“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)
The words sit before me in the early morning light. Returning to them several times over the course of the day, I began to wonder about the definitions of words which are familiar …
- Mercy. It’s the aspect of God’s love that causes Him to help the miserable.
- Grace. Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what the person deserves.
- Justice. Maintaining what is right or setting things right.
Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Justice maintains what is right in all situations.
Mercy and grace are different and often get confused. The difference is this: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, while grace is God blessing us even though we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy and that includes each one of us.
Grace comes at no cost to the recipient but yet at great cost to the giver. Grace is delivered to us through sacrifice. Grace is offered to each of us through the life of Jesus which He offers to each of us freely. Free to us yet, it cost Him everything.
God’s grace chases us down, pursuing us even when we try to resist Him. Once recipients of such a great gift, we so want to offer His gift to others.
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