Got pulled over by a cop for a traffic offense? You were guilty. You knew the penalty, the punishment. But wait. The officer turns to you, advises you to be mindful about traffic laws, and lets you off the hook. Just like that. Has it happened to you? It happened to me. If it happened to you, you were a recipient of mercy. You were let off the hook, when you didn’t deserve.
Mercy is when you don’t receive what you deserve: punishment.
You may not have received mercy for civil law breaking, but when you gave your heart to Jesus, you met the God ‘rich in mercy’ (Ephesians 2:4). He showed you mercy when you didn’t deserve. Paul wrote:
“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5, NLT).
He saved us because of his mercy. Instead of punishing and giving us what we deserve (Romans 6:23), He saved us from the punishment. Isaiah said it this way:
“He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5, ERV).
Mercy is not cheap. It is expensive because it costed His Son’s life to set us free.
Mercy is good news, but wait till you hear the other word. Grace. Grace is much more than mercy.
How so? Because mercy is not receiving what you deserve: punishment. But grace is when you receive what you don’t deserve: reward.
The prodigal son received mercy when the father accepted him as a son. Grace when he threw him a party.
The thief on the cross received mercy when he experienced forgiveness. Grace when Jesus promised Him paradise.
We received mercy when God saved us from the punishment for our sins. Grace when He gave us eternal life (1 John 5:11); made us sons and daughters (John 1:12), and reserved an inheritance for us for eternity (1 Peter 1:4).
Mercy and Grace are amazing! That’s why we sing that famous hymn Amazing Grace, and have many hymns praising God’s grace.
Not only is grace amazing. It is also the central theme in the Bible. It is about a gracious God who pursues us, came for us, cared for us, and coming again for us.
Note a few things the Bible says about grace:
Grace is God’s gift to me: “All of us need to be made right with God by His grace, which is a free gift through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:24, NCV)
Grace is for everyone: “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11, NLT).
Grace comes through Jesus: “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17, NIV).
Grace is received by faith: “God saved you by his grace when you believed.” (Ephesians 2:8, NLT).
Grace is God’s gift for all eternity: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Grace is God’s gift of forgiveness: “But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:15).
Grace is God’s power to change: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16).
Yes, grace changes people. The apostle made it clear that the gospel of His grace and mercy is intended to turn people to God and from their sins (Romans 2:4). Grace not only forgives, it changes, transforms, rewires everyone who comes under its power.
There is more. When grace happens, gratitude happens. ‘And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:15)
You can live a life of gratitude to God, not because of anything you did, but because of what He did for you. If you have put your complete trust in His Son to save you, He says He has given you life (you were born again), and has saved you:
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Like to thank him for His mercy and grace? Here’s what you can do:
- Make a list of your grace and mercy experiences.
- Talk with God over the list, and thank Him for each blessing
- Share your experiences with your friends, and spread the joy
- Keep the list, add to it and return to it when you need to remember His goodness
Praise God for His mercy! Praise God for His grace![/box_holder]
John Mendis is a member of the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist church in Sri Lanka and a financial consultant by profession. He runs his own blogsite at everlasting-gospel.blogspot.com