Difference Between MERCY and GRACE

Sandeep Poonen

This is an important distinction for all of us to understand.

The mercy of God is the easier word for us to understand because every single person in the world enjoys this. The Bible tells us that the sun shines on the good and the evil. This is a sign of God’s mercy towards even the evil person. The mercy of God is what allows an evil person to commit a crime and not always face justice right away. Every injustice will be addressed at the judgment seat of Christ, but some might get away with it until then.

But grace is something that was fundamentally brought through Jesus Christ and uniquely available to Christians under the New Covenant (New Agreement between God and humans). So while the word grace appears in the Old Testament, the Bible is clear about the grace available only through Christ: John 1:17 – For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

So what is this grace that is available to us because of Christ?

I want to highlight three things that I try to remember in my daily life:

1. Grace gives us power

Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

This is a critical component of grace. Grace has a direct impact on sin in our lives. Grace should empower us to not allow ANY sin to be master over us.

This is the incredible advantage that ALL of us in the New Covenant have over those in the Old Covenant. Jesus brought the full power of grace and reality (no hypocrisy; truth) to humankind. So everybody who receives Jesus by faith has access to His grace (Romans 5:1-2)– where sin losing its mastery over is becomes a living reality.

We also read the words of Jesus to Paul: 2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Here again, grace is connected with power. And it is the power to help us in our lives, even in the midst of all our weaknesses. There is on excuse for us despite all our weaknesses – His grace gives us strength and power.

So I want to challenge us to live this life of grace, which is a life of power over sin.

2. Grace makes us rich

2 Corinthians 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

The Bible refers to grace as God’s riches on multiple occasions. But I think this is something that is completely missed by many Christians. We are so used to thinking of riches only in the context of money, because we live in this world where it is defined this way.But we must learn the definition of words based on how the Bible uses it. And the Bible gives me a new way to look at riches.

The Bible tells me that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and that those who want to get rich with money fall into all kinds of foolish desires. But the Bible also tells me that the grace of God is riches. So if I say that I am a recipient of God’s grace in Christ, then I am very rich.So I must recognize that I am a very rich person because of the grace of Jesus Christ.

So I want to challenge us to live this life of grace, which makes you rich in Christ!

3. Grace makes us poor

2 Corinthians 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Just so that none of us get the wrong idea of what it means to be rich in Christ, we see the true model of our richness in Christ in this verse. This verse tells us that we are rich because Jesus became poor. But since we are to be like Jesus, we follow in His footsteps, and in the demonstration of His grace. And so, we who are now rich, choose to be poor for the sake of others.

Now, this does not mean that we are no longer rich in Christ. No, we remain rich in Christ, but we never use it to our advantage over other human beings. Jesus was the Son of God but when He lived on this earth, He never used it to overpower humans or assert Himself over mankind. He referred to Himself as an ordinary Son of Man, and He only used His power to defeat the devil and release people on earth who were bound and oppressed by the the powers of evil.

So also, we are very rich in Christ, but in living here on earth, we do not seek to assert ourselves over others. We do not act like so many of the rich of this earth who “lord it over others” (Luke 22:24- 27). Instead, we are among others as ones who serve; as ones who are poor.

So I want to challenge you to live this life of grace, which makes you poor like your Savior in order that others too can see the riches they too have in Christ!

So in closing, may we accept God’s great mercy over us by giving us life and all the things on this earth that we enjoy. And we embrace the sacrifice of His Son in dying for us when we didn’t deserve it. But we don’t stop with God’s mercy. We also embrace the power and the riches of His grace, and it also drives us to become servants (poor) so that others too might become partakers of this grace.

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