Grace and mercy

People need both grace and mercy, but what are they? How do they impact our lives? Many people use them interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

Mercy is the unmerited favor of God — we get good that we do not deserve and we do not get the punishment that we do deserve. We receive mercy through following Jesus as Lord and savior, and receive forgiveness and life through the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection. We are given mercy by God so that we can be saved, and are saved by grace through faith.

Grace, according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, is “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.”  It is a gift from God.  The Greek words also convey a sense that the giver of grace is leaning towards the receiver.  The receiver has favor with the giver.  The giver’s acts will confer benefits on the life of the receiver that will become evident in the receiver’s life.

Grace contains some of the idea of mercy in that grace is not deserved.  Based on the definition in Strong’s, an amplified definition of grace involves God’s action on a person’s heart which results in at least two things: the desire to do God’s will and the ability to do God’s will.  These two things produce a godly impact in a person’s life.  Please note that God’s favor comes before the performance of God’s will.  In Christ, you have His favor before you act.

Keywords: grace, God’s action on a person’s heart, mercy, undeserved favor

2 Comments on “Grace and mercy

  1. Well said. And to go further, our actions are the result and through the empowerment of God’s grace pouring through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the action of God in His love.

    • Andy,

      I agree. My mind cannot fully comprehend God’s infinite love that lavishes us with such marvelous gifts – grace, faith, the indwelling and empowering Spirit. It’s all for free, all so that He can give Himself to us, to be with us, live in us, give us purpose and joy, and cause us to fully know Him as we have been known.

      Remember Sally Field’s famous Oscar acceptance speech, “You like me! You really like me!” There was a sense of wonder and realization that she was accepted. When I read things like what you wrote, I still, after almost four decades, get a sense of wonder and excitement at the growing realization that we are all fully loved, liked and equipped by our loving Father in heaven. We are accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-14 is a wonderful passage about some of the things we have and are made for in Christ.)

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