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What Is The Difference Between Grace And Mercy?

What is the difference between grace and mercy?


Grace and mercy are two words that are prominent throughout the Old and New Testaments.

They are both key components of the nature of God and sometimes are used interchangeably. However, grace and mercy are distinctly different in meaning but stem from the same source.

They can be said to be two sides of the same coin. 

Grace, according to KJV Dictionary, is defined as “the free unmerited love and favour of God.” 

It also defines it as “favourable influence of God.” The Greek word for grace is charis, which means “favor.” Grace is a favor or gift given freely without being merited or earned. Whereas mercy is unmerited pardon.

According to the KJV dictionary, mercy is the “benevolence, mildness, or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves.” 

The Greek word for mercy is eleos, meaning “compassion” or “pity.”

To help better understand both terms, let’s view them through real-life scenarios.

For instance, there’s a person who uses all given chance to antagonize you and make life difficult for you, and one day, that person is involved in an accident, and you happen to get to the scene and help that person to the hospital quickly with your car and pay off their medical bills to get treated.

That is grace.what is god's grace and mercy

You freely attended to the person’s needs even when they did not deserve your kindness, and you had no reason to help except your love for them, regardless of what they had done to you.

This is an unmerited favor. 

Now, if another person antagonizes you to the point of damaging your property and someone else witnesses it and calls the police, but you go bail the person out by dropping charges against them, that’s mercy.

They did something deserving of punishment, but you overlooked their wrong and let them off the hook due to love. This is an unmerited pardon.

Whether or not the person begged, simply preventing them from facing due punishment for what they did wrong to you is an act of mercy on your part.

Both grace and mercy are attributes of God, which He demonstrated (and still demonstrates) in the lives of humans.

Let’s look closely at both grace and mercy to fully understand their differences.

What GRACE Doesgrace vs mercy

Without grace, there are many things that we enjoy that we would not have been able to come close to.

Grace is one reason why we experience a great deal of blessings.

Every single person on earth enjoys some level of grace.

The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Sin separates us from God because He hates sin (Habakkuk 1:13; Isaiah 59:1-2; Jeremiah 44:4).

However, with as much as God hates sin, He allows those who live in sin and provoke Him continually to enjoy many benefits such as the air we breathe, water, sunlight, rainfall, and all of nature’s beauty (Matthew 5:45).

He also allows them to enjoy good gifts in this world, for the Bible says that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17).

This kind of grace can be referred to as common grace because everyone is a partaker of this grace.

However, another kind of grace makes it possible to enjoy another dimension of God. This can be seen in the things Grace does.

The common grace is not accepted and appreciated by all and can, therefore, restrict what grace can do.

Here are some of the things grace does:

Grace savesmercy vs grace

Ephesians 2:8 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and not yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

The gift of salvation is a result of grace.

In verse five of Ephesians chapter two, Apostle Paul mentions that we were dead in our sins but had been made alive in Christ by God, saving us by His grace.

We did not deserve to be saved, but God showed us the favor.

We did nothing to merit and freely made salvation possible by His grace.

No one can be saved if not for God’s grace.

Grace justifiesdifference between grace and mercy

Romans 5:15

“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

Romans 3:24

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

We are justified by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Jesus died for a world of sin while we were still actively living in sin.

This grace is what Paul kept on referring to as a “free gift” or “gift of grace.”

It was a gift we did not merit, a gift that justified us after it saved us. Grace is a gift we enjoy its many benefits only in Christ.

It is so enormous that it does much more than what sin did, according to Romans 5:15, quoted above.

Through one Man, Jesus Christ, the gift of grace has been made to abound to many freely, as many as would be in Him.

We cannot do anything to merit this. All our works fall sort alone.

The grace makes justification possible for us to enjoy eternal life (Titus 3:7; Romans 5:21).

Grace electsgrace and mercy

Romans 11:5-6

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” 

No one can earn grace because it is clearly not a reward for good work.

Grace is simply given.

To as many as receive this grace, grace elects them and makes them part of God’s remnant people.

Not everyone accepts this gift of grace. Therefore, not everyone can enjoy the election of grace.

Through grace, we are elected as God’s chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).

Grace empowersgrace and mercy meaning

1 Corinthians 15:10

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly that they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Paul pinpointed one thing that enabled him to do all he did in God’s kingdom: grace.

Grace empowered him to carry the work of God to the point he carried it to.

It is the grace of God that gives us the power to do God’s will in our lives.

You cannot achieve this by your own strength. God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul said that the grace he received was not in vain.

He used the grace given, so he achieved a lot for God. Grace is the enabling force that drives us to achieve much for God in this world.

What MERCY Doeswhat is the difference between grace and mercy

Mercy and grace go hand in hand.

Where you see grace, mercy is nearby.

In fact, grace could be seen as a product of mercy.

God’s mercy towards the people of Israel made them enjoy His saving grace (Hosea 1:7; Psalms 89:28).

Mercy is shown even when the receiver deserves to receive judgment.

Mercy stems from compassion.

God had compassion for several people in the Bible, which led to Him showing mercy. 

Mercy pardonsgrace and mercy definition

Jesus Christ gave a perfect example of mercy in Matthew 18:23-35 when He spoke on forgiveness.

The king pardoned the servant (shown mercy) but did not reciprocate that mercy to his fellow.

The king had compassion for him and forgave his debt. Justice demands he repay his debt. However, mercy pardons. 

There’s a popular song by Cece Winans that says, “Mercy said no.”

It shows the very essence of the mercy of God.

When we deserve judgment but receive grace instead, it is a result of the mercy of God. God’s compassion makes Him extend an arm of mercy towards the offender. 

Mercy deliversdifference between mercy and grace

The children of Israel disobeyed God several times.

When they were suffering the results of their disobedience, and they cried out to God, His heart softened towards them, and He delivered them from their distresses (Psalms 107:6; Numbers 20:16; Judges 10:12).

Though they deserved to remain in the consequences of their disobedience, God showed them mercy time and time again.

Like the Israelites in the Bible, we do things that deserve punishment and face the full consequences of our actions.

Still, the mercy of God intervenes, and we are pardoned and delivered.

Mercy protectsmercy and grace

Lamentations 3:22

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”

God’s mercy protects us from evil.

It is mercy that steps in to prevent what the enemy wishes upon your life because, honestly, you may have done one or two things to attract or give access to him to harm you in one way or another.

However, the mercy of God does not allow it.

We may never know what God averted for us that we genuinely deserve based on our sins and the times we disobeyed His instructions.

We could have been consumed, but mercy prevented that and protected us.

The mercy of God does a lot for us, such as healing us, giving us access to blessings we do not qualify for, and shielding us from harm.

Without the mercy of God towards us, we cannot know grace, let alone enjoy it.

Are GRACE and MERCY similar?definition of grace and mercy

The similarity between grace and mercy is that they are attributes of God.

There is not one without the other.

The Bible usually mentions them side by side, not interchangeably.

God is described as being “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). He is also “plenteous in mercy” (Psalms 103:8). He embodies both mercy and grace.

Both grace and mercy are unmerited.

You can do nothing to “deserve” or “win” them.

They are purely from a place of benevolence.

This is their significant similarity.

Both are virtues of the Spirit of God, and both are unmerited. 

Also, grace and mercy are a result of love.

The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).god's mercy and grace

It was love that moved God to have compassion on the world for Him to show us mercy and make a way of salvation for us.

God’s judgment for sin is death (Romans 6:23; Matthew 13:49-50). However, His mercy made provision for a savior, Jesus Christ, in whom we have grace.

The Bible says that God has mercy on whom He wants and compassion on whom He wills to (Romans 9:15; Exodus 33:19).

He chose to show mercy on the entire world by sending Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins so we can be saved/delivered from His judgment.

As we have earlier learned, His mercy delivers and allows us to fully enjoy the benefits of grace. 

Without mercy, it will not be possible to have access to grace.

The grace of air, sunlight, and all of nature that the whole world partakes of generally results from God’s mercy. Sin is worthy of instantaneous judgment upon the world, but mercy allows patience.

This is why God is said to have great mercy (Psalms 145:8).

Only mercy prevents God from instantly wiping out all humanity due to the daily outrageous sins committed. 

Apostle Paul was a product of the mercy of God. He had led to the deaths of several Christians, and he was on his way to do more when the mercy of God got to Him (1 Timothy 1:15-16).definition of mercy and grace

The people of Nineveh were also shown mercy, which was why God sent Jonah to them (Jonah 4:2).

The adulterous woman in John 8:3-11 was shown mercy when she could have been stoned to death.

Every born-again child of God was shown mercy as well! The Bible says in Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” 

If God had not shown us mercy, we would not be able to enjoy the sufficiency of His grace.

Grace and mercy are both attributes of God that we enjoy.

They should be grateful because we could not have possibly been able to do anything to deserve them.

They are different yet similar because they originate from one source: God.


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