March 27, 2016 by Tricia Draper
Grace and Mercy: What are the Differences?
We have done some digging into the differences between Grace and Mercy. Many people get these two mixed up because they are so similar. We wanted to get clarity on this subject, and we hope that you do by the end of this episode.
Let’s get started. The first thing we did was to look up the definitions that dictionary.com has. When we looked up Grace, we found such definitions as:
• a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior:
• Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness. mercy; clemency; pardon:
Definitions of Mercy included:
• the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
• something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:
We found several different really good explanations about the differences between these two. At Compelling truth.org they simply explain:
• Mercy and grace are two vital Christian terms whose meanings are often misunderstood. In short, mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve; grace is God giving us something we do not deserve.
Gotquestions.org says it this way:
• Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy.
So as you can see, these two words are very similar and easily confused. Here are some examples to help explain the differences.
The first example is from DiscipleBlog.com. This article is meant for children, so maybe we can learn, too. They describe a coin. One side of the coin is grace—receiving special favor that you don’t deserve.
The other side of the coin is mercy—not receiving punishment that you DO deserve.
The coin is from God, but has 2 special meanings.
Another example is the story about the Police Officer and the speeding driver. Grace is the Officer NOT writing the driver a ticket. Mercy is the Officer writing the ticket, but paying for it himself.
Jesus’ death on the cross is our primary example of Mercy. We deserve to die because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, as we see in Romans 3:23.
But, in God’s great Mercy, He sent Jesus to take the punishment we DESERVE and free us from Eternal judgement which is separtation from God.
So, let’s look at some scripture about these two powerful words. As we look at the scriptures on Mercy there are so many, but we will only go over a few. We encourage you to search more out for yourselves.
Titus and 1 Peter explain more on how God showed His mercy through Jesus.
• Titus 3:4-6 (NIV)
• 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
• 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)
• 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter reminds us that we need to be thankful and Praise God for His mercy and grace. These are free gifts given us and we need to acknowledge them with thanksgiving.
• Ephesians 2:3-5 (NIV)
• 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
This is a great transition verse from Mercy to Grace. Remember, Mercy is Not getting what we Do deserve and Grace is getting what we Don’t deserve.
Grace is more of a surprise from God because we Don’t deserve it. We see a definition of Grace in Romans 11:6
• Romans 11:6 (NIV)
• 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
In 2 Timothy we find that God’s grace was given before the beginning of time through Jesus. God saw our need for grace even before we were born.
• 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NIV)
• 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
We see that Grace is often expressed through the Salvation of Jesus. Mercy was the act of Jesus dying, but grace is the gift of salvation through Christ.
• Titus 2:11
• For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
• Hebrews 2:9
• But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Grace and mercy are also things that we should give to others. Mathew 5:7 shows Jesus explaining this.
• Matthew 5:7
• Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
And Paul explains how it is our duty to express grace in
• Acts 20:24
• However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
He warns us in Galatians:
• Galatians 2:21
• I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
These two gifts are not only for our deliverance, but also for our encouragement as we see in
• 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)
• 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
So, in conclusion, we can see that Grace and Mercy are unmerited blessings from God through Jesus. “Mercy” is not receiving the punishment that we truly deserve. “Grace” is receiving VIP treatment that we truly do not deserve.
We will leave you with the scripture that truly wraps these both together.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Prayer for Salvation
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