For the last two days, I have attempted to show how mercy and grace are both necessary for a person to become a child of God. Today, I want to focus upon the relationship between the two as they are emphasized in the Old and New Testaments. I believe the reason mercy is emphasized more in the O.T. is because the 613 individual laws found there cannot be obeyed; the natural man will sin, and apart from God's mercy, will instantly die (Gen. 2:15-18). If Adam could not obey one single law while still in a sinless state, how could a fallen race of men obey 613? Man clearly needs a merciful God.
The New Testament, beginning with Acts, focuses on God's grace. As I said in Part One, the word "mercy" appears 146 times, and "grace" is found only 37 times in the O.T., while "mercy" is found only 22 times in the N.T., and "grace" appears there 122 times. The Bible teaches that the O.T. was to point out man's need for God's mercy, and the N.T. emphasizes God's willingness to "save" all who accept His grace, that is, His precious Gift (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 10:4-17; Gal. 3:21-26).
One of the amazing things I found while studying the relationship between mercy and grace was strong support for the view that the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. Mk. & Lk.) are addressed chiefly to Israel. I discovered the word "mercy" appears 21 of the 22 times it appears in the N.T. in the Synoptics and zero times in John. The word "grace" appears only once (Lk. 2:40) in the Synoptics, and only three times in John (1:14, 16, 17). The dispensation of the Law, which focused upon Israel, was "temporarily" set aside (it has been nearly 2000 years so far), before it is to be completed during the Tribulation, or Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27). The seven year Tribulation is God's punishment to the Jews who rejected their Messiah. As I have written before, each dispensation with the exception of the Church, ends with the judgment of God on those who failed to obey the "light" they received (see posts on 1-31-10 through 2-6-10 and 2-24-11).
Because John was written much latter than the Synoptic Gospels, long after Pentecost and the founding of the Church, his focus was to present Jesus as the Savior of all mankind, and not just as Israel's King (Jn. 1:11-12; 14:15-18; 16:7; also Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4). All four Gospels present the fulfillment of the Law with the offering of our "Passover" on the cross (Matt. 5:17; 27:50-51; Mk. 15:37-38; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 19:30; also 1 Cor. 5:7).
John 1:17 For the law (that which makes mercy necessary) was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
To be continued, Lord willing.