Mercy and Grace
Have you ever sat down and during a quiet moment contemplate the grace and mercy of God? It is such an interesting and uplifting thought. To meditated upon the mercy and grace of Almighty God and why I am allowed to sit and contemplate about the deep things of the universe is such a privilege that words can not articulate the honor. Lets discuss some of those thoughts.
Grace and Mercy Defined
Grace is favor. Not unmerited favor. “Unmerited favor” is really just favor. If favor is merited then favor becomes a wage (cf Rom. 4:1-4). Think about grace in this way: grace is God giving us a gift that we did not deserve and did not cost us anything. God showed grace to the children of Israel in that he gave into their hands Jericho (Josh. 6:1-2). Now, that doesn’t mean that Joshua and children of Israel didn’t have to do anything to take advantage of the grace that was given. They had specific instructions for obtaining the benefit of the grace offered by God (Josh. 6:3-5). Numerous examples of this formula can be cited. The greatest of which is the grace that has appeared unto mankind (Tit. 2:11). There has been a way prepared because of the grace of God and man has specific instructions concerning how to have that grace multiplied to him (cf 2 Pet. 1:2-3).
Mercy is a little different. As grace is getting something we don’t deserve mercy is not getting something we do deserve. That which is deserved is a negative consequence of our own actions or the actions of others. Relating to God, and man’s salvation, mercy is not receiving a negative consequence of our own actions in relation to living life on this earth (2 Cor. 5:10).
So, simply put, mercy is not getting the negative consequence we deserve and grace is receiving something positive that we did not earn nor deserve.
Grace Came First
It has been my experience that we typically think about mercy coming first. However, mercy was not possible until grace was shown. I believe we typically think about God in the garden coming to find Adam and Eve hiding and then, because of their sin, offering mercy by not doing what He said he would do, then sending the grace into the world so that they can be forgiven (Gen. 2:17). Friends, this is not so. The grace of God was first. God purposed to reconcile all mankind into one body before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 3:6, 9-11). Remember, God functions outside of time and space. He can discern the end from the beginning, meaning He sees both at once (Isa. 46:10). God sees the whole of creation stretched out from the beginning to the end at one time. What we experience in the moment God sees as a system all at once. God knew man would sin so God sent the grace into the world first, in His mind. Now, because God could look over all of that great expanse of time and see the cross He could offer mercy to Adam and Eve and not punish them the way they deserve.
Mercy and Grace Applied to All at Once
By the same act God showed grace and mercy to all of humanity at one time. Grace appeared to all mankind in the form of God providing the way for man to be reconciled to Him and mercy was shown to all mankind in the act of God not punishing Adam and Eve. Mercy was shown in that act to all mankind because to punish Adam by death meant all of humanity would have died. This is a physical death we are talking about. When Adam ate that fruit he killed you. If God wasn’t able to apply mercy to that situation because of the grace that had already been provided then we would not be alive to obey the gospel. The apostles understood this. It was logical to them. They understood that if one died for all then all were dead (2 Cor. 5:14). Verse fifteen of that text teaches that they are not talking about a spiritual death. The apostles understood that the reason we are alive is so that we can live our lives for Christ and not fulfill the desires of our own flesh. Knowing that my justification of life is because Jesus died for me only makes my resolve to live in the flesh for Him stronger so that I can live with Him spiritually for eternity (cf Rom. 5:18). The only way God could justify letting mankind live through Adam was because of the grace He showed by sending His Son. Praise God.
Knowing this information, what do you plan to do to take full advantage of the mercy and the grace of God? To do nothing is to make null and void the gift of God. I pray we will ever strive to make the sacrifice of grace and the subsequent mercy we received because of it worth as much as we possibly can by living for Christ. Our lives are not our own. We belong to God physically. Have you given yourself to Him spiritually? If not, why not? Please, let the things written here break the fallow ground of your heart that you may obey that simple and sweet gospel and take advantage of the grace and mercy so freely given. It is doled out at the foot of the cross. Meet me there?