DayBreaks for 12/04/13 – Which is Greater?
Psalm 145:7-9 (MSG) The fame of your goodness spreads across the country; your righteousness is on everyone’s lips. 8 GOD is all mercy and grace— not quick to anger, is rich in love. 9 GOD is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace.
I have been pondering mercy and grace lately. They are not the same thing, but they are not totally unrelated, either. But then again, they don’t have to be related to one another.
As humans, we talk about throwing oneself on the mercy of the court. That means we accept the guilty status and hope (and pray?) for leniency from the judge – hoping that he’ll waive the penalty prescribed by law for our violation of said law. That’s mercy. Mercy means we don’t get what we deserve. Any human being can extend mercy, but moving on to grace is another matter entirely. Why? Because grace is where things get costly.
Grace, as simply as I can define it, is undeserved favor. It is receiving something that is good that we don’t deserve. It is as if the judge didn’t waive the penalty for the violation, but paid the fine him/herself out of their own pocket.
When it comes to our spiritual life, God is the great giver not only of mercy, but of grace. As far as mercy goes, I can only kneel down in the dusty, bloody ground at the foot of the cross and bow my head, plead guilty…and hope. But God didn’t waive the penalty. The penalty, because of His justice that must prevail if he is to be a good God, still needed to be paid. So He took the riches at His disposal and paid it Himself.
Then He went one better. He said, “Now that the debt has been paid in full, I will give you something beyond good – something wonderful – that you don’t deserve. I’ll give you a relationship with me and eternal life to boot!”
What mercy begins, grace completes. The sequence is not a coincidence. Just as God had to be the enforcer of justice because of His nature, I suspect it is just as much His character to be full of grace and to give it away.
Which is greater: mercy or grace? We need both. Fortunately, He has given us both!
PRAYER: God of mercy, Lord of grace – we are speechless because of your goodness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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