In Titus 3:4 we're told that the Gospel is a message about God's GRACE and KINDNESS towards mankind. In verse 5 God s MERCY also comes into play - so what are these virtues that live within the heart of God?
GRACE and MERCY are like twins and are often found together in the Scriptures, either in the same verse or nearby in other verses. Although they're alike, the distinction between them is important.
Imagine offering your hand to shake a friend's in greeting but instead of your hand being shaken you get a smack in the nose - no doubt feeling very angry and entitled to avenge yourself, you clench your fist to do to your "friend" as he's done to you! After all, it's what he deserves according to the "eye for an eye" principle! But something inside feels this response is just wrong. An inner voice (conscience) suggests a different response. Your friend's nose remains intact instead of busted - you have shown mercy! Then you go one step further and decide to add grace to the response and you give your attacker a lovely box of luxury chocolates! He certainly doesn't deserve them but grace means he gets them anyway! This is like the mercy and grace we receive from God. We deserve God's judgment for our sin but Jesus in mercy died for our sin so that God could forgive us. Forgiveness is a gift from God that we don't deserve but because He is a gracious God He offers it to us.
As we consider the KINDNESS of God we need to understand that this word actually means "usefulness". Take the incident of the Good Samaritan. Here's a man robbed, wounded and left for dead - a Levite and an Old Testament priest came by, and they probably felt sorry for the wounded man's plight, they may have even offered words of comfort, but they passed on without offering any help - they were useless to the man in need. In contrast, the Samaritan man comes along and offers more than pity, he offers practical and useful help - he gives medical assistance and takes the man to a safe place to recover. The Lord Jesus has show that kind of kindness to us - piratical involvement in our spiritual need, by paying our debt for sin. And we thank God for His great mercy, grace and kindness.