Do these fall under grace or mercy?


First of all, know that your website has been so very helpful in my journey to mature in Christ.

I am struggling with recognizing sins that will keep me out of heaven.  Below are a few examples:

  1. At a counter there is a sign out to take 1 face mask, I take 2 or more.
  2. I am driving down a hill and my speed increases to over the speed limit.
  3. I set my cruise control over the speed limit.
  4. Littering intentionally.
  5. Littering unintentionally.

I don’t really understand the difference, if any, between grace and mercy. That may be my problem with recognizing sins.

Thanks so much for your time.


Grace is a gift given to you because the giver wanted to give it and not because you earned it or deserved the gift. You can't demand grace because the offer is not your decision.

Mercy is a judge deciding to release you from a punishment that you did deserve because of your wrongful actions. You might request mercy from a judge but you have to understand that it is not your decision as to whether mercy will be extended or not. It is solely the decision of the judge.

In example one, the reason for the sign is that the business decided to supply masks at its own cost. Taking extra is costing the owner of the business more money and makes it more likely that some later arriving customers will not have a mask. It displays a selfish attitude. Yes, the masks don't cost much but remember what Jesus said, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10). How could I trust you to think of others in bigger things?

In examples two and three, speed limits are not arbitrary. The roads are designed to handle a certain level of speed in various conditions. There is the danger of someone pulling out in front of you, so the speed limit is set to give you a reasonable amount of time to react. Exceding the speed limit is breaking government laws (Romans 13:1-2) and shows a disregard for your safety and the safety of other people.

In examples four and five, littering is trashing another person's property. Once again, it displays a lack of consideration for other people -- all because you were too lazy to deal with your own trash. Unintentional littering may likely show carelessness on your part and a lack of concern about other people.

Whether God gives you mercy would be His decision. However, you need to realize that we are judged not just on what we do but God also considers why we act as we do. "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God" ( I Corinthians 4:5).

Therefore, instead of looking for what you might get away with, a Christian looks for how he might best serve his fellow men. "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10).

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