Grace and Mercy

Are grace and mercy the same thing?  That might seem so, since they are both good things that God gives us.  However, in some respects they are opposites.  Consider these simple definitions:

Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.

For example, if I were to give you $100, that would be an example of grace.  You didn’t deserve it, didn’t earn it, and I wasn’t obligated to give it to you.  Grace is something that is freely given to people who don’t merit it.

On the other hand, if you hit my car, you would need to pay to have it fixed.  Or I could forgive you; that would be mercy.  You should rightly repair my car, but I willing choose to let you off the hook and not hold you accountable.

God shows us grace when he gives us good things that we didn’t earn and don’t deserve.

Also, God shows us mercy when he doesn’t hold us accountable for the wrong things we do.

Since it is through Jesus that we can receive both grace and mercy, you might consider them to be opposite sides of the same coin.  So maybe they’re the same after all.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at