July 18, 2008

Grace and Mercy

Ephesians 2:1-10

God … is rich in mercy … ?it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5


Yesterday we reflected on the difference between praise and thanksgiving. Today let's think about the difference between grace and mercy. Did you notice how both words are used in today's Bible reading? In verse 4 we read that God is rich in mercy, and in verses 5 and 8 we read that it is by grace we have been saved. What's the difference? Maybe the best way to explain is to say that mercy is shown when a person does not get what he deserves, and grace is shown when a person gets what he does not deserve. I once heard a preacher illustrate this by asking us to imagine we had been stopped by a police officer for speeding. He said, “If the officer is merciful, he will let you off with a warning instead of a ticket.” The preacher continued, “But suppose the officer then reached into his wallet and gave you a hundred dollars before sending you on your way. In that case, he would be following up mercy with grace.” God's mercy and grace work in a similar way. When we believe in Jesus, we are spared from the punishment we deserved. And there's more?we also receive the riches of God's grace that he freely pours out on us. So let's offer rich thanksgiving to God! Remember to thank him for giving us what is good. And remember to thank him for not giving us what we deserve.

Lord, your mercy is amazing, and your grace never ends. Thank you for sending Jesus to die in our place and for all the riches we have in him. We pray in his name. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!