Difference Between Grace and Mercy

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Mercy and grace, though they may touch one another at certain points, are not the same thing, and therefore could not be used interchangeably as if they were words of equal value.
Grace simply means free gift, or free favor, and it does not necessarily raise any question as to the character of the individual to whom the gift is given, or the favor shown. It excludes every idea of remuneration and of legal claim on the part of the recipient; otherwise, grace would be no more grace. (Rom. 11:6.)
When, however, we speak of mercy shown to any, we imply actual demerit in the person to whom mercy is extended. Both the one who shows mercy and the one who receives it are conscious that another kind of treatment altogether might have been justly measured out.
Now in our soul's blessing, both of these golden words have place. We are said to be justified freely by God's grace, for it is certain that we never worked for it, nor can we in anywise remunerate God for so astonishing an act of favor. By grace also we are saved. Salvation is a free gift; it is too great, too grand, too priceless, too far beyond all human reach ever td visit us any other way. It is equally true that "according to His mercy He saved us." For we who are saved were once dead in trespasses and sins, the willing servants of sin and Satan, and were by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2). Mercy alone could meet our case and, blessed be God, He is rich in it. So we sing-
"How shall I meet His eyes?
Mine on Himself I cast,
And own myself the Savior's prize;
Mercy from first to last."
The Power of the Name of Jesus
There was a notorious thief in the south parts of Scotland, about two hundred years ago, called "John of the Score," who for many years had followed that wicked trade. At length he met with a poor man traveling with two horses, which Score took from him. The poor countryman, falling upon his knees, earnestly begged that for Jesus Christ's sake he would give him the one again; for he had no more to maintain his poor family with but what he could get by their labor. But all was in vain, for the thief carried both away to his own home, leaving the poor man in a very desolate condition.
However, not long after, Score became very unhappy and melancholy. He could get no rest nor quiet, yet he knew not the cause, only he professed that the words which the poor man spoke (though he was so great an atheist that he understood not what he meant when he spoke of Christ,) lay like a great weight upon his spirit.
When he was sought after for his robberies, he bade his sons to shift out of the way; but for himself he could not fly, there being a restraint upon him, and something within him that bound him from going out of the way. He stayed in his house till he was apprehended, and brought up to Edinburgh, and there put in prison.
While he was there a godly preacher, Mr. Henry Blith, and a Christian gentleman, William Cunningham, tutor of Boniton, who had known him, paid him a visit. They brought before him his miserable estate, and the danger that his soul was in (for he was condemned by the law to die), pressing upon him the necessity of flying to Jesus Christ. Whereupon he suddenly cried out, "Oh, what word is that? for it has been my death: that's the word that has lain upon my heart, ever since the poor man spoke it to me, so that from that time I had no power to shift out of the way." Afterward, being told who Jesus Christ was, without whom he could not be saved, he cried, "Oh, will He ever look at me, and show me mercy, who for His sake would not show mercy to that poor man, and give him back his horse?" Yet, after further instruction, a real and glorious change appeared in him, and he gave most convincing evidences of the reality of salvation. He attained to great assurance before his death, and upon the scaffold, in the public street, where he was executed, spoke so wonderfully of the Lord's dealing with him, and that with such knowledge and judgment, as left a conviction upon all present that he had been truly saved by the grace of God.