A Merciful God
Attend a prayer meeting with almost any group of Christians and it will not be long before you hear thanks being given to God for “your mercy and your grace.” God’s grace and mercy are two of his most familiar and defining characteristics. Psalms 86:15 and 145:8 tell us that God is both merciful and gracious. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that through prayer we find God’s mercy and grace (Heb. 4:16). And the apostles often extend greetings based on God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2 John 1:3).
But how many people in our prayer meetings know the difference between God’s mercy and his grace? And without knowing their difference, are we truly able to appreciate their value? Perhaps the easiest way to distinguish between the two is this: God’s grace is seen when we receive things we don’t deserve, and His mercy is seen when we are spared what we do deserve. Again, using broad brush strokes . . . we do not deserve God’s gift of salvation, but we have received it in spite of our sin. Therefore, we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). On the other hand, we do deserve his judgment for our sins, but have not received it. Therefore, we are saved also because of his mercy (Tit. 3:5).
God’s mercy—that attribute of his which spares us from our just deserts—is not only active in our ultimate salvation, but in our daily spiritual experience as well. Why? Because if we got what we deserved, we would be lonely both now and forever. With the first sinful thought or action our accountable minds conceived, God would have been justified in forsaking us forever. Instead, mercifully, he momentarily forsook his own Son in order that we might not lose our relationship with him which is also the basis for our relationships with one another (Mark 15:34).
God is merciful. He does not abandon, destroy, or forget his promises of old—his promises to bless us in spite of our sin. Because of his mercy, we can live in his presence, and in the presence of others who know him, now and in eternity.
God’s Promise to You: “My mercy is my love that keeps us from ever being separated.”
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