Drinking Deeply

Friday, January 20, 2006 at 12:10 AM

Grace vs. Mercy

Sometimes people make the claim that grace is distinct from mercy by defining it as:

"Mercy is witholding something you deserve and grace is giving something you don't deserve."

But if one really thinks about, they pretty much amount to the same thing.

Mercy is withholding justice from someone, Grace is giving that person freedom from judgment.

Is this right?

Anyways, it seems pretty indistinguishable in the Bible for me. They also seem closely affiliated with peace, which lead me to guess that all three are the same. For proof examine the biblegateway searches for:



Pretty much the same verses. It's not like they're key to understanding anything though. Probably no real theological issues (like the heart/head one) at risk here, but I think it's always good to think about common things being said in the Christian community. Some of it seems harmless (this one would be an example) some of it is not.

Of course, if they are distinguishable, that should be fairly clear from comparing some verses. Someone willing to step up to the plate?

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Blogger no_average_girl said...

this is a great post...i love the way you sum it up - and break something down where everyday people can understand it! you have a gift for this, it blesses me to see you using it!

i'll be back! :-)  


Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Yes when it comes to salvation they seem to go hand in hand.


When I think of mercy the first thing that pops to my mind is the tax collector at the back of the church who says something like "God have mercy on me a sinner"

In this context he wouldn't have said God give me grace because like you say it is the gift that comes after.


Whenever I think of grace the first thing that pops to mind is Ephesians 2 But God because of his great love with which he first loved us..... For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift from God. Not of works lest any man should boast.

Here you can see that Grace is something that the sinner knows nothing about but the redeemed do because THEY HAVE IT. This gift is something you own it is yours because the Lord had mercy on you because of His great love.

How did I do?  


Blogger Pete & Faith Olver said...

Here is something to consider...

"What is mercy? How does it differ from grace? The two terms are frequently synonymous; but where there is a distinction between the two, it appears that grace is a loving response when love is undeserved, and mercy is a loving response prompted by the misery and helplessness of the one on whom the love is to be showered. Grace answers to the undeserving; mercy answers to the miserable."
Don Carson

Me and my thoughts and understandings from the teachings i have received...

When you get what you don't deserve it is grace... when you get what you don't deserve it is mercy.  


Blogger Pete & Faith Olver said...

oops.... that last part was to say- when you get what you don't deserve thats grace
when you don't get what you deserve thats mercy  


Blogger mxu said...

pete & faith olver -

Thanks for your comment. I guess what I was trying to say with the post is that I don't think they're that easily distinguished. Take for example, the parable of the good Samaritan.

Which of these proved to be a neighbor? The one who showed mercy.  


Blogger Heather said...

This makes me think of psychology--you could think of it like this:
Negative reinforcement is the removal of a negative influence/circumstance/etc, which in turn reinforces the behaviour--so, like mercy.
Reward is when you give something that is likely to increase the behaviour. Like grace.
Of course, the analogy only goes so far, of course, because in the case of grace and mercy, it's out of love, not an attempt at conditioning.
In salvation, God is showing not only grace, but also mercy: through salvation, we will no longer have to pay for our sins. Grace comes in through our recieving, instead, eternal life with our Father.
A convict asks for mercy from justice; a beggar asks for grace.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace is needed for every service
Mercy for every failure
Peace for every circumstance  


Blogger Pastor CJ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.  


Blogger Pastor CJ said...

Loved all the comments!! Weather it's Grace, Mercy or even Peace... I just Praise God that He gives it to me...
WoW and I don't deserve it...
All is a result and the effect of God’s amazing goodness and unfailing love.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace is enablement. Through Gods grace we are enabled to do that which we can't do by ourselves.
Mercy is getting to the same result, by not moving in Gods enablement but still getting there because of Gods goodness and compassion, even though we could have chosen to walk with God and receive His grace to do it.

Even though we rely on and are in need for Gods mercy because of our imperfection, as Christians we should always walk in grace and not be careless and hope for His mercy.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace is defined as God's unmerited favor. When a person is given favor, he is given as advantage. Grace is that enablement or advantage that propels us to victory over all else. Grace enables me, or gives me power to achieve all that has been ordained for me. when we learn to tap into God's grace failure is not an option because we are working through God's strength and not our own. Exanple: If I tap into God's grace, He enables me not to wrong my brother. When I go to Him after the wrong that is mercy!  


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