Grace, Mercy, and Peace
“To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” —Titus 1:4
In his greetings to Titus, the apostle Paul is saying to his young protégé in the Lord that because of Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross, there are three divine benefits available to us all—grace, mercy, and peace.
The verse opens with Paul using the term “common faith.” What exactly does this mean? The term tells us that there is only one faith that saves, and it is the same for all. It’s common in the sense that “this faith” is known and accepted by all true believers. It refers to a specific faith—faith in the sacrifice of Christ.
Grace is the means by which the goodness of God is given to undeserving mankind. In his book, Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible, Myer Pearlman said, “Grace means primarily favor, or the kindly disposition in the mind of God …. Grace is God’s dealing with the sinner absolutely apart from the question of merit or demerit …. Grace is independent of man’s works or activity. When a person is under law he cannot be under grace; when he is under grace, he is not under law. A person is ‘under law’ when he attempts to secure salvation or sanctification as a matter of reward, by the performance of good works and the observance of ceremonies.”
Simply put, grace is a free gift. The best way to understand grace is to look at who we were before salvation. We were lost and undone, born in sin, guilty, and deserving of eternal damnation. But God, who is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4) extended favor to humanity in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, who took our penalty and through His death accepts us as His children upon our acceptance of Him as our Savior and, through grace, bestows on us His righteousness. We didn’t deserve it, and we couldn’t earn it, but it was freely given.
After salvation, all of God’s benefits available to us are because of grace, and that grace is a flowing fount with no end in sight. There is no limit of grace.
Mercy is the compassion of God with respect to the sorrow of our lives. Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” All have sinned, and all deserve wrath, but through Christ we receive mercy. Mercy and grace go together. Where there is grace, there is mercy and vice versa. The mercy of God is portrayed to us by His sending Christ into this world to die on Calvary’s cross. Never forget that the cross of Christ is the greatest display of mercy that the world has ever known. Mercy is always tied to deliverance while grace is tied to God granting blessing to us.
The third attribute of Calvary is peace. There are two kinds of peace available to the believer—justifying peace and sanctifying peace.
Justifying peace comes to the believing sinner the moment of his salvation; it’s automatic. This peace also has to do with the fact that there is no longer enmity between God and the believer.
Sanctifying peace has to do with our daily living for God. If a person doesn’t understand that his faith must be in Christ and the cross and not in works to please God, then he cannot have sanctifying peace. Instead, he’ll find himself living Romans 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
But when our faith is properly placed into Christ for sanctification, there is a peace that comes, for the struggle is over. This doesn’t mean that we obtain perfection, but that we are no longer slaves to self. Sanctification and holiness go together; we are set apart to God completely.
Justifying peace means that the war with sin is ended. Sanctifying peace means that the war with self has ended.
Let us live in grace, mercy, and peace—and we can, by faith, in Christ and the cross.
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