What is the Difference Between Mercy and Grace?

by Naquan on January 8, 2010

Although mercy and grace are terms used often among Christians, I’m sure many are unclear what the two words actually mean.  To help you understand the difference between the two, let’s first begin with mercy.

What is Mercy?

According to dictionary.com the term “mercy” can be defined as having a disposition of compassion or forbearance (to refrain from something).

Paul said: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:12-13; NIV).

From this scripture (including many others), we can gather that mercy is not getting what you do deserve.  It is an act of being spared from judgment.  When we hear, “thank you Lord for mercy” this is the same as saying, “thank you Lord for not giving me what I deserve, for withholding judgment and punishment from me.”

Example of God’s Mercy

An example of God’s mercy would be a 19 year old teenager who fell short from the glory of God.  They gave into peer pressure and decided to go to a club late Friday night where drugs and sex is highly promoted.

The next day, the teenager is convicted by the Holy Spirit and repents.  Because of God’s mercy, He forgives and spares them from punishment and judgment.

Mercy Summarized

With any sin or illegal act committed, punishment always follows.  However through Christ Jesus, we are given a second chance.  We are given mercy; thus, withholding punishment and judgment from us.

Is this an invitation to do whatever we want?  Of course not.  However, when we mess up and fall, God gives us mercy.  Not because we deserve it but because of His compassion towards us.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

What is Grace?

According to dictionary.com “grace” is defined as the manifestation of favor by a superior.  It can also be defined as the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.  In very few words, grace is getting what you do not deserve.

Example of God’s Grace

The grace of God is unearned; it’s freely given to you by God although you don’t deserve it.  An example of God’s grace is the gift of eternal life.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The gift of eternal life is something you do not deserve, however it is freely given to you by God.  The scripture states that while we were still sinners, Christ died on the cross for you and I (Romans 5:8).  Was this something we deserved? No; but the grace of God saw past our sins and wicked ways.

Grace Summarized

When you hear a person say, “thank you Lord for grace” they are in essence saying, “thank you Lord for giving me what I do not deserve.”  Again, this isn’t an invitation to sin and do whatever you want.  God knows your heart so don’t take for granted the grace given to you.

Finial Words about Mercy and Grace

I encourage you to think of all the things you do not deserve but received (grace) and all the punishments you do deserved but did not receive (mercy).  When you think about these things, begin to thank God for giving you brand new mercy and grace.  Without it, you and I would be consumed by our wicked ways on our way to hell.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

FOVIE BRIDGET April 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

Thanks this is truly insightful.Doudly so as it was written on my birthday.

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Naquan April 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

To God be all the glory. I am blessed that you found this article insightful. May you be blessed in Jesus name. Oh, and happy belated birthday :)

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redenson January 6, 2011 at 5:56 am

Thanks for the good explanation of the difference between grace and mercy. It is only by the grace and mercy of God that we are not consumed… All the glory & praises belongs to Him. God bless you more and more… God bless the Philippines!

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Linda December 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

This has help me to explain grace and mercy to my children, more clearly. I can’t thank you enough….

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Dumisani yika January 16, 2012 at 12:53 am

Thanks 4 the words of wisdom

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Ana January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thank you so much for the clear explanation along with the supporting Bible verses. They were very encouraging and the explanations really cleared up the difference. God bless you

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Onwuegbuchulam Herbert Chuks February 14, 2012 at 5:37 am

Thank you very much and may the GOOD LORD continually enrich you mightly with HIS words and wisdom for benefit mankind in JESUS NAME.

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Clayton April 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thank you for a clear explanation of mercy and grace. I so wanted it-STAY BLESSED.

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cora June 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

This was a great breakdown on what is grace and mercy. May GOD continue to use you

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Dolapo Esther August 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks so much. Very enlightening. God bless u abundantly and bless us all with more of his wisdom in Jesus name Amen.

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www.thejustshepherd.wordpress.com August 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have been always been confused of the two but thanks so much for that. God bless you! :)

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agala enenimiete September 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Wow, this was as simple as abc. You are blessed.

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Dewunmi Adeleke September 14, 2012 at 4:12 am

Thank you so much for this great explanation and words of wisdom, you really dont know how much impact this has on me, but it has blessed me mightily. Keep on the good work of God and His mercy and grace won’t cease in your life. Thanks a lot.

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Adebola September 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

Am blessed by the word

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Abiodun October 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Very good and inspiring piece . Thanks and God bless

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Patson November 8, 2012 at 6:57 am

Thank you so much for taking away the confusion, keep up the good work. May the word of God richly dwell in you.

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Quadeerah Alexander November 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

The revelation of the difference between grace and mercy was just illuminated to me this very hour. I knew I had them from God, was grateful for them, but had no true understanding of what they actually were. It is now clear to me what I am grateful for and why my life is to be a living sacrifice acceptable to God. Thank you so much for this breakdown

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Uchenna Gbuchie Reply:

GOD IS GOOD!

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Gary boo Thompson Reply:

Thank you and GOD Bless You. Very well written.

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Shanthakumar Adgal April 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

Thank you for showing the difference between Grace and Mercy that makes a big difference in thanking Him for Grace and Mercy,every day.

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Abigael May 20, 2013 at 4:57 am

Infact, am richly blessed. Continue 2 enjoy God’s Grace and Mercy (GGM). You are blessed as well. More of God in ur life… Keep the fire burning…. We will all get to ETERNITY and see Our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST and Our FATHER (AMEN).

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raj kumar thapa June 9, 2013 at 12:33 am

thank god u help me in any time ad anywhere u gave us mercy .

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Ajay Devotta June 17, 2013 at 6:20 am

Thanks a lot indeed for the explanation you have given , i now really know how much GRACE and MERCY GOD has shown in my life . PRAISE THE LORD

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ruby June 20, 2013 at 3:38 am

thank you for the your explanation. I will share this view to my friends who are hungry for God’s words. God bless you

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shirley July 22, 2013 at 5:45 am

Thanks for that explanation, it helped me to know how much this are crucial for our lives. where will we be without His mercy and grace.

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Uchenna Gbuchie July 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

Am blessed by this!!!

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Brian Andrew Anyangu Abucheri July 31, 2013 at 6:26 am

You have really blessed me. In my devotion since yesterday morning the lord was ministering to me about mercy and i was really looking to know and learn more about the mercies of God. The article has really blessed me and taken me to a deeper level of understanding mercy. God bless you.

Africa, Kenya

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hubert October 14, 2013 at 7:12 am

I am really grateful for this piece and thank God for the inspiration.

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Julie November 7, 2013 at 7:55 am

We talked about grace and mercy in Bible class and I was really interested in the topic and wanted to explore it further. I came across your explanation. It really strengthened what my pastor taught. Thank God for you!

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Lisha November 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Nicely written and very illuminating. Thanks for sharing this! May the God of mercy and grace bless you and your loved ones always (:

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amusan January 8, 2014 at 7:41 am

This is lovely. it satisfies my hunger for the difference between GRACE and MERCY. Thanks and God bless you real good.

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Rev. Prince k. Dinsea January 20, 2014 at 8:39 am

I am grateful to have you explain this in a way that babies can comprehend. God blesses you as you go on with making vivi the word of God to millions of people around the world so that they can be without excuses.

God bless you Dear Brother.

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Tsomakae May 28, 2014 at 10:04 am

Wow! what a revelation. Thank you God for your mercies that are new every morning.

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Effie June 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thank you so much.God bless u

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Effie June 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

God bless you

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Chidi Onyenaucheya June 19, 2014 at 7:11 am

Thank you for this excellent piece on mercy and grace. What an insight! Remain blessed.

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