Often we see mercy as the end, rather than the means that it is. It becomes about just getting out of our situation or just barely making it by. Even Christ’s saving work in our lives becomes about mercy as an end. We are saved by his mercy…and that’s where it ends.
Mercy wasn’t meant to be an end. Mercy is a gate.
“Let us then 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” (Hebrews 4:16). We approach so we may receive mercy, but it is His grace that helps us. Mercy is not the end. Living under grace is the end.
“If you’re thirsty, the Spirit and the Bride say ‘come’. There’s mercy. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done” (Chris McClarney). That is the epitome of mercy. The mercy of Christ receives me just the way I am. The mercy of Christ spares me the punishment of my sin. The mercy of Christ saves me from eternal separation from God. That’s mercy. That is the gritty, sturdy and rigorous work of mercy in our lives. It’s this mercy that sets us back in the presence of God…standing rightly before His throne.
The thing about mercy is that it wasn’t supposed to be all mercy. We don’t live in his mercy, we live in His grace. Grace is our glorious, miraculous end as believers in and followers of Jesus. Mercy gets us in the door and grace explores the expanses of God’s goodness, riches, character, presence, nature, love, will…
Those who are in Christ we never meant to stop at the mercy of the cross. We were meant to live under the power of His grace. His grace is His unmerited favor towards us (you!). His grace is His power at work you our (your!) life. It is the power to be transformed and to do transformational things. Grace is the overflowing reservoir of the power and displayed glory of God. And it is most brilliantly displayed in the lives of His children.
Someone once told me, “If a cop pulls you over and tells you they’re not going to give you a ticket, that’s mercy. If a cop pulls you over, says they aren’t going to give you a ticket and hands you a $100 bill, that’s grace.” Jesus didn’t just pay the price…that’s simply where he started.