Tuesday, March 26, 2013

“Grace and Truth”

Seeking God’s grace apart from truth is meaningless at best, and dangerous at worst (resulting in a compromised Gospel that bears little resemblance to the authentic reality). Affirming truth apart from grace leads to either sterile legalism, or harsh and arrogant self righteousness.

“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Grace never comes alone, nor can we survive the presence of truth without its inseparable companion of grace. Keeping this in mind will open the meaning of Scripture to us, from Genesis to Revelation. Indeed, grace came looking for Adam after he sinned – and then told him the truth when it found him. Truth condemned our original forefather, and then grace covered him with the bloody coat of a slain sacrifice (Genesis 3:8-21). Moreover, the book of Revelation concludes the Biblical record with the sublime offer of grace –“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” In the same breath, however, the Apostle John warns that tampering with the truth of God’s Word will lead to destruction – “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Revelation 22:17-18).

I’ve said it myself so often that I could never fuss at anyone who blithely declares, “It’s all grace!” Furthermore, I have so often bludgeoned others and myself with graceless affirmations of truth that I cannot criticize anyone who directly states or tacitly implies, “It’s all about truth!” Still, the point must be made. It’s not “all grace,” nor is it “all about truth.” Again, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (emphasis added). One without the other is like a train track with only one rail. At best, we shall get nowhere on such an insufficient line. At worst, we shall end in catastrophe.

The writer of Hebrews succinctly states the case for grace and truth: “Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably” (Hebrews 12:28). The freely given results in the faithfully governed. Light rightly understood leads to life richly undertaken. Grace and truth. Ever and always, for and within the trusting heart, grace and truth.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “Ye heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” (Colossians 1:6-7)

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