Mercy vs. Grace: 7 Ultimate Differences

This post is all about mercy vs. grace

Hey Friend! I’m super excited that you are reading this blog post on mercy vs. grace! You are so welcome here.❤️

If it’s your first time on my blog, grab a cup of coffee or tea ☕and just read this blog post as if we were chatting. Ok? Let’s begin…

I’ve found that mercy and grace are often intertwined and confused, but they represent two distinct concepts. However, everyone can agree that both are essential parts of the Christian faith, even if they serve different purposes in our spiritual lives.

Now let’s talk about why I’m writing this post…

I began studying these two concepts (mercy vs. grace) to sharpen my understanding! Hence, this blog post was birthed!  

This article will explore the differences between mercy and grace and the importance of understanding them in our lives.

I will look at examples from scripture, discuss how we can manifest mercy and grace in our own lives, and explore why it is essential to recognize the difference between these two concepts.

By learning more about these two topics, we can truly appreciate them even more! 

Ready? Let’s go!

Mercy and grace meaning

In the Bible, God is described as being “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4 KJV) and “abounding in grace” (Romans 5:17KJV). 🥰

Let’s do a warm-up before I dive deeper into the topic…🙏🏽

What is grace?

The English word grace is derived from the Greek “Charis.” In its original context, Charis refers to kindness, favor, or goodwill bestowed upon an undeserving person by another.

In Christian theology, grace has been defined as the unmerited favor of God towards mankind; it is a gift of God that we do not deserve but receive anyway through His mercy and love.

What is mercy?

Mercy is “eleos” in Greek. Bible study tools explains eleos as “kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and the afflicted.”

Together, they (grace and mercy) represent two aspects of God’s benevolent nature: His willingness to give us what we do not deserve and compassion for us even when we fall short.

Ultimately, grace and mercy offer a powerful reminder of God’s love for humanity. They demonstrate His willingness to forgive our sins and shower us with blessings even when we don’t deserve them. By accepting God’s grace and mercy, we can experience true freedom from guilt and shame — allowing us to live confidently in Christ every day.

Now I want to break these two concepts individually…

Grace in the Bible

As explained earlier, grace refers to God’s unmerited favor. It is a gift given freely by God without expecting anything in return, even though we are undeserving of it.

An excellent example of grace is in Titus 2:11, which reads, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” This verse speaks to us on how the grace of God was not just offered only to some people but to everyone.

Another example comes from Romans 5:17, which says, “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” This verse speaks to us about how the grace of God was given abundantly and in the form of a gift.

Jesus changed how we approach salvation by offering himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Through his death on the cross, He made it possible for us to receive God’s grace and be saved from condemnation. That tells us that salvation is ultimately rooted in grace, as it speaks to us about how God’s love and forgiveness can help us make a fresh start.

Ultimately, His grace gives us hope that although we may stumble along the path of life, there is always a chance of redemption if we put our faith in Him.

Grace is an incredible gift that shows us how far God is willing to go for us! We can be comforted in the knowledge that no matter what trouble we find ourselves in, God will never give up on us and always offers us a chance at redemption. 

Examples of Grace: Story of Ruth

The story of Ruth illustrates how God’s grace extended to an unlikely recipient. Ruth was a Moabite and, therefore, not a part of God’s chosen people. Despite this, God was gracious and she remained with His people.

God also provided for her needs through marriage to Boaz and gave her land rights in Israel (Ruth 4:18-22). This is significant because it shows us that even though we may be far from deserving of His love, grace can still be found in unexpected places if we are willing to take it.

Furthermore, Matthew 1:3-16 describes how Jesus descended from the line of King David through Ruth’s son Obed. This shows us how God used Ruth’s story to bring about the fulfillment of His promise to save the world.

In addition, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This verse speaks to how God’s grace can be found in our weaknesses and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

P.S I wrote about Ruth in my blog post titled, “7 Incredibly Strong Women in the Bible (Inspiring).”

Mercy in the Bible

Mercy, on the other hand, is closely related to grace but differs slightly in terms of how it is applied by God.

Let’s revisit the origins of mercy…

The mercy seat is also important in Christianity as it speaks to us about God’s judgment. In the Old Testament, atonement was made through animal sacrifice, and the high priest would enter the holy of holies on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. This symbolized how God’s judgment could only be appeased through a sacrificial offering. (I talk about this briefly in my post titled, “Altars in the Bible: 10 Essential Steps to Breaking Evil Altars.”)

However, with Jesus’ death on the cross, we no longer need a physical altar or sacrificial offering to make atonement for our sins. Instead, Jesus’ perfect sacrifice serves as enough payment for our wrongdoings and thus nullifies our need for a physical mercy seat.

As such, when we place our faith in Him, God’s judgment is appeased through Jesus’ blood and no longer requires physical sacrifice. This serves as a reminder of how powerful and forgiving our God is, for He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save us from our sins.

Mercy refers to compassion or forgiveness granted by God despite our wrongdoing. A good example of this can be found in Lamentations 3:22, which reads, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.”
This verse speaks to us about how God shows mercy because of his love and compassion!

Example of Mercy: Story of Nineveh

The story of Nineveh is a great example of God’s mercy. The city was filled with wicked people, and the Lord sent Jonah to preach His word among them (see Jonah 1:1). Upon hearing this message, the entire city was filled with repentant hearts, and they begged for God’s mercy. In response to their plea, God showed them compassion and did not destroy them as He intended.

This shows us that even when we have done wrong, if our hearts are truly repentant, then God will extend his mercy toward us.

Furthermore, this also serves as a reminder that no matter how dark our situation may seem, there is always hope in God’s mercy and grace!

We can take comfort in knowing that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24) and that He is faithful to forgive us of our sins (1 John 1:9). God’s mercy is truly a blessing for us all.

7 ultimate differences between mercy vs. grace!

grace vs mercy illustration

Although there are some overlaps in this topic, I want to provide 7 key differences that will help us cement our understanding of this topic!

1. Mercy is intended to bring about repentance and restoration, while grace brings salvation.

Mercy is God’s way of granting us forgiveness for past offenses, acknowledging our brokenness, and allowing us to start anew.

Conversely, grace extends the hope of future righteousness – it allows us to accept His offer of complete acceptance and redemption from sin.

The Bible speaks much to this difference: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

2. Mercy is often associated with justice and retribution, while grace brings about hope and reconciliation.

In the Old Testament, God judged those who had broken His laws harshly, demanding they “pay the penalty” for their wrongdoing. But in the New Testament, He changed course by sending Jesus to die for our sins and redeem us from death.

This grace gives us an opportunity to be reconciled with God and have a relationship with Him – something impossible without it. As Paul said in Romans 5:20-21: “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound… That as sin has reigned unto death, even so, grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life.”

3. Mercy comes from God’s justice, while grace comes from His love.

Mercy acknowledges our wrongdoing and grants us forgiveness, but it doesn’t go further than that.

Grace goes beyond forgiveness to offer hope and salvation, allowing us to have a personal relationship with Him: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

4. Mercy is a reaction to the consequences of our actions, while grace is an act of unconditional love.

Mercy gives us something we don’t deserve – forgiveness for our sins – but it does not erase them completely. Grace offers us total acceptance and redemption from sin.

5. Mercy requires repentance from the wrongdoer, whereas grace requires faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In order to receive God’s mercy, we must turn away from our sinful behaviors and accept His offer of grace by trusting in Him.

6. Mercy may be withdrawn if the person fails to repent or keeps committing the same sin, while grace remains available no matter how often one may stumble in their Christian walk.

God’s mercy is at times seen as “limited” in the sense that it can be withdrawn. This is seen in the story of Uzziah (see 2 Chronicles 26:1-21). Through God’s mercy he became a King but after his pride and dishonor, he was immediately afflicted with leprosy after mercy was withdrawn!

Another thing that comes to mind is the verse about punishment when the “cup of iniquity” is full! Another wording is “the sin has reached full measure.” This is when people disregard mercy and the forbearance period that allows us an opportunity to repent! (See Acts 5.1-11, Genesis 15:16). When we do this, mercy can be withdrawn!

However, God’s grace is never-ending, extending to all who seek it in faith. But can I say that I don’t believe in frustrating grace through a lifestyle of sin! I even write this in my statement of faith because I don’t agree with this at all. Story for another day…

7. Mercy and grace offer different kinds of hope: while mercy can offer us relief from the consequences of our sins, grace offers us freedom from sin itself.

Mercy gives us a way back to God when we have strayed away; grace gives us an ever-present hope that He will always forgive and accept us no matter what happens.

As Paul said in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Similarities of mercy vs. grace

One similarity remains despite the differences between mercy and grace: perfect mercy and perfect grace are found in Jesus Christ. While judgment as a result of sin is an element of mercy, Jesus showed mercy even to those who deserved punishment – such as the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11).

Furthermore, He shows grace to all believers by forgiving us for our sins and offering us eternal life through Him. Thus, regardless of whether one is under judgment or not, the perfect mercy and grace of Jesus Christ are available to all who accept Him as their Lord and Savior. Every individual can take comfort in knowing that through faith in Him, they can receive both perfect mercy and perfect grace. 

Modern examples of Mercy vs. grace

Can I confess that it was super hard to come up with this list? Like, for real, I totally struggled to come up with ideas. LOL.

If you have anything in mind, please add it to the comment section… I’ll be forever grateful for your contribution to this post.

Anyways, here goes…modern examples

  1. Forgiving a friend who hurt you – forgiving someone who has wronged you can be difficult, but if we remember God’s mercy for us, it can make that forgiveness easier to practice in our own lives.
  2. Showing compassion to someone going through a tough time – understanding what it feels like to go through hardship ourselves, we can extend mercy to those struggling in their own lives and offer them support.
  3. Giving second chances – even if someone doesn’t deserve a second chance, we can still choose to offer it to them out of mercy and compassion.
  4. Doing favors for others without expecting anything in return – showing mercy through our actions doesn’t have to be complicated. We can choose to do small favors for those around us without expecting anything in return.
  5. Allowing someone else to go first – it’s easy to get caught up in thinking only of ourselves, but we can show mercy by allowing others to go before us or take the lead.
  6. Being thankful for what we have – recognizing the grace in our own lives can help us to be more appreciative of all that we’ve been blessed with.
  7. Forgiving the mistakes of other people – while it’s difficult to forgive those who have wronged us, remembering that God has forgiven us can help us to offer grace to others.
  8. Being generous – whether it’s with our money, time, or resources, being generous and offering what we have out of grace can be a powerful way of demonstrating God’s love.
  9. Treating others with respect – showing respect for those around us is an important way of extending grace in our daily lives.
  10. Being kind – kindness is an often overlooked form of grace, but being kind to those around us and offering small acts of kindness can have a big impact on someone’s day.


These are just some examples of how we can demonstrate mercy and grace in our everyday lives. The key is to remember that mercy and grace are both gifts from God, and it’s our responsibility to show them to others in a way that honors Him.

By practicing mercy and grace, we can be better witnesses of God’s love for us and His desire for us to show the same compassion and kindness to others.

It’s important to remember that God is always merciful and gracious, even when we don’t deserve it. He is the ultimate example of mercy and grace, so as we strive to be more like Him in our lives, let us ensure that mercy and grace are an integral part of who we are.

How to accept & pay forward grace and mercy

Sometimes, we can be reluctant to accept God’s grace and mercy. Negative thoughts or the Enemy may whisper lies in our ears, telling us that we are not worthy of such love and kindness.

We might feel too ashamed to admit our mistakes, believing we have gone too far for God to forgive us. But this is not true! No matter what has been done, God’s grace and mercy extend far beyond even the depths of our sinfulness.

He desires to redeem us from all things, so let us cling to His promises of restoration and hope! Even if it feels difficult at times, let us remember that we should never give up on ourselves or on the infinite possibilities that come with embracing a life full of grace and mercy!

Because of this, I want to highlight how we can respond to grace and mercy…be it from God or somebody else.

1. Recognize

The first step to responding to God’s grace and mercy is recognizing it. We must be aware that God has been lavishing us with His unmerited favor and compassion, even when we don’t deserve it. When we recognize His goodness, we can start to appreciate just how much He loves us and desires our well-being.

2. Accept

Once we have recognized God’s grace and mercy, the next step is accepting them into our lives. This involves admitting our need for them and being open to receiving the love that they offer. We must let go of the guilt and shame that come with our failures, trusting in God’s promise of redemption instead.

3. Grow

As we accept God’s grace and mercy, we can grow in our understanding of His character. We will be able to experience the fullness of His love as it transforms us from within. Our lives will become a reflection of His goodness, allowing us to live out His truth even in difficult circumstances.

4. Respond

After recognizing, accepting, and growing in our relationship with God, the next step is responding to His grace and mercy. This involves taking action in obedience to Him by following through on what He tells us to do. Each day presents new opportunities for us to demonstrate our faithfulness through how we live and serve others.

5. Share

Finally, once we have responded to God’s grace and mercy, the final step is to share it with others. We can use our stories of redemption to encourage and inspire those around us, reminding them of God’s unconditional love for all people. By doing this, we can help spread the hope that comes from His amazing grace! By following these steps, we can open ourselves up to experiencing the true freedom that comes from knowing and trusting in God’s grace and mercy.

And that’s it, folks- mercy vs. grace

In conclusion, mercy and grace are related concepts with distinct meanings. While grace is unmerited favor given to us, mercy is compassion or forbearance shown toward someone whom one could rightfully treat harshly.

By reflecting on the biblical stories (and this entire blog post), we can come to appreciate God’s love more deeply and allow it to guide us on our spiritual journey.

Ultimately, understanding the distinction between these two concepts helps us to become better followers of Christ; living lives full of faith and gratitude for all that he has done for us.

May this blog post on mercy vs. grace be a source of hope and inspiration to all who seek to strengthen their faith.

P.S. This song by Phillip, Craig, and Dean was a blessing in 2010. I talked about this in my testimony video about how God was so merciful to me. I’m a true testament to His mercies!


Heather Chesiyna_Signature_MOS

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