Grace and Mercy by Jack Kettler
“Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4)
In this study, we will look at both Grace and Mercy. Are these two words synonymous? Are they defined differently? If so, what are the distinctions?
As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical evidence, commentary evidence and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. May God be glorified always!
Definitions from two sources:
God’s unmerited favor toward the undeserving and ill-deserving; God giving sinners better than they deserve. *
That perfection of God whereby he is good “toward those in misery and distress.” *
Grace is unmerited favor. It is God’s free action for the benefit of His people. It is different than Justice and Mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God’s love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption.
Grace is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Grace rules out all human merit. It is the product of God that is given by God, because of who He is not because of who we are. It is the means of our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are no longer under the Law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). (See 1 Corinthians 15:11; Romans 5:2; Rom 5:15-20; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and 2 Corinthians 9:8). **
Mercy is the act of not administering justice when that justice is punitive. Because of our sinfulness we deserve death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23; Isaiah 59:2), but God provided an atonement for sin and through it shows us mercy. That is, He does not deliver to the Christian the natural consequence of his sin which is damnation. That is why Jesus became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21) and bore the punishment due to us (Isaiah 5345). It was to deliver us from damnation. (Compare with justice and grace.)
God saved us according to His mercy (Titus 3:5) and we can practice mercy as a gift (Romans 12:8). “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). **
Question: What is the difference between mercy and grace?
Answer: Mercy and grace are often confused. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy. ***
Grace from Scripture:
“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: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)
Romans 11:6 from Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
And if by grace, then is it no more of works, Upon election, being called “the election of grace”, the apostle forms an argument, showing the contrariety and inconsistency of grace, and works, in that affair; proving, that it must be by the one or the other: and if by the one, then not by the other; and that these two cannot be mixed and blended together in this matter. If election is “by grace”, as it certainly is; for no other reason can be given why God has chosen one, and not another, but his own sovereign pleasure, or that free favour and unmerited love, with which he loves one and not another; and not because they are better, or had done or would do better things than others; “then it is no more”, or not at all, for it never was “of works”, was not influenced by them, does not arise from them, for it passed before ever any were done; and those that are done aright spring from it, and therefore could never be the rule and measure, causes, motives, and conditions of it; otherwise grace is no more grace; for “Grace (as Austin has long ago observed) is not grace, unless it is altogether freed;”’ it will lose its nature, and ought to change its name, and be no more called or reckoned grace, but a due debt; and a choice of persons to salvation should be thought, not to be what God is free to make or not, but what he is obliged to, as a reward of debt to men’s works: but if it be of works, then it is no more grace; if election springs from, and depends upon the works of men, let no man ascribe it to the grace of God; for there is nothing of grace in it, if this be the case: otherwise work is no more work; that will free gift: but these things are contrary to one another; and so unalienable and unalterable in their natures, that the one cannot pass into the other, or the one be joined with the other, in this or any other part of man’s salvation; for what is here said of election, holds true of justification, pardon of sin, and the whole of salvation. The Ethiopic version applies it to justification. (1)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
Mercy from Scripture:
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Lamentations 3:22 from Matthew Poole’s Commentary:
Mercy is nothing else but love flowing freely from any to persons in misery, and differs from compassion only in the freeness of the emanation. It is not because God had not power enough utterly to have consumed us, nor because we had not guilt enough to have provoked his justice to have put an end to our lives, as well as to the lives of many thousands of our countrymen, but it is merely from the Lord’s free love and pity to us in our miseries. If God had not a blessing in store for us, how is it that we are captives, and not slain as many others were during the siege? (2)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…” (Ephesians 2:4)
Grace – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
[1, G5485, charis]
has various uses,
(a) objective, that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; it is applied, e.g., to beauty, or gracefulness of person, Luke 2:40; act, 2 Corinthians 8:6, or speech, Luke 4:22, RV, words of grace” (AV, “gracious words”); Colossians 4:6;
(1) on the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill generally, e.g., Acts 7:10; especially with reference to the Divine favor or “grace,” e.g., Acts 14:26; in this respect there is stress on its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character, as in the case of God’s redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set in contrast with debt, Romans 4:4,16, with works, Romans 11:6, and with law, John 1:17; See also, e.g., Romans 6:14,15; Galatians 5:4;
(2) on the part of the receiver, a sense of the favor bestowed, a feeling of gratitude, e.g., Romans 6:17 (“thanks”); in this respect it sometimes signifies “to be thankful,” e.g., Luke 17:9 (“doth he thank the servant?’ lit., “hath he thanks to’); 1 Timothy 1:12;
(c) in another objective sense, the effect of “grace,” the spiritual state of those who have experienced its exercise, whether
(1) a state of “grace,” e.g., Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12; 2 Peter 3:18, or
(2) a proof thereof in practical effects, deeds of “grace,” e.g., 1 Corinthians 16:3, RV, “bounty” (AV, “liberality”); 2 Corinthians 8:6,19 (in 2 Corinthians 9:8 it means the sum of earthly blessings); the power and equipment for ministry, e.g., Romans 1:5; Romans 12:6; Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:2,7.
To be in favor with is to find “grace” with, e.g., Acts 2:47; hence it appears in this sense at the beginning and the end of several Epistles, where the writer desires “grace” from God for the readers, e.g., Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; in this respect it is connected with the imperative mood of the word chairo, “to rejoice,” a mode of greeting among Greeks, e.g., Acts 15:23; James 1:1 (marg.); 2 John 1:10,11, RV, “greeting” (AV, “God speed”).
The fact that “grace” is received both from God the Father, 2 Corinthians 1:12, and from Christ, Galatians 1:6; Romans 5:15 (where both are mentioned), is a testimony to the deity of Christ. See also 2 Thessalonians 1:12, where the phrase “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” is to be taken with each of the preceding clauses, “in you,” “and ye in Him.”
In James 4:6, “But He giveth more grace” (Greek, “a greater grace,” RV, marg.), the statement is to be taken in connection with the preceding verse, which contains two remonstrating, rhetorical questions, “Think ye that the Scripture speaketh in vain?” and “Doth the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) which He made to dwell in us long unto envying?” (See the RV). The implied answer to each is “it cannot be so.” Accordingly, if those who are acting so flagrantly, as if it were so, will listen to the Scripture instead of letting it speak in vain, and will act so that the Holy Spirit may have His way within, God will give even “a greater grace,” namely, all that follows from humbleness and from turning away from the world. See BENEFIT, BOUNTY, LIBERALITY, THANK.
Note: The corresponding verb charitoo, “to endue with Divine favor or grace,” is used in Luke 1:28, “highly favored” (marg., “endued with grace”) and Ephesians 1:6, AV, “hath made … accepted;” RV, “freely bestowed” (marg., “enduced.”).
[2, G2143, euprepeia]
“comeliness, goodly appearance,” is said of the outward appearance of the flower of the grass, James 1:11. (3)
Merciful (Adjective, and Verb, to be), Mercy (Noun, and Verb, to have, etc.) – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
Merciful (Adjective, and Verb, to be), Mercy (Noun, and Verb, to have, etc.)
[A-1, Noun, G1656, eleos]
is the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it. It is used
(a) of God, who is rich in mercy, Ephesians 2:4, and who has provided salvation for all men, Titus 3:5, for Jews, Luke 1:72, and Gentiles, Romans 15:9. He is merciful to those who fear him, Luke 1:50, for they also are compassed with infirmity, and He alone can succor them. Hence they are to pray boldly for mercy, Hebrews 4:16, and if for themselves, it is seemly that they should ask for mercy for one another, Galatians 6:16; 1 Timothy 1:2. When God brings His salvation to its issue at the Coming of Christ, His people will obtain His mercy, 2 Timothy 1:16; Jude 1:21;
(b) of men; for since God is merciful to them, He would have them show mercy to one another, Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7; Matthew 23:23; Luke 10:37; James 2:13.
“Wherever the words mercy and peace are found together they occur in that order, except in Galatians 6:16. Mercy is the act of God, peace is the resulting experience in the heart of man. Grace describes God’s attitude toward the law-breaker and the rebel; mercy is His attitude toward those who are in distress.”* [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 340,341.]
“In the order of the manifestation of God’s purposes of salvation grace must go before mercy … only the forgiven may be blessed … From this it follows that in each of the Apostolic salutations where these words occur, grace precedes mercy, 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4 (in some mss.); 2 John 1:3’ (Trench, Syn, xlvii).
[A-2, Noun, G3628, oiktirmos]
“pity, compassion for the ills of others,” is used
(a) of God, Who is “the Father of mercies,” 2 Corinthians 1:3; His “mercies” are the ground upon which believers are to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, as their reasonable service, Romans 12:1; under the Law he who set it at nought died without compassion, Hebrews 10:28;
(b) of men; believers are to feel and exhibit compassions one toward another, Philippians 2:1, RV “compassions,’ and Colossians 3:12, RV “(a heart) of compassion;” in these two places the word is preceded by No. 3, rendered “tender mercies” in the former, and “a heart” in the latter, RV.
[A-3, Noun, G4698, splanchnon]
“affections, the heart,” always in the plural in the NT, has reference to “feelings of kindness, goodwill, pity,” Philippians 2:1, RV, “tender mercies;” See AFFECTION, No. 2, and BOWELS.
Note: In Acts 13:34 the phrase, lit., “the holy things, the faithful things (of David)” is translated, “the holy and sure blessings,” RV; the AV, following the mss. in which the words “holy and” are absent, has “the sure mercies,” but notices the full phrase in the margin.
[B-1, Verb, G1653, eleeo]
akin to A, No. 1, signifies, in general, “to feel sympathy with the misery of another,” and especially sympathy manifested in act,
(a) in the Active Voice, “to have pity or mercy on, to show mercy” to, e.g., Matthew 9:27; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 17:15; Matthew 18:33; Matthew 20:30-Matthew 20:31 (three times in Mark, four in Luke); Romans 9:15-Romans 9:16, Romans 9:18; Romans 11:32; Romans 12:8; Philippians 2:27; Jude 1:22-Jude 1:23;
(b) in the Passive Voice, “to have pity or mercy shown one, to obtain mercy,” Matthew 5:7; Romans 11:30-Romans 11:31; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 1:13, 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:10.
[B-2, Verb, G3627, oikteiro]
akin to A, No. 2, “to have pity on” (from oiktos,””pity:’ oi, an exclamation, = oh!), occurs in Romans 9:15 (twice), where it follows No. 1 (twice); the point established there and in Exodus 33:19, from the Sept. of which it is quoted, is that the “mercy” and compassion shown by God are determined by nothing external to His attributes. Speaking generally oikteiro is a stronger term than eleeo.
[B-3, Verb, G2433, hilaskomai]
in profane Greek meant “to conciliate, appease, propitiate, cause the gods to be reconciled;” their goodwill was not regarded as their natural condition, but as something to be earned. The heathen believed their gods to be naturally alienated in feeling from man. In the NT the word never means to conciliate God; it signifies
(a) “to be propitious, merciful,” Luke 18:13, in the prayer of the publican;
(b) “to expiate, make propitiation for,” Hebrews 2:17, “make propitiation.” That God is not of Himself already alienated from man, See John 3:16. His attitude toward the sinner does not need to be changed by his efforts. With regard to his sin, an expiation is necessary, consistently with God’s holiness and for His righteousness’ sake, and that expiation His grace and love have provided in the atoning sacrifice of His Son; man, himself a sinner, justly exposed to God’s wrath (John 3:36), could never find an expiation. As Lightfoot says, “when the NT writers speak at length on the subject of Divine wrath, the hostility is represented, not as on the part of God, but of men.” Through that which God has accomplished in Christ, by His death, man, on becoming regenerate, escapes the merited wrath of God. The making of this expiation [(b) above], with its effect in the mercy of God
(a) is what is expressed in hilaskomai. The Sept. uses the compound verb exilaskomai, e.g., Genesis 32:20; Exodus 30:10, Exodus 30:15-Exodus 30:16; Exodus 32:30, and frequently in Lev. and Num. See PROPITIATION.
[C-1, Adjective, G1655, eleemon]
“merciful,” akin to A, No. 1, not simply possessed of pity but actively compassionate, is used of Christ as a High Priest, Hebrews 2:17, and of those who are like God, Matthew 5:7 (cp. Luke 6:35-Luke 6:36, where the RV, “sons” is to be read, as representing characteristics resembling those of their Father).
[C-2, Adjective, G3629, oiktirmon]
“pitiful, compassionate for the ills of others,” a stronger term than No. 1 (akin to A, No. 2), is used twice in Luke 6:36, “merciful” (of the character of God, to be expressed in His people); James 5:11, RV, “merciful,” AV, “of tender mercy.”
[C-3, Adjective, G2436, hileos]
“propitious, merciful” (akin to B, No. 3), was used in profane Greek just as in the case of the verb (which see). There is nothing of this in the use of the word in Scripture. The quality expressed by it there essentially appertains to God, though man is underserving of it. It is used only of God, Hebrews 8:12; in Matthew 16:22, “Be it far from Thee” (Peter’s word to Christ) may have the meaning given in the RV marg., “(God) have mercy on Thee,” lit., “propitious to Thee” (AV marg., “Pity Thyself”). Cp. the Sept., 2 Samuel 20:20; 2 Samuel 23:17.
[C-4, Adjective, 448, aneleos / anileos] “unmerciful, merciless” (a, negative, n, euphonic, and A, No. 2, or C, No. 3), occurs in James 2:13, said of judgment on him who shows no “mercy.” (4)
Grace (χαρις) From Berkhof’s Systematic Theology:
The Biblical Use of the Term “Grace.” The word “grace” is not always used in the same sense in Scripture, but has a variety of meanings. In the Old Testament we have the word chen (adj. chanun), from the root chanan. The noun may denote gracefulness or beauty, Prov. 22:11; 31:30, but most generally means favour or good-will. The Old Testament repeatedly speaks of finding favour in the eyes of God or of man. The favour so found carries with it the bestowal of favours or blessings. This means that grace is not an abstract quality, but is an active, working principle, manifesting itself in beneficent acts, Gen. 6:8; 19:19; 33:15; Ex. 33:12; 34:9; I Sam 1:18; 27:5; Esth. 2:7. The fundamental idea is, that the blessings graciously bestowed are freely given, and not in consideration of any claim or merit. The New Testament word charis, from chairein, “to rejoice,” denotes first of all a pleasant external appearance, “loveliness,” “agreeableness,” “acceptableness,” and has some such meaning in Luke 4:22; Col. 4:6. A more prominent meaning of the word, however, is favour or good-will, Luke 1:30; 2:40, 52; Acts 2:47; 7:46; 24:27; 25:9. It may denote the kindness of beneficence of our Lord, II Cor. 8:9, or the favour manifested or bestowed by God, II Cor. 9:8 (referring to material blessings); I Pet. 5:10. Furthermore, the word is expressive of the emotion awakened in the heart of the recipient of such favour, and thus acquires the meaning “gratitude” or “thankfulness,” Luke 4:22; I Cor. 10:30; 15:57; II Cor. 2:14; 8:16; I Tim. 1:12. In most of the passages, however, in which the word charis is used in the New Testament, it signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, affected through the agency of the Holy Spirit. While we sometimes speak of grace as an inherent quality, it is in reality the active communication of divine blessings by the inworking of the Holy Spirit, out of the fulness of Him who is “full of grace and truth,” Rom. 3:24; 5:2, 15; 17:20; 6:1; I Cor. 1:4; II Cor. 6:1; 8:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:5, 8; 3:7; I Pet. 3:7; 5:12. (5)
Mercy; Merciful from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
mur’-si, mur’-si-fool (checedh, racham, chanan; eleos, eleeo, oiktirmos): “Mercy” is a distinctive Bible word characterizing God as revealed to men.
In the Old Testament it is most often the translation of checedh, “kindness,” “loving-kindness” (see LOVINGKINDNESS), but rachamim, literally, “bowels” (the sympathetic region), and chanan, “to be inclined to,” “to be gracious,” are also frequently translated “mercy”; eleos, “kindness,” “beneficence,” and eleeo, “to show kindness,” are the chief words rendering “mercy” in the New Testament; oiktirmos, “pity,” “compassion,” occurs a few times, also oiktirmon, “pitiful,” eleemon, “kind,” ‘compassionate,’ twice; hileos, “forgiving,” and anileos, “not forgiving,” “without mercy,’ once each (Heb 8:12; Jas 2:13).
(1) Mercy is (a) an essential quality of God (Ex 34:6-7; De 4:31; Ps 62:12, etc.); it is His delight (Mic 7:18,20; Ps 52:8); He is “the Father of mercies” (2Co 1:3), “rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4), “full of pity, and merciful” (Jas 5:11); (b) it is associated with forgiveness (Ex 34:7; Nu 14:18; 1Ti 1:13,16); (c) with His forbearance (Ps 145:8, “Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great lovingkindness”; compare Ro 2:4; 11:32); (d) with His covenant (1Ki 8:23; Ne 1:5), with His justice (Ps 101:1), with His faithfulness (Ps 89:24), with His truth (Ps 108:4); mercy and truth are united in Pr. 3:3; 14:22, etc. (in Ps 85:10 we have “Mercy and truth are met together”); (e) it goes forth to all (Ps 145:9, “Yahweh is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works”; compare Ps 145:16, “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing,” the Revised Version margin “satisfiest every living thing with favor”); (f) it shows itself in pitying help (Ex 3:7; Ezr 9:9 f), supremely in Christ and His salvation (Lu 1:50,54,58; Eph. 2:4); (g) it is abundant, practically infinite (Ps 86:5,15; 119:64); (h) it is everlasting (1Ch 16:34,41; Ezr. 3:11; Ps 100:5; 136:1-26 repeatedly).
(2) “Mercy” is used of man as well as of God, and is required on man’s part toward man and beast (De 25:4; Ps 37:21; 109:16; Pr. 12:10; Da 4:27; Mic 6:8; Mt 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”; Mt 25:31-46; Lu 6:36, “Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; Lu 10:30 f, the Good Samaritan; Lu 14:12-16; Jas 3:17).
(3) In the New Testament “mercy” (eleos, usually the Septuagint translation of checedh) is associated with “grace” (charis) in the apostolical greetings and elsewhere. Trench points out that the difference between them is that the freeness of God’s love is the central point of charis, while eleos has in view misery and its relief; charis is His free grace and gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins–extended to men as they are guilty; His eleos (is extended to them) as they are miserable. The lower creation may be the object of His mercy (eleos), but man alone of His grace (charis); he alone needs it and is capable of receiving it (Synonyms of the New Testament, 163 f).
(4) From all the foregoing it will be seen that mercy in God is not merely His pardon of offenders, but His attitude to man, and to the world generally, from which His pardoning mercy proceeds. The frequency with which mercy is enjoined on men is specially deserving of notice, with the exclusion of the unmerciful from sonship to the all-merciful Father and from the benefits of His mercifulness. Shakespeare’s question, “How canst thou hope for mercy rendering none?” is fully warranted by our Lord’s teaching and by Scripture in general; compare especially the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mt 18:21-35).
(5) As the rule, the American Standard Revised Version has “lovingkindness” for “mercy” when checedh is used of God, and “kindness” when it is used of men in relation to each other. “Compassion” (translation of racham) is also in several instances substituted for “mercy” (Isa 9:17; 14:1; 27:11; Jer. 13:14; 30:18), also “goodness” (translation of checedh referring to man) (Ho 4:1; 6:6). W. L. Walker (6)
Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 87:
Q: What is repentance unto life?
A: Repentance unto life is a saving grace,1 whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin,2 and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ,3 doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God,4 with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.5
1. Acts 11:18. When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
2. Acts 2:37-38. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
3. Joel 2:13. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
4. Jeremiah 31:18-19. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
5. 2 Corinthians 7:11. For behold this selfsame thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Psalm 119:59. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
In closing, some additional Scriptures on God’s gracious actions:
“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you and heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” (Psalm 65:4)
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” (John 5:21)
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” (Acts 16:14)
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in heavenly with Christ, (by grace ye are saved ;)” (Ephesians 2:1, 5)
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
After reading these Scriptures, the reader will have noticed the words and phrases in these passages such as “circumcise” “give” “put” “opened her heart” “gives life” “ordained” “he made alive” and “you hath He quickened.” These verses teach that God’s gracious action is responsible for our conversion, not our works.
As we saw from the passage from Ezekiel, the prophet taught that we had hearts of stone before our conversion. Also, the apostle Paul teaches that we were slaves in bondage to sin. We must conclude that God’s gracious actions for us are real. We are saved by grace, God’s unmerited favor, and God mercifully turned away His wrath from us that are in Christ Jesus.
Grace and mercy are not the same. We can say that mercy is: God not punishing us for our sins and grace is God blessing us when we do not deserve it. Hence, grace is God’s unmerited favor, and mercy is our deliverance from God’s righteous judgment.
“Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:12)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Romans, 9 Volumes, Romans, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 309.
2. Matthew Poole, Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), p. 655.
3. W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), pp. 499-501.
4. W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), pp. 732-735.
5. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing, 1949), pp. 426-27.
6. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘Mercy and Merciful,’” “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,” (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 2035-2036.
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. He served as an ordained ruling elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He worked in and retired from a fortune five hundred company in corporate America for forty years. He runs two blogs sites and is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
* For a great source of theological definitions go to Rebecca writes at Rebecca Writes: http://www.rebecca-writes.com/theological-terms-in-ao/
What It Means to Be a Christian https://www.monergism.com/what-it-means-be-christian
God’s Mercy by Thomas Watson https://www.monergism.com/gods-mercy