Zululander posted a question asking what is the difference between grace and mercy. Here is my short reply:
One way to find out what words like grace and mercy mean is to look them up in the Bible and see how they are used, and by reading how various lexicons define the Greek words involved. A lexicon definition for the Greek word “charis” or “grace” can be found here.
Here are some of the basic definitions:
- Mercy – to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched.
- Compassion – to pity, have compassion on.
- Grace – good will, loving-kindness, favor.
Thayer’s lexicon says that the Greek word for grace, “contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved”. It’s “kindness of a master towards his servants, especially of God towards men”. He says that the New Testament writers predominantly use it to mean, “that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offences”.
Mercy and compassion are given to the poor and afflicted, who may not have caused their misery. Grace is given to someone who has committed an offence. Grace goes far beyond mercy.
Mercy has an element of pity and being sorry for someone. Grace has the element of kindness and loving somebody.
A poor person can be said to deserve mercy. But no one deserves grace.
Grace is loving somebody even when there’s every reason not to love them or be kind to them.
For that reason, Grace is simply amazing.