of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called "cheap grace": we do not know the cost of what has been purchased for us, the extravagant love God has for us.
Everyone but the sociopath believes in justice. They may want it done to someone else. They may differ on the standard by which to measure justice. But everyone believes that evil should not go unpunished, that the Hitlers, Stalins, and 9/11 assassins should not go scot free. When you peek beneath the skirt of every post-modern's meta-narrative, their "big story" that helps them make sense of life, you'll find justice.
That should tell us that the really big story, the "deep magic," is the requirement that there be a punishment for evil. When I turn the searchlight of justice on myself, I know I am guilty too, and justice must be done.
Thank God for an even deeper magic, a God who let justice be done to Himself for the evil of his people, thereby setting us free. That good news swallows the bad news. The Gospel is free, but oh so costly. I'm living scot-free, but I know what He did for me, I know the cost.