“In order to succeed at anything, you’ve got to cut through the noise . . . if you fail in this, nothing else matters.”
IN ORDER TO SUCCEED AT ANYTHING, you’ve got to cut through the noise, chatter and distractions and get down to the meat and potatoes of life. If you fail in this, nothing else matters. Take, for instance, our understanding of “grace” and “mercy.” We often confuse these two – as if they are the same thing – but they are not. Understanding their difference – and how they are each tied to the other – will enable you cut through life’s noise and succeed as a follower of the grace and mercy Giver, Jesus Christ. After all, the whole point of being a Christian is to follow Christ, not simply know about Him, right? Talk is cheap, action is priceless. Grace and mercy are not the same. Understanding them will change how you live today for you – and every day hereafter.
Hebrews 4:14-16 will blow your mind and change your life:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every aspect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)
If mercy and grace were the same thing, two different words would not be used.
The Greek word translated as “mercy” is “eleos” (ἔλεος). By comparison, the word translated as “grace” is “charin” (χάριν). Here is how these words differ – and how they are related: Mercy is when God withholds judgment. Grace is when God extends a gift. We need and receive both the instant we accept Christ as Savior – and we keep getting them every single moment thereafter.
By giving us mercy, God does not treat us as our sins deserve. The “white throne judgment” spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15, reserved for those who have not given their lives to Christ, is a judgment of eternal, conscious separation from God. If one’s name is not in the “book of life,” the life of separation from God experienced on earth will continue throughout eternity. The moment we give our lives to Christ, however, our name is written in that “book of life,” and we are given mercy – a permanent pardon from God from the judgment of separation we each deserve. Mercy is when God does not judge us as we deserve.
By giving us grace, God treats us as if we had done nothing wrong. It means that God gives us gifts we do not deserve.
Through faith in Christ as Savior, not only are we spared divine judgment (mercy), we also are given favored status. God’s undeserved favor, His grace, is what gives us a new, favored status as a son or daughter of God:
“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:1-7, NIV
Being spiritually adopted by God is no small thing. It’s HUGE.
The laws of the Roman world, upon which our modern laws of adoption descend, made it so that there was no legal distinction between adopted and a naturally born children. This is why God deliberately used the elevated imagery of adoption – not as a concession, but as a means of affection, value and worth. It was, and is, the way for God to make it so that it is the next best thing to Him having you as his natural-born son or daughter. This is undeserved. This is unspeakable favor. This is grace. THIS IS AMAZING.
You have mercy and you have grace if you’ve given your life to Christ. And if you haven’t yet done this, right now is the perfect time to do it. No one who truly accepts Christ as Savior will ever live to regret it. Why postpone the grace and mercy you need, and want? Today is the day to let grace and mercy reign. Let them cut through the noise, clutter and confusion of life so that you live today in the freedom, acceptance and beauty for which you were created. Don’t let anyone tell you differently – including yourself.