What Are Mercy & Grace?
The painting above was masterfully created by Amelia Caballero. My wife and I see it every morning when we wake up as it hangs on the wall opposite our bed. At first glance, you might think it's a man holding a sheep. It's actually Jesus holding a goat. His left hand cradles the goat's body as his right hand looks like its acting to restrain the little goat. His fingers seem to be digging in to hold the goat from escaping. His face nuzzles the critter in a loving manner. A small animal on its own is in danger of losing its life to a merciless predator. Held in the arms of the Shepherd, the goat is safe, despite its urge to wander into danger. Mercy and grace together are love.
Goats are independent and curious creatures while sheep are more comfortable in the company of other sheep safely behind a fence. We begin our lives as goat-like people wanting our own independence. Jesus knows we'd be better off as sheep. In his mercy, he keeps us from falling victim to our bad decisions. In his grace, he grants us second chances.
Mercy keeps us from getting what we deserve because of our bad decisions. Grace gives us what we don't deserve. We get to reap what we haven't sown. All of us are sinners who deserve to pay the price for our sins. Without repentance through Christ, that penalty is eternal life in hell. God in his mercy gives us a way out of that hell sentence. Through our acceptance of Christ's death and resurrection, we receive grace because Jesus took care of the penalty for our sins. It's like going to court knowing your guilty and knowing you deserve to be sentenced for your crime. When you get there, the judge says, "I've got your back on this, I paid your fine. I did your time. I took the fall for what you did. You're free to go. Mercy - not getting what you deserve. Grace - getting what you don't deserve.
DAY TWO WORD
“Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].”
Hebrews 4:16 (AMP)
When have you given mercy?
When have you received grace?
Who do you know that needs some mercy and grace right now?
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.
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