Mercy is a relatively easy word to understand. Quite simply, it is not getting what I deserve, implying that my motivation and my action warrant an undesirable consequence. In other words, I’m actually guilty, but mercy granted protects me from the consequence of guilt.
Grace is different. It has more varied applications. In basic terms, grace is getting what I don’t deserve, with no inherent implication of guilt. It is undeserved and freely given: a gift that is indicative of the generous nature and heart of God. Grace is like oil. Things seem to run smoothly when it is present.
After taking a fearless personal moral inventory, I find that I do a fair amount of emotional and mental coping and compartmentalizing to avoid the admission of guilt. Consequently, I don’t obtain mercy. Not having obtained mercy, I cannot find grace smoothing things out.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I’ve just recently made the connection between “come boldly” and “fearless moral inventory.” Coming boldly is something we can do based on the finished work of the cross. Accepting the grace of salvation requires that we admit the need for mercy, and believe that He will show mercy.
Having entered into His presence with absolute honesty regarding my humble estate, and having obtained mercy and found grace, I am able to experience the peace of God that comes to the heart, mind and will that has been united in submission to the rule of Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for granting me access to the throne of grace. I come to agree with you about the selfish condition of my heart, the waywardness of my desires, and the foolishness of my actions. I pray with the psalmist, “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation.” In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.
Consider what it means to take a fearless moral inventory. This week, ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify any thought patterns or heart motives that are contrary to the true knowledge of Christ. Then, by all means, come boldly to the throne of grace.
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 1:3 NKJV)
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