“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).
“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name” – Grace.
“Deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” – Mercy.
Grace and mercy. We use these words a lot as Christians, and we should. They are pivotal in helping us understand who God is and who we are. They are central understandings of the Christian faith for these two words contain the heart of the gospel.
Although they are similar they mean particular things.
Grace is when we receive what we don’t deserve:
- We are undeserving of God’s love, faithfulness, promises, adoption, salvation.
- We receive these things – not because we are deserving – but solely because of the glory of God’s name.
- We receive these things because God is gracious. We receive what we don’t deserve.
Mercy is when we don’t receive what we absolutely deserve:
- We are deserving of judgment, damnation, punishment, eternal hell.
- We are guilty. We are sinners. We deserve God’s wrath.
- But instead, God’s delivers and forgives us. That’s mercy.
- We receive these things and are delivered and forgiven from God’s wrath and punishment – not because we are undeserving of God’s wrath and punishment – but because of God’s mercy.
Grace and Mercy. That’s the gospel! That’s good news!