Is God’s mercy and His grace the same? Do they contradict each other, or is there any correlation what so ever? The Lord has clearly displayed His mercy and certainly His graciousness, but what do they mean and aren’t they kind of the same?
Absolutely and positively, no, they are not the same concept. They are quite opposites in reality. Let me explain giving a few examples.
Mercy, though we cannot fully grasp the depth of God’s great mercy, is not receiving something which we do deserve. My favorite example of this is in the new testament where Jesus tells Mary Magdalene’s accusers “whomever is without sin may cast the first stone.” He is making such huge statements with his request.
First off, He is reminding these hypocritical Pharisees that they are no better than this prostitute. They are condemned of God’s law just the same, and as James divinely states “for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).
Secondly, Jesus is displaying His mercy quite profoundly. He knows He is the only one without sin, thus He is implicating that since He is without sin that He alone has the right to cast the first stone, but does He? No! We get to see His mercy and love and compassion for His children. Also, as an important side note, it is key to note that this is how He draws people to Himself which leaves us a perfect example of how we are to lead others to Him.
Grace, on the other hand, is getting what we don’t deserve. Easiest example? Heaven. We can see this in the thief on the Cross beside Jesus. He cried out to Jesus to remember him in heaven, but Jesus graciously surprised him by telling him that he will be in heaven with Jesus before sundown. He is so gracious to have mercy on us forgiving our sins if we repent and trust in Him, but also in giving us the most precious alternative to hell there can be. Eternal life spent worshipping our great Lord.
As you can see, two very different concepts yet they run parallel to one another. God’s mercy relieves us of the punishment, that is hell, that we deserve and His amazing Grace grants us the entrance to Heaven for all eternity.