I am studying the Scriptures. Now, following  your guidance, I am using a biblical dictionary, interlineal Greek-English Bible, and two Bibles (Scofield RV-1960 and Peshitta).  I have a question. What is the difference between grace (xaris) and mercy (eleos)?  I read someone (Danilo Montero, is an evangelist singer) who said: “Grace means to get what you do not deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve.”  Do you think make sense?   I thought grace and mercy were similar, from God to us (grace) and from us to others (mercy).


You are right that grace and mercy are similar, but they definitely are not the same.  Grace is caused by love.  Grace is an unearned gift.  The word charis means gift.  Mercy is a lack of punishment.  It may or may not come as a result of love.  Islam offers mercy, but not grace.   The word mercy is found MANY times in the Qur’an, but grace is not found there.  This may help to define the distinction between the two.  The “mercy” supposedly offered in Islam by Allah involves him not judging people.  It is not a spontaneous offer, motivated by love of one for another, but it is a transcendent God offering to not punish those who have sinned against him.  Grace is about a relationship, whereas mercy may or may not involve a relationship.  Mercy can be offered by a distant God, but grace cannot.  Grace is a response of love.  Mercy is a decision.  Mercy is a judicial thing, not a relational one.
Even the Old Testament emphasized mercy more than grace, whereas the New Testament does the reverse.  I did a brief little research just now.  In the OT in the NIV, grace appears 8 times, whereas in the New Testament it appears more than 150 times.  For the word mercy, the situation is quite different.  The Old Testament (NIV) has mercy about 20% more times than in the New Testament.  To summarize:  Old Testament  mercy/grace  10:1   New Testament mercy/grace  1:2
So, you see the relational mature of grace, versus the judicial relationship of mercy.  We do not ask a judge for grace.  We ask a judge for mercy.  We do not ask a parent for mercy.  We ask a parent for grace.
You posit that grace is offered by God,  but people can generally only offer mercy to one another.  I do not agree, and the example of a parent (grace) versus a judge (mercy) can help to make this decision.  I can offer grace to my wife when she offends me.  I do not offer her mercy. (and vice versa, of course).  I offer mercy to a worker I am over who has broken a rule.  This is not grace, but mercy.
I hope these examples make sense.
John Oakes

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