Mercy & Grace
Some time ago, I heard the best explanation for mercy and grace that I have ever heard. Grace is giving someone what they do not deserve, and mercy is not giving someone what they do deserve.
I feel today that we focus on grace a lot. Sermons on grace, discussions about grace, books about grace. Lots of focus on grace. Which is good. Grace is important. But what about Mercy? Maybe it’s easier to focus on being able to give people what they don’t deserve. It’s easier to give what they don’t have, or give more abundantly of what they need. But what about Mercy? What about not giving people what they do deserve, or at least, what we feel they deserve?
Maybe, we first need to understand God’s mercy for us?
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.” Psalm 89:14.
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …” Deuteronomy 7:9.
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful …” 2 Samuel 22:26.
“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Psalm 86:15.
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10.
Let’s note for a minute that many of these notes about God’s mercy come from the Psalms, mostly written by David. Who we know was first introduced right before he slayed Goliath, which would be one of our favorite stories about David. But let us not forget, that he is an adulterer and a murderer. And, yet, in Hebrews 11 – in the “Hall of Faith” is listed as one of our great leaders of Faith, and titled the “Man after God’s own heart.” Why? Because if anyone is going to appreciate the Mercy of God (not receiving what you do deserve), it would be someone who is an adulterer and a murderer. Especially during a time, when both of these crimes were punishable by death. By all rights, David deserved to die. Even in this day and age, we believe that most people who commit either of these sins, could be punishable by death. And, yet, he was a man after God’s own heart.
How can that be?!?
Because God has mercy, in abundance! Because “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …” Deuteronomy 7:9.
Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?
God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.
But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.
But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.
Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU!! Thank You, for being the good, good Father, who sees where we are, and doesn’t leave us there. Thank you for Your INCREDIBLE MERCY. Thank You, that you love us so much, that You have sent us the answer. In Jesus Christ. That you have given us the instruction manual of the Bible. Thank You, that you gave us a way, back to You. Thank You, that You make it so we ALL can come back into Your garden. That we all may walk with you, and talk with you, and be called Your own. That you yearn for us so much, that You look past all our transgressions, every time we make them. That you forgive our sins so thoroughly that it’s, as if, we never did them at all. Thank You for being our Father, and the best example of mercy and grace that we can all strive for. May Your blessings rain upon us, in overflow, and may we all draw closer to you, and grow deeper in Your love, grace, and MERCY for all. That we may see mankind as You do, and see ourselves as You do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Going to take a short break from promoting Operation Christmas Child, to promote the Women’s Alive Conference! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th.
If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!
Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.