Mercy and Grace

Reconsidering God’s Mercy and Grace

The young man took comfort in his notion that, although he was not committed to making wise choices for his health, God was nonetheless merciful and would deliver him from his desperate circumstances if he pleaded and cried enough to show how sad and sorry he was. He insisted that the mercy of God withholds from us the judgment we deserve and the grace of God gives to us the blessings we don’t deserve. He heard that from someone else, the same as I did many years ago. It sounds right enough, but it just isn’t supported by Scripture.

Indeed, God is merciful to us, but we do not understand that to mean he gives us a pass on our failed choices – not in the way the young man thought. Rather, God is merciful in the sense that it is his disposition to provide for our healing.

These provisions are his grace. This means, God’s grace flows out of his mercy so that, if his mercy ceased, so would his provisions of grace.

Again, the grace of God flows out of his mercy and is his provisions for our healing. For example, water is God's grace provided for our health. Support relationships are the grace of God. And God’s ultimate grace is Christ.

"For God so loved (his mercy) the world that he gave his only begotten Son (his grace), that whoever believes (receives/trusts) him, shall have eternal life." - John 3:16

“For by grace (God's provisions) are you saved (healed) through faith (to receive/trust), and even your faith is the gift (grace) of God.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

So while God's mercy (love and kindness) endures forever to provide for our redemption, those provisions flow only to the door of our hearts and lives. If we suffer, it is not because God is not merciful, but because we reject his provisions for our healing.

This is exactly the meaning of Paul's words, “I do not set aside the grace of God” (Philippians 2:21).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J06

Receiving Grace Provisions: God’s One and Only Plan for Our Redemption

I hear frequently that hurting people need mostly to experience God’s love and acceptance. The notion seems spiritual enough but misses the grace perspective that God’s love is expressed to us through providing for our redemption (healing and recovery) needs - physically, psychologically, and especially spiritually - and is experienced by us through receiving those provisions.

The Scripture provides strong support for that concept, but the pseudo-grace perspective insists that hurting people need comfort support, not a theologian - the same as to say, it seems, that beliefs do not necessarily need to be rooted in doctrine. That’s a dangerous concept!

It is a particularly dangerous concept to guide counseling. For example, the pseudo-grace perspective insists that actively listening to let others release pent-up emotions is healing.

But however active listening may be fundamental to effective counseling, and whatever value providing opportunity for venting emotional buildup may have for pain relief, or even as a life-saving measure to support additional counseling on another day, venting, in and of itself, has no value for healing.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned (was certain) through that one man, how much more (certain and unfailing) will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of (his) righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:16-17

“I am not ashamed of the gospel (God’s redemptive plan), because the provision (of Christ’s blood/death and resurrected Life) it proclaims is the power (dynamic) of God for the salvation (healing/recovery) of everyone who believes (receives it): (It was given) first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God (Christ) is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live (are enabled) by faith (to receive God’s provisions).” – Romans 1:16-17 (GracePoint Interpretive Paraphrase)

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I10

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