Grace and mercy are two sides of love.
In mercy, God withholds from us the judgment we deserve. In grace, he pours upon us the blessings we don't deserve.
Mercy - the God of mercy, the mercy of God
"Lord, have mercy on me!" (Matthew 15:22); "Lord, have mercy on us!" (Matthew 20:31).
In mercy, God graciously gives his salvation to us.
From salvation, we move on to service - "Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart" (2 Corinthians 4:1). Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the church - and the world. We pray that God will be glorified. We pray that, by the mercy of God, many will be blessed. When God sends his blessing, may we know that there's no room for human boasting. All we can say is "To God be the glory!"
The mercy of God brings us to salvation. The mercy of God calls us into his service. God's mercy is an unending mercy - "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end" (Lamentations 3:22).
How are we to respond to the mercy of God? We are to show mercy: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7).
Grace - the God of grace, the grace of God
The grace of God fills our hearts with praise to God: "It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious" (Psalm 147:1).
In the Lord, there is mercy, grace and love; " The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (Psalm 103:8).
Jesus Christ is the greatest revelation of God's grace. He is "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
We receive the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ: "From his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16). there is enough for all of us and for every situation.
In Jesus Christ, we receive (a) the grace of salvation; (b) the grace of service; (c) the grace of strength.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).
What great blessings we have received through our Lord Jesus Christ - "justified through faith", "peace with God", "access by faith into this grace in which we now stand", "the hope of the glory of God."
We stand in His grace. He has set us on our feet. He has saved us, and he makes us ready to serve him in his strength.
(i) There are 'preaching' ministries. To this kind of ministry, Paul was called. He was "a minister of Christ Jesus" (Romans 15:16) - called "to preach the gospel" (Romans 15:20) with a view to "winning obedience from the Gentiles" (Romans 15:18). This ministry was "by word and deed" and "by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:18-19).
(ii) There are ministries to which all God's people are called. You may not be a 'Paul', but there's a work you can do for Jesus.
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Your ministry may be speaking. It may be serving. Whatever your ministry is, it can only be carried out "with the strength God provides." The goal of all this service is that "God may be praised through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 4:11).
We are given strength to serve the Lord. We need this strength if we are to overcome the many obstacles - (i) false doctrine; (ii) Satanic opposition.
(i) "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).
(ii) "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:“God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:6-8).
"Purify your hearts" (James 4:8). The emphasis is on purity of heart. Our problem is not so much that we need to know more. Our hearts need to be more in love with the God of love, grace and mercy. Let us bring our problem to Him. Let us bring ourselves to him. He is more than able to sort us out and make us the kind of people he wants us to be.