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"I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor,

and an insolent man;
but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant

1 TIMOTHY 1:13-14

Peanut butter and jelly.  Forks and spoons.  Mercy and grace.  Some things just go together--and, thankfully, mercy and grace are such a pair in the kingdom of God.

To obtain mercy means "to receive exemption from the punishment that one deserves."  And every one of us deserves punishment for our sins.  Perhaps those sins aren't as dramatic as Paul's--or maybe they're every bit as intense or worse.  But God doesn't rank sin.  Sin is sin, and all who sin--and that's everyone--deserves the punishment of separation from God forever.

Now for mercy's theological partner...grace.  Whereas mercy is deserved punishment withheld, grace is undeserved favor bestowed.  Our loving God hasn't given us what we sinners rightly deserve.  Instead He has freely offered salvation through Jesus, who took our sin upon Himself.  The apostle Paul deserved punishment as a blasphemer and persecutor of the church, but God showed him mercy.

Cups and saucers.  Salt and pepper.  And, yes, mercy and grace.  Some things go together perfectly.

Thank You, Lord!

from Discovering God's Daily Agenda
by Henry & Richard Blackaby