Grace and mercy are twin sides of a coin. Grace is God’s unmerited favour, the blessings He pours out on us every day which we don’t deserve. Someone has defined grace as ‘getting what we don’t deserve’ and mercy as ‘not getting what we do deserve!’ The dictionary definition is a little more precise: ‘compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’

I find it interesting that the two new albums I have listened to recently (by Matt Redman and Phil Wickham) both feature songs which look at grace and mercy. The title song of Matt Redman’s album is ‘Your Grace Finds Me’ whereas Phil Wickham’s album features a song called ‘This Is Amazing Grace’. Both albums also look at the topic of mercy, featuring songs by that name.

Matt Redman talks about the centrality of the cross in the song ‘Mercy’ here, a centrality reflected in the lyrics:
“I will kneel in the dust
at the foot of the cross,
where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
it is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.

Mercy, mercy,
as endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
for all eternity.

We will lift up the cup
and the bread we will break,
remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
but You took on our shame
and nailed it to a cross.

May I never lose the wonder,
oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.” (‘Mercy’, Matt Redman & Jonas Myrin)

‘Mercy’, Matt Redman & Jonas Myrin

Phil Wickham’s song on the same theme is beautifully constructed around the ideas expressed in Romans 5 about the ‘first Adam’ and the ‘last Adam’, with a final verse that reminds us of the miracle of our new birth and the commission that mercy gives to us:
“Made from the dust and breathed into life,
He stood unashamed with a fire in his eyes,
The image of God walking upon the world.
All of the earth was under his feet
Except for the fruit from a forbidden tree.
He took a taste and that’s how he breaks the world.

He cried ‘Mercy, Mercy’.
He broke the whole world with the fruit from a tree:
Have mercy

Heaven to Earth came down from on high
With hope in His name and a fire in His eyes,
The fullness of God walking upon the world,
He said He was love, then proved it with blood
And rose from the dead to prove He was God
And that’s what it takes for one man to save the world.

Oh such Mercy, Mercy
He saved the whole world when He hung on a tree
Such mercy.

Now here inside of our skin and bones
Heaven above is making its home,
The kingdom of God living upon the world
To love like He loves and give like he gives
To tell the story that makes dead men live
and that’s what it takes if we’re gonna to change the world.

Mercy, Mercy
Your love is a song and You sing over me
Mercy.” (‘Mercy’, Phil Wickham)

‘Mercy’, Phil Wickham