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What is Grace and Mercy?
The Difference Between Them
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 judgement.
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 punsihment. 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 a 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 unmerited favor.
On the other hand, lets look at mercy under that same scenario. Lets say that 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, from an eternal punishment in Hell. We don't get what we deserve. That is God's 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 must be received before it becomes yours. I urge you, don't delay. Accept God's gift today, and you too will know the amazing grace and mercy of God.