God's Divine Mercy --- God's Divine Grace
What is the difference between mercy and grace?
MERCY is God withholding the punishment we deserve because of our sinfulness. The consequences of our sin is death, yet Jesus paid this penalty for us (Rom. 6:23). God is long-suffering and will delay giving us our just punishment in order for us to have every opportunity to repent and to receive His gift of salvation 2 Pet. 3:9. Without divine mercy, we could never come to God, never ever seek his face, never depend upon him and call him our Father. Mercy is at the heart of the Christian faith.
When we consider the character and holiness of God, we certainly need to think about Godís mercy, grace and judgement. So far we have considered God as the Creator Ė the one who is far above the heavens and who put everything in its place. Also consider how he rules and reigns with supreme authority and wisdom throughout the Universe. But how can we come to such a one. How can we have a relationship with him? Only by his mercy.
Ephesians 2.4 tells us that fundamentally Godís mercy is about forgiveness. So many people all around the world think the same thing, that they will be able to approach God on their own merit. Itís human nature to think that way, but even your very best, is not enough to please God. Whatever else our needs may be, our most important need is to be forgiven. Sin is what breaks our relationship with God. How many times, if you can count them, has sin caused you problems and difficulties in relationships. We know that is true. How much more so in our relationship with the Lord of all.
However, Godís mercy means that he does not treat us as our sins deserve.
Psalm 103.10 Ėsays ďhe does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquitiesĒ.
Where would you be if it wasnít for Godís mercy. You would not be here. We are deserving of judgment, of destruction, punishment and condemnation. But Godís mercy means that we are not treated as our sins deserve. Godís mercy means we can be forgiven.
Godís abundant mercy means forgiveness for wicked, sinful people like you and me. If Godís mercy only forgives a little, we are in deep trouble; no but His divine mercy is wide and his saving grace is wide. Don't we find it easy to forgive a little, but we find it hard to forgive much. If that is true of Godís mercy, then we are in serious trouble. Godís mercy knows no bounds. So great is Godís mercy that it is almost inexpressible. In His presence grace and mercy knows no limit. There is none who is beyond his saving power.
Itís not enough to know that he is a God of mercy and that his mercy is unbounded. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that the offer of Godís mercy is free and available to all. Let us not limit Godís divine mercy. We feel deep down that there are certain people who are somehow beyond Godís mercy. It is simply not true. It is available to all. If we are honest there are certain groups of people that make us feel uncomfortable. People with certain backgrounds and lifestyles. Sinners are of all shapes, types, ages, sizes, and orientations. But Godís mercy is available to all.
Consider Gods Great Plan of Salvation to Redeem Lost Sinners. In 1 Timothy 2 we read how God wants all men to be saved. So his mercy is not limited. And he has given the church the job of proclaiming that mercy, so our reaching out must not be limited.
It does not come to everybody automatically. It is not a case of donít worry about anything, Godís mercy will come to you. You need to do something Ė you need to call on the name of the Lord. But Godís mercy is guaranteed. Paul says in
Romans in 10.11 ďEveryone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.Ē
We must see our need of Godís mercy. we must appeal to Godís mercy. we must proclaim Godís mercy.
Our sin is great. In Gods Great Plan of Salvation to Redeem Lost Sinners, we see that Godís mercy is greater. Our sin is enormous, yet Godís mercy is boundless. Our sin drives a wedge between ourselves and God, yet Godís mercy is freely available to all who call on him and comes with a solid, lifetime guarantee. So call on him. Whether you have never done so before or not. However long you have followed him, appeal and call on his mercy today.
GRACE is most commonly called "unmerited favor", undeserved favor of God. Grace is what God offers to fallen sinners through the salvation. The forgiveness we receive in Christ is through no works we ourselves can do, it is why we call it "unmerited favor".
2 Tim. 1:9,Paul tells us ďhas saved us and called us to a holy life --not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ JesusÖ.Ē Who better to preach about the grace of God than Paul, one who had experienced the abundance of Godís grace.
All of us are sinners. We all deserve to die. But God gives us what we need instead of what we deserve. This is what grace is. No person has sinned too much to be forgiven either. ďGodís law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now Godís wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us the right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our LordĒ The grace of God comes to us in our poor sinful condition and offers us the mercy of God when we deserve His wrath. So grace comes to us giving us mercy.
Grace is the unearned gifts the Father bestows on His children. The Lord relates to us only by His grace. His grace provided salvation though we deserved destruction.