Grace then, is all transcending. It takes us up in Christ before all worlds, and before we ourselves have done either good or evil, see Rom. 9. 10-14; 2 Tim. 1. 8-10. Mercy on the other hand, is grace active in time, reaching down to us according to those counsels after we have actually done evil, and achieved no good at all. As our teachers have often told us, grace deals with us as undeserving and mercy deals with us as hell deserving.
So grace from eternity brings us mercy in history and we enter into the peace of God; and what a many splendoured thing it is! ‘Grace, mercy and peace’, this greeting which was used in the more personal epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus, may have been thus phrased because it is as individuals that we appreciate mercy most. For instance, the publican cries, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’. And Paul who was once a Pharisee but is constrained to take the same attitude of contrition as the publican, says with thankfulness, ‘I obtained mercy’. Surely in our personal experience we can say with David, ‘Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life’. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’.
No wonder Paul’s prayer for the embattled saints in Thessalonica was this: ‘The Lord of peace, Himself, give you peace always by all means’, and also, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing’. 2 Thess. 3. 16.
From ‘The Rock and the Sand’ by Geoffrey Bull, page165, Chapter Two 1990. Used with permission.