Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The Bible says that Jesus is full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14). I have found the grace and truth balance to be of utmost importance in all of my ministry and relational interactions. Grace is foundational for someone to know they are loved and accepted, no matter what. And truth is essential for living according to God’s will.
Truth is the guardrail at the top of the cliff, and grace is the paramedic down below should we fall.
Jesus embodied grace and truth in the most perfect way. His handling of the woman caught in adultery provides the model. He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you” (GRACE) … “go and sin no more” (TRUTH). He did not condone her adultery, but He also did not reject her as a sinner. He did exactly what Eph. 4:15 tells us: “Speak the truth in love.” Oh that I might display truth and grace in all my relationships.
Now sometimes, like Jesus, we need to lean more toward truth, as He did with the hard-hearted, hypocritical Pharisees. While other times He leaned toward grace, as with repentant sinners.
The story of the Prodigal sons (yes intentional plural here) reveals both truth and grace. The younger son was repentant and thus received grace. The old brother was self righteous and unable to receive His brother and thus got more convicting truth from his father.
What determines whether God leans toward us with more truth or grace is our HEART. The heart that is repentant to sin and responsive to truth gets grace! The heart that is prideful and self-sufficient might need a good dose of convicting truth. In the same way, we should seek to minister to others based on their heart. But the bottom line with all of this is that Jesus wants to come with both grace and truth, and therefore, we should bring both to bear in our relationships.
My final encouragement is to use the “Oreo” cookie as your model. The two outside parts represent grace and the inside filling is truth. Start with grace by loving and accepting all people, regardless of their lifestyle or sin. Once you take this part off, then you are ready to minister the truth, even if it involves confronting them about sin in their life. If they receive the truth, which will set them free according to Jn. 8:32, then more grace comes because repentance of sin brings about the unleashing of God’s amazing grace!
Grace and truth: what a divine marriage!