I ended yesterday's post by saying that mercy is not getting what one deserves, and grace is getting what one does not deserve. To some, that may be an over simplification of the "two halves of spiritual D.N.A." which connect a born-again Christian to his or her Father.
MERCY: "For He hath made Him (Jesus), Who knew no sin, to be sin for us..." (2 Cor. 5:21a).
Think for a moment of how Jesus, the Original Son of God," was conceived and born of Mary. First of all, Mary needed a Savior (Lk. 1:47). In other words, Mary was a sinner needing God's mercy for salvation. God cleansed her of all sin the same way He cleanses all those who trust in Jesus. He had mercy on her, and accepted the sacrifice of His Son (and hers) as the propitiation (the satisfaction of the requirement for restitution) for her sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).
GRACE: "...that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21b).
Mary had received God's mercy and she believed Him, making her righteous in His sight (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). Mary's righteousness was due to God's grace. She did not earn it, or merit it in any way, it was a gift from God (Rom. 1:17; 3:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8-9). Once she was righteous, her "half of the spiritual D.N.A." could be joined to the "D.N.A. of the Holy Spirit." That Holy Conception resulted in the birth of the Son of God (Lk. 1:32). The same is true for us today. God is merciful toward us by accepting the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Once we are cleansed of our sin, we are made righteous by God's grace. God's graciousness toward us is seen in the Holy Spirit indwelling us, making us the children of God (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26; 1 Jn. 3:2).
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT IS NOW UP TO YOU!
One can not help but notice that both mercy and grace are the work of God. Forgiveness was bought for us by Jesus Christ's death on the cross for our sin. Our adoption as the children of God is due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So what part do we play in being saved? We believe the Gospel, the good news that God loves us. And even that is the work of God in our hearts, because the very faith we have in God's Word is place there by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:17; Eph. 2:8-9). What must we do? We must believe God (Jn. 6:29; Acts 16:30-31).
God has shown His character in that He has had mercy on us. God has shown His character in that He has given us faith to believe in Him. God has shown His character in His willingness to adopt as His child, all who put their trust in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Someone must die to pay for your sin; if you fail to trust in the death of Jesus on your behalf, then you must die and suffer the consequences (Jn. 8:24; Rom. 6:23: Rev. 20:11-15). It is up to you!