Grace, like mercy, flows from God’s goodness. But they are not the same.
According to A. W. Tozer, “mercy is God’s goodness confronting human guilt, whereas grace is God’s goodness confronting human demerit (unworthiness, very poor quality).”
Grace, unlike mercy, appears three times more often in the New Testament than it does in the Old Testament. Grace is God’s goodness, the kindness of his heart, his good will, the very opposite of meanness, resentment, or hardness. We often hear that when we receive God’s grace, we receive his blessing, which we do not deserve. Perhaps you know this acrostic, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Tozer says that “Christ is the channel through which grace flows, but there was always grace in the heart of God, and there isn’t any more grace now than there ever was, and there will never be any more grace than there is now.”
According to Scripture, no one was, or is, or ever will be saved apart from God’s grace. Since Abel offered his first lamb to God on the altar, all people have been saved by grace alone. And grace always comes by Jesus. Tozer says that “God dealt in grace with mankind, looking forward to the Incarnation and death of Jesus even before he came. Before Christ, God’s people looked forward to the cross, and those of us that have been saved since then look back at the cross.
How do we measure God’s grace to us? We cannot. Like all of God’s attributes, grace is who he is; it is infinite, immeasurable, and impossible to comprehend. As John Newton wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” It is only when we look at our own sin that we can begin to fathom the immensity of God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
How do you experience the grace of God? Share your comment below.
This is the seventh post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in “The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart.”