“My past embraced
My sin forgiven
I’m blameless in Your sight
My history rewritten
You delight in showing mercy
Mercy triumphs over judgment
Oh love, great love
Fear cannot be found in You
There will never be a day
You’re uncertain of the ones You choose
You delight in showing mercy
Mercy triumphs over judgment
I will wake and spend my days
Loving the One who has raised me up
From death to life, from wrong to right
You’re making all things beautiful”
The Lord has used these beautiful lyrics from Bethel’s song “Mercy” to completely transform and humble my heart in ways I would have never imagined. In my walk with Christ, I wholeheartedly want to live my life zealously serving the Lord and on fire for Him. But let me tell you, my failures are many and my sin is great. I fall into temptation, I get caught up in my selfish and sinful desires, I allow the enemy to have a stronghold and I blatantly disobey the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my life. I have come to this broken and hopeless place when I haven fallen into sin and it has been used by God to humble me and awaken my heart to the awe-inspiring reality of grace and mercy.
I never fully understood grace and mercy as two individual words. They both sort of blended together in my mind simply because the definitions are so extremely similar. But this is what I wanted the blog to be about today; to give a better understanding of grace and mercy and to, god willing, bring comfort to those who are struggling with sin in their life just like I am. I pray that this is used to open your heart to not only the reality that we are sinners who don’t deserve grace but the righteous judgement of God, but also that we serve a God who is merciful and gives grace to those He loves.
The definition(s) of grace are 1.) favor or goodwill, 2.) a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior, 3.) mercy; clemency; pardon. Grace is the free and undeserved favor of God, as evident in the salvation of sinners, and the bestowal of unmerited blessings. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation ourselves because we are sinful. Mercy is 1.) compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence, 2.) an act of kindness, compassion or favor. When mercy is being performed, it is shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm, often justifiably. Like I said before, I never quite understood the difference, especially when grace uses mercy in its very definition. So, let me share a passage of scripture that brought me to my knees and helped me realize the impact of what grace and mercy are.
Luke 7:36-50, “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, He went to the Pharisees house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of a woman she is – that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered to him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them would live him more?’ Simon replied, ‘ I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said. Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them away with her hair You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the moment i entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’ Jesus then said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.‘”
This woman came before the Lord broken and humbled, seeking His forgiveness even though she knew that she did not deserve it. Now, this woman lived a life of sin so publicly, that it appears that almost everyone knew about her. They knew who she was, what she did, what sin she lived in. And i want to ask you something, how many of you can say honestly that you would not have responded the way the Pharisees did? Because i cannot say that i would. These people lived by the Word, they practiced it, they knew what the bible taught, but they allowed this to make the proud and they ignored the fact that we are all sinners. They looked at her in such a way that they saw themselves so much higher than her. This is something that the Lord has brought my heart to a realization of; that i am just as broken and sinful and in need of Christ as any other person on this earth. It is by God’s grace that even after i sin, i can be forgiven and am continually allowed to fall at His feet.
Let me just say, that from using the context clues, I believe this woman was most likely a prostitute. Tell me how many of you read this and feel that your sin is on the same level as hers in the sight of the Lord? Even after knowing the kind of lifestyle she lived? I know I sure do. Matthew 5:27-28 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Sin starts as a heart condition before it manifests into a physical act. Let me ask another question, have you ever murdered anyone? I can almost guarantee you all answered this question with “no”. “You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,’ and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgement.” Matthew 5:21. This is a circumstance of the heart, and if we could look at our own hearts as God does, we would realize that we are just as sinful as the prostitute and the murder.
So, back to mercy and grace. Mercy is when the Lord, instead of handing down a punishment when we sin, shows mercy and withholds His judgement. In the story of the sinful woman above, Jesus justly could have turned her away, punishing her for the life of sin that she lived. But rather, He showed her mercy, and was compassionate toward her brokenness and her heart of repentance. Going a step further, He gave grace to her by blessing her with forgiveness and telling her to go in peace. In His eyes, her sins had been washed away, no longer visible, and by God’s grace, was able to go out and sin no more. God shows us mercy by not punishing us when we sin and then gives us grace by blessing us, despite the fact that we have sinned. Here are some verses below regarding grace and mercy that may help to understand the graceful and merciful character of God in context.
- Romans 6:14 ~ “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
- Hebrews 4:16 ~ “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
- Psalms 51:1-2 ~ “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
- Ephesians 2:4-5 ~ “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
- Titus 2:11-12 ~ “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”
- 1 Peter 1:13-16 ~ “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you has when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do: for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ~ “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I cannot tell you enough how important this is to not only know, but live our lives in constant remembrance of. That we are not worthy, nor can we do anything to earn salvation. It is freely given to us! Free, without condition. This ought to bring us to our knees in humility when we understand that we are just like this sinful woman. Broken, battling sin, and in desperate need of a savior. We can also be just like the Pharisee, looking at other peoples sin as if it is so much worse than your own sin. Sin is sin my friends, and we all have sinned. There is not one person who has walked this earth apart from Jesus who has been without sin. It is important to remember to see sin the way God sees sin, not how the world sees sin. When you realize that you are just as sinful, it should bring you so much gratitude knowing that even in your sin, Christ forgives you over and over. He shows us mercy, and that alone is enough to bring me to tears.
I know this was kind of a long one today, but I wanted you all to know that I have been dealing with my own struggles with sin, and that the Holy Spirit does not remain silent. He will make the truth known to you, and just in reading the passage and verses above, my heart feels as though it could explode with joy, because the grace and mercy God has shown just within my own life is far beyond comprehension. Praise God for forgiveness, for showing us mercy when we deserve the wrath justly rewarded to a life of sin, and for the endless blessings in each of our lives.
Thank you for reading my blog today! I pray that this was as eye opening and heart changing for you as it was for me. As a community and body of believers, I want to ask that you all be praying not just for me, but for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been under spiritual attack and I know that I am not the only one. Just remember who fights for us, and that we already have victory in Christ over sin and death. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.
That is my prayer for us all, that we stand firm in the truth of the Word of God and that we will not be shaken by the enemy and his schemes against us. I cannot begin to explain how humbled I am to have the opportunity to come to all of you and ask for prayer and share in the walk with Christ together with you. I pray you see my heart in the blog, and that you know why the Lord lead me to write this. Have a wonderful night everyone, and know that I am praying for strength and endurance in each of your lives. That even when we sin, that we fall at the feet of Jesus, weeping and repentant, so that we may be forgiven. Thanks again for reading and please feel free to comment any prayers or things you have witnessed in your own walk with Christ. I love hearing your feedback! God bless!