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What's the difference between Justice, Mercy, and Grace?

What is mercy? What is grace, and more specifically, what is God's Grace?  


Grace is much different than Justice and Mercy:

  • JUSTICE is getting the bad that we deserve. (getting exactly what we deservewhich in our case is death)
  • MERCY is NOT getting the bad that we deserve. (again, death)
  • GRACE is getting good that we do not deserve. (eternal life, plus all the good that God wants to give us)

(A simple Grace Skit may help explain God's Grace better than anything else.  But simply put, GRACE can be defined as unearned favor.  Specifically, God's grace is something God does for the benefit of His people just because He loves them, not because of something they have done to earn it.  Grace is a gift and can never be earned.  It's always totally free.  ("Cheap Grace" is a counterfeit of God's amazing free grace.  "Cheap Grace" claims the benefits of God's Grace without changing the way we behave.  "Cheap Grace" requires no repentance and so there is no need to live like God asks us to live.  This is NOT God's Grace.)

God's justice, mercy and grace can be compared to the pardon that a governor of a state can give to a guilty prisoner who is facing execution (the punishment of death) for something that he or she actually did.  JUSTICE will be served and they will be killed unless the governor has MERCY and pardons (forgives) the prisoner.  But if the governor goes on and gives that prisoner not only a pardon, but also total freedom, a huge mansion to live in, and unlimited resources then he has given that guilty prisoner both MERCY & GRACE.

JUSTICE - If we only received justice from God we all would be dead because all of us have sinned Romans 3:23, and the "wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23. But because Jesus died FOR us, we have been given a “stay of execution” to allow us to either accept or reject Jesus death as our substitute. 

MERCY - During this "stay of execution" God offers us a pardon.  He wants to forgive us and set us free from the results of sin, and He has the legal right to do this because His Son and our Creator, Jesus, willingly came and died so that we would not have to die.  Jesus died for us so that we could live, but His death can only be our salvation if we accept it.  Just like the prisoner above, we can turn it down or we can accept this pardon that God offers; it is our choice.  John 3:16

GRACE - If we accept the pardon that God offers us, not only will we not die, but He then sets us free and gives us a life that will never end.  He continues by giving us an awesome room in His own home, unlimited resources, and total freedom.  And on top of all of that He adopts us and gives us His name!  That is God's AMAZING GRACE!

God's Grace is "the power of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves".  And the fact is, we cannot do anything for ourselves.  Jesus says, "...without me ye can do nothing."  John 15:5

The Bible gives us a beautiful example of what grace is and does.  When Moses took the Children of Israel out of Egypt and into the desert the people soon became thirsty, but there wasn't any water to be found, especially not for 2,000,000 people, plus their herds of animals.  God told Moses to strike a specific rock and He (God) would give the people water. (see more on this example)

The water that came out of that rock demonstrates the grace of God flowing out to all who would drink.  It also caused the parched and barren land to blossom which in turn gave the people and animals something to eat.  Without this water, without God's grace supplying the needs of the people, the people would have died.  Christ is the Rock; He is also the Living Water.

Without God's mercy and grace, without the pardon that God gives us and all the blessings we receive every minute, we would die.  Everyday God supplies us with the light of the sun, air to breath, and something to eat and drink. In fact, when you stop to think about it, without the materials that God has provided for us we could not even create electricity on our own to make light, or create oxygen, or even create food.  God supplies all we need, but we must choose to accept His gifts, or to reject them.  We have the option of refusing to eat or drink.  We have the option of closing ourselves up in an airtight, waterproof and darkened room, but it will kill us.  We need God’s mercy and grace just to live.

And God's grace does not stop with just our physical needs either.  He has supplied what is needed for our spiritual well-being too.  The Bible contains all that we need to be happy, gain total freedom and have eternal life, but we need to read it for ourselves and hide it in our hearts in such a way that what it teaches becomes a part of us.   


In addition to the Bible, the Father allowed His Son, Jesus, to come and show us who He (the Father) is and what He is like.  Before He died, Jesus lived a life that showed us what the Father is REALLY like.  Then Jesus gave His life so that you and I do not have to die.  God's justice, mercy and grace are all wrapped up in Jesus.

God's grace is all around us.  He wants us to live forever and be happy, but we have a choice to make.  We can accept some of His grace during this “stay of execution” period and live here on earth for a few years and then die the result of sin, or we can accept ALL His grace, and when He comes to get us, we can live forever with Him! 

What an AMAZING God!  Accept the grace that He offers through Jesus, and live!  Just say, "Thank You Jesus!  I accept your offer of grace!"










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