Today, Sunday October 3
“Love, Mercy, Grace and Peace”
2 John 1:2&3 “Because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Maybe four of the greatest words in the Bible and in the world, for that matter, must be love, mercy, grace and peace. And of course you would have to add the word truth to this list. Because if there were no truth there would be no love, mercy, grace or peace. The source of everything is found in Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth! “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17)
As John gives the salutation to his little epistle, he uses these five words that are so vitally important to us!
What is the difference between the love, the mercy, and the grace of God? We read in Ephesians 2:4-5, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)." This is such a wonderful scripture because it combines all three: Paul says that God is rich in mercy, and because of His great love for us, He saves us by grace. What is the love of God? Well, God is love. Before anything was created, God was love. Somebody says, "Whom did He love?" Well, the Trinity existed, and we know the love which existed between God the Father and God the Son. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer writes, "Love is that in God which existed before He would care to exercise mercy or grace." Love is the nature of God; it is what is called an attribute of God. God is love, but the interesting thing is that the love of God never saved a sinner. The love of God caused God to move in the direction of mercy and grace; it caused Him to exercise mercy and grace.
Now the question arises: What is the difference between mercy and grace? Dr. Chafer very exactly expresses it: "Mercy, on the other hand, is that in God which duly provided for the need of sinful man." God is rich in mercy. Why is He rich in mercy? Because He is love. And because God is love, He, by mercy, provided for the need of sinful man. But mercy didn't save man. Again, I quote Dr. Chafer: "Grace is that in Him which acts freely to save because all the demands of holiness have been satisfied." God today is free to act in grace. You are a sinner who cannot provide anything for God. You haven't anything to offer to Him. But now grace means that God can come to you, a lost sinner, and say, "I am love, and I am rich in mercy. I love you, and I have provided by My mercy a Savior for you." Now if you will trust Him, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8).
Salvation all stems from the love of God, but God does not save by His love or His mercy. After all, our God is a holy God, and the Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..." (John 3:16). You see, God did not so love the world that He saved the world -- He didn't do that. God so loved the world that by His mercy He provided a Savior for the world, and He can now save by grace.
There is something else here that is important to see. Salvation is not only the expression of the love of God, but it is also an expression of the justice and righteousness of God. Because He must be just and righteous, His mercy provided a Savior, and it was because He loves you. He can be righteous and do this -- "that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
Therefore, John can now write, "Grace be with you" -- that is the way God saves you. "Mercy" -- mercy provided a Savior. "And peace" -- when you have all this, then the peace of God that passes all understanding is going to keep your heart. As John said, "For the truth's sake, which dwells in us, and shall be with us forever."
My friend, you can know that these great truths are not something which God is going to change.