Grace, then Truth, not the other way around.

December 28, 2010

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.  (John 1:17,18)

If I were to be asked, what the biggest difference between before and after becoming a believer, it would come back to this verse in John.  “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”   I knew about God, I knew that Jesus died for me, but being a recipient of Grace totally changed who I am.  Being made aware of the Truth totally changed who I became.

Now that I am a believer, and a follower for close to forty years, Grace and Truth are still the two big words that inform my walk.  Or at least the should. Grace and Truth need to permeate the lives of Christians so much that it leaks out in our behavior.  If I do not exhibit grace towards non-believers, my faith is a lie.  There is no question that we need to speak up against the sins that we are committing as a nation, but it is not my job to call out every misdeed of my non-believing friends.  I need to model grace and love.  If I do that, at some Spirit-appointed time (not a Tim-appointed time) I will be able to speak Truth into their lives, and they will be able to hear it.

It’s like finding a friend hanging on for dear life to a branch over a chasm.  I could lecture and scold them for walking to close to the edge, or I could reach out and help them.

Grace reaches out.

I have had opportunities, and will have opportunities to speak the truth in love, but Grace speaks more loudly in more situations, and is more readily heard.  Grace speaks of Christ’s true nature in a way that allows others to see him in me.  Then I am able to speak Truth into their life without sounding judgmental.  People will be receptive to Truth if it comes from a heart of Grace and love.  In verse 14, and again in verse 17, Grace was mentioned before Truth.  I think there is a divinely inspired reason for this.

Jesus was the perfect balance of Grace and Truth.  I spent many years way over-balanced, speaking (OK I admit it, SHOUTING) truth at people.  As I have studied Jesus, I am learning to be more graceful.  Mark chapter ten records the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler, and lately verse 21 has been speaking to me, “Jesus looked at him, and loved him.”  Following that Jesus spoke truth into his life.  Because he loved him, he could.  What I am learning (slowly) is that I must first really love someone before I can speak truth into their life.  They won’t hear anything but a clanging gong or crashing symbol if I don’t love them.

Until then, grace will say much more with fewer words.

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