Grace is when we get what we don't deserve.
Mercy is when we don't get what we do deserve.
Mercy manifests when we don't get justice for our sin. Grace, on the other hand, is imparted power we don't deserve that frees us from the tyranny of sin.
Many Christians have lumped the two words together and assigned to both the same meaning. Am I splitting hairs here or is this just semantics? Not at all. Here's a way to think about it: Suppose you play both football and basketball with football rules. Football would go well; however, with basketball you'd lose the uniqueness of the sport in addition to incurring numerous injuries. We've lost the power of the identity of grace because so many have combined it with mercy. We've also incurred numerous injuries by playing grace with mercy's rules.
Grace gives us the power to live, and mercy keeps us free from guilt, condemnation and shame, all of which try to pull us back into sin's grip. Mercy keeps our conscience clear of the judgment we deserve. What amazing mercy God has shown us!
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace,...that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need. (Hebrews 4:16, AMP)
Mercy is given for our failures, our sins we've repented of. However, grace is given to help, to empower us. What a great salvation our Father has given us—complete and lacking nothing!
Marked by boldness and passion, John Bevere delivers uncompromising truth through his award-winning curriculum and best-selling books now available in over sixty languages. His newest book is Extraordinary: The Life You're Meant to Live. More information is available at www.ExtraordinaryOnline.org.