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What is Grace and Mercy?

Updated on August 12, 2018
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I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

The Difference Between Grace and Mercy

Our God is indeed a God full of grace and mercy. And if it were not so, we would all be in a lot of trouble. For we are all sinners, who deserve nothing but the Lord's wrath and judgment.

Many people use the words "grace" and "mercy" without really understanding what they mean. In many ways, they are opposite sides of the same coin. Grace is unmerited favor, or giving something to someone that they don't deserve. Mercy is not punishing someone for something that they did for which they clearly deserve punishment. Let us take a look at both of these attributes of our God and see what we can find out about Him, and about ourselves, from them.

I. Examples of Grace and Mercy

An example of grace from everyday life might be if a criminal, who stole something stands before a judge for sentencing and instead of getting put in jail, is given an all expense trip to Hawaii. The criminal definitely doesn't deserve a trip to Hawaii. He deserves to be incarcerated. However, the judge gave this man grace or unmerited favor.

On the other hand, let us look at mercy under that same scenario. Let's say that this same thief came before the judge for sentencing. He was clearly found guilty of the crime. In fact, he admitted that he did it. But when it came to the sentencing, the judge let him go, instead of sending him to jail. The judge decided to give him another chance. He didn't give the thief the sentence that he clearly deserved. He was merciful.

II. God's Grace and Mercy

The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). None of us deserves to have divine favor. As a matter of fact, we deserve death (Romans 6:23). We all should be separated from a Holy God. God is that Judge. And instead of giving us the Hell that we deserve, God has favored us with eternal life with Him in Heaven. He's made us sons and daughters of the living God through faith in Jesus Christ. Why? Because He loved us (I John 3:1). Now that is much better than an all expense trip to Hawaii, wouldn't you agree? That is God's grace.

Mercy is seen in the fact that we don't get the sentence that we rightfully should receive. Just like the judge set the thief free, God has set us free from death. He's set us free from sin. And of course, He has freed us from an eternal punishment in Hell. We don't get what we deserve. That is God's mercy.

Scripture, over and over again, speaks of Gods attributes of grace and mercy. Here are just two:

  1. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8).
  2. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8).

In Ephesians 2:4-5 we see the two great themes of grace and mercy come together in the person and work of Christ. It states:

" But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

It is through Christ alone that God could look on us sinners with mercy, and not place on us the wrath that we deserved. But by His grace, he gave to us, not only eternal life, which we didn't deserve but also a place of honor with Christ in the heavenlies. Jesus became our substitute for sin and gave to us his righteousness (II Corinthians 5:19-21).

Only Christ could accomplish this. Only He could bring us the love, grace, and mercy of Almighty God.

Dr. David Jeremiah on Grace and Mercy


God is offering all of us His grace and mercy. But we have to receive them through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The only way God can show grace and mercy to us is that His justice was completely satisfied on the cross. The price of sin, which is death, was paid for you. Jesus paid a debt he did not owe. We owed a debt we could not pay. But Jesus hung on that cross as our substitute. The wrath of God was poured upon Him for sin. He died for our sins. The Father raised Him up, proving that He accepted the sacrifice.

Our God is gracious and merciful and longs to show each of us His love. But it is a gift, and like any gift, it must be received before it becomes ours. I urge you, don't delay. Accept God's gift today, and you too will know the amazing grace and mercy of God.

© 2012 Jeff Shirley


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    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      7 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Yes, I thank God every day for His incredible, love, grace and mercy. Thanks again lifegate for reading and commenting.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the clarification and nice illustration. It fits perfectly. And yes, thank God that He is full of both grace and mercy for we would certainly be in a lot of trouble as you said.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      7 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      That makes two of us Dave. Thanks for the comments.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      God Talk: You are right on with this. I couldn't agree more, and I'm so thankful that Jesus doles out both in abundance.


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