It’s Communion Sunday and we are about to take the Lord’s Supper. But before we do, since we talked today about mercy, I want to distinguish between grace and mercy. We often lump grace and mercy together, but there is a difference. Grace is when God gives you favor that you don’t deserve. The ultimate sign of God’s favor is salvation. We don’t deserve salvation. We didn’t merit it. It is a free gift that we just have to receive. Salvation is the ultimate expression of grace. Everything on top of salvation is also grace. Life, health, food, shelter, opportunities–we don’t deserve any of these things. These are all bonus. That’s grace – receiving from God what we don’t deserve.
Mercy is different. Mercy is when God doesn’t give you what you actually deserve. As sinners before a Holy God, what we actually deserve is death. We deserve hell. We deserve to be cast off as objects of wrath. Instead of wrath, God shows us mercy. Instead of punishing us, God punishes His own Son on the cross so that we can be forgiven. When we ask God for mercy, we are asking him not to punish us for our sins. Have mercy on me, Lord, I know I deserve punishment, I know I deserve to be cast off, but Christ suffered in my place so that I can be pardoned. That’s mercy – not receiving from God what we actually deserve.
Every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we are thanking God for showing us grace and mercy. Giving us what we don’t deserve by saving us. And not giving us what we actually deserve.