Grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin, which within the pocket or purse of the believer makes one rich toward God. Nowhere were these dispositions of God more evident than at the cross of Christ. In the cross the demands of the Law were met, thereby allowing God to extend mercy in sparing sinners from everlasting death. In the cross of Christ the undeserved love of God was offered in grace whereby He saves sinners who believe by giving them eternal life.
God’s grace and mercy are not only the means of initial forgiveness at conversion. They are also the basis for that forgiveness offered in the continuing relationship of fellowship between the believer and God. I have recently become much more appreciative of the fact that while God extends forgiveness through His mercy and His grace, the justice of God is never compromised. First John 1:9 reminds us that God remains “faithful and just” in His willingness to forgive. He is just in that He demanded the death of His Son to pay the penalty through His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (2:2). God is also faithful to forgive and cleanse from all sin when we come to acknowledge our sin as God perceives it. Our inconsistency and faithlessness is contrasted with His constancy and faithfulness. The irony is that our very need for forgiveness reminds us of the balance of God’s attributes of justice and mercy, and love and grace. Undeserving mercy was provided through undiminished justice. Unconditional love is grounded in unmerited grace.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Rom. 11:33–36).