Grace and Mercy
Your Grace and Mercy…
Brought me through…
Your Grace and Mercy…
Brought me through…
Those are the lyrics to one of the oldest and simplest Christian hymns my mother ever taught me. I remember sitting at home as a child in the living room. I’ve never been much for television so most of the time I would be sitting in silence, through this peaceful moment a sound would break through in the distance. It would be my mother’s voice, muffled by the floor between us as she would mostly be on the second floor curling her hair in the bathroom or ironing clothes.
I remember hearing her humming this song, singing the lyrics quietly over and over. At my age I just thought it sounded pretty, but now I know what those words truly mean. My mother was speaking in faith and giving thanks to God at the same time. Speaking faith over the situation she had at that time and thanking God for carrying her through her last trial or tribulation.
Today I hum that same song around the house, I sing it quietly in church and whisper the lyrics when I’m in prayer. I wish I could sample the song for you all because hearing it is so much better than just reading the simple lyrics on the page.
Why am I telling you this story from my past? Because I want to discuss the two main words in the lyrics. Grace and Mercy.
Before we get started, I want to make it clear that this study will focus more on Grace than Mercy. I want to first make a distinction between the two and then focus only on Grace.
Grace and Mercy are easily two things commonly associated with Christianity. We hear phrases like ‘the Grace of God’ or ‘God’s Mercy’ all the time. But what exactly are we talking about? Do Grace and Mercy go hand in hand? And how do they tie into Christianity?
The best thing to do would be to define these two terms.
Grace: Simple elegance, or refinement of movement. To do honor or credit to someone.
Mercy: Compassion or forgiveness shown to someone.
Now let’s go over the Christian definitions of Grace and Mercy.
Grace: The free and unmerited favor of God.
Mercy: God’s forgiveness, especially when we do not deserve it.
Honestly, those definitions sound very similar to one another but I will give an example to distinguish them.
Mercy is receiving forgiveness, instead of handing down a punishment when we sin, God shows us Mercy and withholds his hand. Grace is when God blesses us despite our sin. Even though we don’t deserve it, God shows us kindness and that is called Grace.
So, another way to look at it is that God shows us Mercy by not punishing us when we sin and gives us His Grace by blessing us despite the fact that we’ve sinned.
1 John 1:8 says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” KJV
Romans 3:23 KJV “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
That means everyone has sinned and will probably sin again before they pass away. Because of that, we need God’s Mercy.
Now, whatever good in our lives that we receive beyond Mercy is God’s Grace.
Continuing on from Romans 3:23, verse 24 says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
This demonstrates multiple meanings that I will break down. The first statement ‘Being justified freely by His Grace,’
It is important to know and understand the definition of ‘justified’ here in this verse. A few basic definitions are…
1. Having, done for, or marked by a good legitimate reason.
2. Being acquitted of one’s actions.
3. Declared or made righteous in the sight of God.
Now, I believe the first definition of Justified is not one that fits this context very well but, remembering, the other definitions, let’s plug them into the scripture appropriately.
[definition 2] Being acquitted of one’s actions freely by His Grace…
The next definition truly encompasses the meaning of this scripture.
[definition 3] Being made righteous in the sight of God by His Grace…
This goes back to the very first definition of Grace, meaning God’s unmerited favor. So let’s look at the scripture again.
God’s Grace—His unmerited favor—makes us righteous and justifies us freely, through the redemption in Christ Jesus.
Now that we understand what Grace is, let’s take a look at the different kinds of Grace.
The first is Common Grace. This refers to God’s goodness and kindness to all of mankind, despite their individual spiritual standing. Whether there are Christians in the Middle East or not, the sun still shines over there. Whether Pepsi Co. pays their tithes, God allows them to be a multi-billion-dollar franchise. God shows Grace to everyone, everywhere. Please note, while God may share His unmerited favor with Believers and non-Believers alike, there is a limit to His Grace and He will judge the unrighteous in due time—whether it be Pepsi Co. or not.
A scripture to support Common Grace… Psalms 145:9 KJV “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
The word ‘Mercy’ is used in this verse, but I stress that God’s Common Grace is shared with everyone because His tender Mercies are over all His works.
A stronger scripture would be… Matthew 5:45 KJV Jesus says, “… For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
The next kind of Grace I want to discuss is called Saving Grace. If you couldn’t tell from the title, it is the Grace that saves us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It takes Grace and Mercy to allow us to have salvation to begin with. Mercy allows us to receive forgiveness from God while His Grace allows us to be covered by the blood of Jesus. This goes back to the scripture, Romans 3:24 KJV “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
We receive Grace through redemption, meaning being saved from sin, that is in Christ Jesus. So, in a way, once we are saved we received a ‘double dosage’ of God’s Grace. We already have Common Grace, now we are allowed to have Saving Grace. Welcome to the cool kids’ club.
So, what do you think about Grace and Mercy? Can you have one without the other? Do you need one over the other?
Just some food for thought.