Mercy and Grace | Day One

By: Kate Downing

Have you ever wondered what sprinkles are made of? Truthfully, I’ve never thought much about them; I just know they are delicious and make just about any dessert look better. If my cupcakes come out looking “homemade,” I just cover the tops in sprinkles, and ta-da, they look ten times better!

Sometimes I think we use words like “mercy” and “grace” like sprinkles. We sprinkle them into prayers conversations in an attempt to make ourselves sound like we know what we are talking about. But, in reality, we don’t understand what those words mean. We’ve heard them so much that we forget that they have real meaning. However, they have real significance in our lives and relationship with God! 

Over the next two weeks we are going to discover that these words are so much more than pretty toppings to our prayers!  They are life-giving gifts offered to us by God. 

Today, we’ll start by defining our terms.

Mercy – Not being given deserved punishment

Example of Mercy:  Tracy flunked her last algebra test and it dropped her GPA below the eligible limit to attend her school’s band trip.   The trip she had been looking forward to all year. Then, her principal decided to show mercy on her and allowed her to go on the trip anyway.  Tracy deserved to be punished for allowing her grades to slip, but she was shown mercy by not being given what she deserved.     

Grace – Being given something that is not deserve

Example of Grace:  Becca has not been the kind of friend she should have been to Alyssa.  A new boyfriend has been preoccupying her time and she hasn’t been acting like a best friend at all lately.  So, when Becca’s boyfriend dumped her, she didn’t expect Alyssa to care.  After all, she had basically ignored her for the past month.  Yet, who showed up at Becca’s door that night with a pint of ice cream and a roll of chocolate chip cookie doe?  It was Alyssa, who decided to show grace by being there for her friend though she did not deserve it. 

Read those definitions of mercy and grace again. Think of an example of each from your own life. 


How did it make you feel to receive mercy and grace in those examples?


Now, let’s look at these words in terms of how God uses them.


Mercy – God NOT giving us what we deserve


Grace – God giving us what we do NOT deserve


Read Romans 6:23. Both mercy and grace are beautifully shown in this verse. 

“The wages (or deserved payment) of sin is death…” 

And, yet God chose to show us mercy by not giving us what we deserve (death) but instead offering a way of forgiveness and life.

“…[B]ut, the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What a beautiful picture of grace! We deserve death, but God gives us life. Hold on, let’s read that verse again:


“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)


 There is one more term we need to define here and it’s the word “deserve.” Google the word “deserve.” What does it word mean?


To deserve something is to be worthy of it. What does Romans 6:23 say we deserve or are worthy of? 


Why are we deserving of death?


Why then is it so incredible that God would choose to love us enough to show us mercy and grace?


Spend the next few minutes thanking God for loving you enough to show you mercy and grace, even today.  Ask Him to help you understand the depth and importance of these words as we study them over the next two weeks.