What is mercy? What is grace? Usually I would give a definition to explain what they both are. I might reach into the mind of theological professors to find out what they believe grace and mercy are. But today, I’m not interested in what the definition is. I don’t need to know what others think they know about it. Today, I have some real life situations I’d like to examine to show you what grace and mercy are.
Sometimes I get tired in my theology class, so I bring fruit chew candies to my class to keep myself awake. I decided I would offer two of my classmates a piece of candy. The first guy declined my offer, and wouldn’t take a piece of candy. The second guy accepted my offer without hesitation, and I gave him a Starburst. But what if, in the minutes following, the first guy decided he did want the candy? What if he changed his mind? Would I have given him the candy? Would he have had the courage to ask me again? Or would he have waited until I again offered the candy?
In the movie Training Day, starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris, there’s a great example that I’d like to use. At the beginning of the story, Ethan Hawke is a rookie police officer and is about to get a one day evaluation by Denzel Washington. Denzel wants to evaluate him to see if he’s good enough to be on the undercover drug team. Denzel is sitting in a Diner, and Ethan walks in and sits down. Denzel then offers Ethan breakfast, but Ethan turns down the breakfast. After a few minutes of them sitting there and having a conversation, Ethan decides to get some breakfast after all, but Denzel yells at him, and tells him that he messed that opportunity up, and now, can’t get breakfast.
This scene in Training Day is a great example of what God’s mercy and grace IS NOT LIKE. If we deny the grace God has for us, but ask for it at a later date, He will not hold out on us. No matter when we ask for it, He will have that salvation for us. Denzel Washington had no mercy or grace, and when Ethan Hawke asked for breakfast later, he wasn’t allowed to get any. But when we say no to God, say no to God, say no to God, and then say yes to God, He is there with open arms. God’s love is so abounding, that a sinner, someone who denied Christ, someone who spat at the name of God, can be saved. That’s what we see with Paul in the Bible. He murdered Christians, and laughed at Christ. He hated these followers of Jesus, and did everything he could to put them in jail, and have them executed. But when he realized Christ was the Saviour, and that he had been wrong, God did not hold out his mercy and grace. God’s salvation was freely given, because God’s grace and mercy covers all.