Have you ever considered the difference between mercy and grace? They are certainly related to one another, but there is a distinct difference.
Distinguishing Between Mercy and Grace
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV
God offers both mercy and grace through His son Jesus. But, if we need both, what is the difference between mercy and grace?
I’ll admit that this has been confusing to me. So, I’ve gone on a little research mission and thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned.
I’ll start with grace. Grace is unmerited favor. It is receiving what you do not deserve. There are several different kinds of grace that God offers. For example, God lavishes grace upon us by freely giving us salvation through faith in Jesus. Our redemption is something we receive that we don’t deserve (because we are sinners) and something we cannot earn.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:89-9 NIV
Mercy, on the other hand, is God sparing us from what we do deserve. We deserve judgment and punishment for our sins, but because God is merciful, He holds these back. Because of His great mercy God forgives us of sins that others may deem unforgiveable and where we justly warrant punishment and discipline.
Thank God for His Mercy and Grace
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
So, grace and mercy are different. They are related, but distinct from one another. God gives us unmerited favor (grace) and withholds discipline and consequences (mercy).