For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
The following excerpt from Randy Alcorn’s book The Grace and Truth Paradox elaborates on this passage of scripture:
The truth that sets us free: In John 1, we’re told Jesus came full of grace and truth. In John 2, we’re given a demonstration of grace followed by a demonstration of truth. (water to wine and overturning tables) They are juxtaposed, startlingly paradoxical. Yet encompassed in the person of Jesus, they are entirely consistent.
The ancient, historical Jesus came full of grace and truth. The modern, mythological Jesus comes full of tolerance and relativism. Even in the church truth is sometimes buried under subjectivism and cowardice, while grace is lost in a sea of permissiveness and indifference.
Without truth, we lack courage to speak and convictions to speak about. Without grace, we lack compassion to meet people’s deepest needs.
The vast majority of American colleges were built with the vision and funding of Christians. Why? To teach truth. Most American hospitals were built with the vision and funding of Christians. Why? To extend grace.
We don’t have the luxury of choosing either grace or truth. Yet many believers habitually embrace one instead of the other, according to our temperament, background, church, or family. We must learn to say yes to both grace and truth – and say no to whatever keeps us from them. Nicer than Jesus? The Christian life is not based on avoiding the truth but on hearing it and submitting to it. The greatest kindness we can offer each other is the truth. We’ve been schooled that it’s inappropriate to say anything negative. Being a good witness once meant faithfully representing Christ, even when it meant being unpopular. Now it means ‘making people like us.’
We’ve redefined Christlike to mean ‘nice.’ By that definition, Christ wasn’t always Christlike. He confronted people with sin, raised his voice, threw tables, and called people snakes, blind hypocrites, and white-washed tombs. If we don’t talk about sin and hell because we want to be nice, we’re trying to be nicer than Jesus, who spoke a great deal about both.” (p.72-73)
Grace and truth are both essential elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is very difficult to keep the two in proper balance, but as disciples of Christ, that is our task. We are called to share the truth that Jesus is Lord and the good news of grace that forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in heaven can be found through faith in Him. Thanks be to God. -Pastor Chad