Grace and Truth. Like the old song said, “You can’t have one without the other!” More importantly, it’s what the Apostle John said about Jesus: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.14 ESV – emphasis mine).
For some reason, Christianity seems to be divided over the combination of these two terms. On the one side are those who are all in when it comes to grace. They love to quote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2.8 ESV). And that’s certainly what grace is, the extension of God’s love to a totally undeserving world. Without grace none of us have a hope of being saved. According to John 1.14, because Jesus was born into this world we all can have hope; we are given in him a vision of the fullness of God’s grace. Praise God for His gift of grace!!
But on the other side are those who are all in when it comes to truth. They love to quote “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” and “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 8.32; 17.17 ESV). The emphasis on this side is for all of us to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2.15 ESV). Praise God for his word of truth!!
What did people see in Jesus when he lived among them? What did he reveal about God the Father? John 1.14 says he revealed both the fullness of grace and truth! Not one or the other. Grace and truth are compatible in Jesus. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1.17). He didn’t come to polarize his followers like what we see so much of today. Instead, he prayed for unity among his followers, and through this unity to proclaim the balance of grace (God’s gift) and truth (God’s word) to the world, so they could also see and experience the love of Jesus and the Father (John 17.20-23). What we see in Jesus is that both grace and truth are necessary to draw us into the heart and presence of God. We are instructed by God through the writings of Paul to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all ...” (Ephesians 4.3-6 ESV).Grace and truth are not enemies unless we take our eyes off of Jesus. Jesus became flesh so that we would see in him the fullness of grace and truth!