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Grace or Mercy?

Who hasn’t heard the time-honored descriptions of grace and mercy where grace is “getting what you do not deserve” and mercy is “not getting what you do deserve”… The Lord has given me such a new, active, and alive definition for grace that is so obvious it will just make you sick.

It is no secret that the doctrine of grace taught by the modern american church has been so often perverted into a “license to fail”.  This license to fail has been extended into almost every aspect of daily christian living, from the depths of lasciviousness (lustful desires) to spiritual disciplines such as fasting.  I’ve often heard this described as “greasy grace”.  This is not the grace of which the Bible speaks.

“So, Aaron, are you saying that God doesn’t have grace for us when we fail at these things?”

Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying… but, He does have plenty of mercy.  There is nothing or no one in all of creation that has mercy so vast, just, and everlasting.  The thing about mercy is, it requires judgement before it can even be called mercy.  The good thing is, the Lord disciplines those He loves - and His mercies are new every morning.  But I digress from grace.

Check this out… Meditate on it… and I pray you’ll be Empowered by it…

Grace is the ability to do what we could normally not do on our own.  Grace is the enabler to live humbly.  Grace is the power to live a righteous life here on the earth.  Grace is the discipline (and lightening of hunger pains) to succeed on a fast.

Grace is the Lord’s preemptive power to succeed.  It comes in before we fail, and gives us the ability to do what is right.

I encourage you to do a search for the word ”grace” and replace it with something like “preemptive power to succeed”.  Out of the 137 verses that I’ve looked at so far (in the NKJV), there’s only been one or two where it was even a little hard to see it make perfect sense in place of our traditional view of ”grace equals mercy”.  And, even in that one, “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”, it could very well fit when we think of other verses such that describe our present-day salvation as a daily process of working it out, from glory to glory, etc… so that we are “justified freely by the power that He gives us to walk rightly through the process of redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Even when I look at the definition of the original greek word charis, I at first wanted to think that it didn’t really fit - and being one who feels VERY called to “watch my life and doctrine closely”, I wanted to shy away from documenting this revelation.  But, even charis, in its tense and definition speaks of “that which affords”, and “merciful kindness by which God turns us”.  It’s there.  Where has it been hiding all of my life?  And, by looking at it in these terms, in nullifies the dangerous and false doctrine of free licensure to sin.  It puts the responsibility back in our court, at least enough to confirm that we ARE expected to “be holy as He is holy” because He will give us the ability to do just that if we will humble ourselves and ask Him for that ability.

You can see it again in the Lord’s prayer.  Jesus teaches the disciples to ask preemptively to avoid sin, and then if they are caught, to ask for the power to overcome it in advance.  “Do not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather that the first part of that prayer come true more often than the need for the second part.  But I’ll take both.

So, what are you waiting for?  Let’s start asking for more grace, so we’ll need less mercy… okay, well, you know what I’m saying.

Comments

Comment from Jessica Weisenfels
Time: July 2, 2007, 3:27 pm

Amen, brother.

Comment from Nick Weisenfels
Time: July 5, 2007, 3:18 pm

Well, right.

Just because we can recieve the Grace and Mercy which the cross of Christ has secured for us, we still are very much called to “be holy as he is holy,” as you aptly pointed out.

The Holy Apostle Saint Paul sates it pretty well, I think, when he says:

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Basically, that even though we are given grace, we are still called, and even REQUIRED to practice holiness. But, that’s what you were saying.

Comment from Nick Weisenfels
Time: July 11, 2007, 11:15 am

Actually, I’ve been thinking about this some more, and, from a truly theological point of view, I don’t really think there is a debate over Grace vs Mercy. I think the real debate is over whether or not Grace can be lost, and, over how we recieve Grace.

Oh, well, I think I will just stick with this and hopefully I’ll be fine:

“Rejoice, most venerable and life giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified on thee, Who went down to hades and trampled on on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His venerable Cross, for the driving away of every adversary.”

Then there’s also one of my favorites, a hymn we sing during Holy Week (the week before Easter) of which part goes:

“Today, hell cries out, groaning: I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary - He came and destroyed my power.”

Those really illustrate Grace and Mercy to me.

Comment from Jakob
Time: October 26, 2007, 12:48 pm

I’ve got an awesome 6 cd set on Grace vs. Mercy from Mike Bickle, I’ll let you borrow it if you want Aaron!

That your love may about still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness….

Grace is the seed that produces such fruit of righteousness, not of ourselves, but of Him who loves us. I really also think that Grace can really be explained as the love of Christ that compells us to go into the deeper levels of maturity in our lives. The Bride in Song of Solomon was able to hit the mountains full speed (after she denied them) simply because the Bridegroom (Jesus) removed His presence (and act of Grace) which moved her “holy passion/addiction” to say in desperation “Have you seen the one whom my soul loves?” Grace (to me) is God revealing Himself to us, and removing Himself to provoke us to levels we would’ve never dreamed of before. God’s grace is manifest in the deep longings He places in my heart which move me to obedience and desperation, which ultimately leads to my complete joy in Him!

In Christ,
Jakob

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