Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…

Are You Unbalanced?

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As you know my Blog is called “Grace and Truth”.  The reason I called the blog this name is because God sovereignly told  me to.  He told me to start it, confirmed it with His Word (in Acts 5:20), and then told me what to call it – grace and truth.

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

I find it an interesting observation though that even though grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, we, as His followers, tend to run with either one extreme or the other – that is:

  • Extreme grace – leading to both “greasy grace”, (or lawlessness) and also a lack of discernment of truth; or
  • Extreme truth – leading to hard-heartedness and legalism

Both of these extremes are wrong.  To run with a zealousness for truth, without love is just as wrong as disregarding truth for the sake of grace, mercy or love. But how easily we fall into one or the other!

scales

CH Spurgeon said: “…It is very easy, brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another.  It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned….Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.”

I have seen both of these extremes in Christians (and yes, that includes myself).  I will give you an example of how I have seen both of these Christian virtues in fact become a vice.

Truth with no Grace:       I am a street-preacher and love other street-preachers, but I have seen something that is a grievance to God.  It is when a preacher brings forth the hard truths of the Word of God from a heart that has not been broken for the sins of the people.  Preaching the truth about hell, sin, judgment and the Law will only be graced by the  Spirit of God when the Holy Spirit has utterly broken that preacher’s heart with compassion and mercy for the people before whom he/she stands.  You see, it comes down to responsibility.  As a preacher, once you enter into intercession for the people, you are taking responsibility for them, for their souls.  And it is impossible to stand before them without compassion and mercy once you have taken responsibility for their souls.  God will only bless those with His authority whom are willing to take responsibility for others. Authority and responsibility always go together (see Isaiah 53:10-12).  We must “speak the truth in love.” It is amazing that when we speak the truth in love, the real love of intercession, people will listen and respond to it.  So we see that the truth needs to be graced by His Spirit.

girl praying

Grace at the expense of Truth: I had been praying for a friend of mine whom was not a believer for two years.  I had interceded for her regularly and asked God for an opportunity to share the Gospel with her, which praise God, He did.  As soon as we began our conversation another Christian joined us and listened in.  My friend and I had a wonderful, Spirit-led conversation where I was able to share the gospel with her.  I was able to share everything with her, the Law, God’s judgment on sin, hell, and then of course the wonderful Gospel of grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, forgiveness, heaven and redemption.  I was so thrilled that the truth had been shared and that she had responded well.  However as soon as she had left, the other Christian reprimanded me for talking about sin, hell and judgment saying that all that I needed to talk about was the love of God.  And…I guess I could have, God is love, but really, it wouldn’t have been the whole truth….  Unfortunately there are hard truths in the Bible and, if we are wanting to be truly honest before God, they are unavoidable.  But the good news is, the hard truths are there for a reason… Paul says in Galations 3:24 that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”.  The Law is there to expose sin and so to bring us to the knowledge of our sin and of our need of a Saviour.  It is by the  truth of the Law and God’s judgment of sin that we are led to Grace and justification by faith.

Notice how John describes Jesus:

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

Jesus2

Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, through whom came grace and truth.  The divine mystery of Jesus, the Word made flesh, God incarnate in human flesh, can be difficult for our human minds to comprehend. But, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t come down to some sort of a mathematical equation.  A couple of points to note:

  • Jesus is both fully God and fully man at the same time, not 50% God and 50% man
  • By the same token, Jesus is also concurrently full of grace and full of truth.
  • Jesus is not half Law and half grace (and neither are we)

He came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.  And it was because He fulfilled God’s law perfectly and never sinned, that He was full of grace and love.  Yet it was also because He is full of grace that He could fulfill the Law perfectly.  Why? because “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

“And the Word became 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 (emphasis mine).

anointing oil

And so we see that our Lord is the perfectly balanced One.  Just as the anointing oil of Exodus 30 was perfectly blended, mixed and mingled, with this much of myrrh and so much of cinnamon and that much of cassia etc, so it is with Jesus Christ.  So perfect in truth and grace.  Not leaning too much towards one or the other, never ceasing to be holy in order to be loving, always merciful and kind to sinners.  Nowhere do we see this better demonstrated than in His cross.

In the cross, God maintained the truth of His holiness and righteous anger towards sin, when His wrath was poured out on His Son, because of His grace, because He so loved the world.  Both truth and grace in the cross of our Lord and in His very person.

So why do we get it so wrong?  And what can we do about it?

There is only one way.  We need to remember that it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27):

  • Our only hope is to be so FULL of Him, of His Life, that He will simply live His life of grace and truth through us.

So:

  • We need to re-submit ourselves to God in a fresh consecration.  To offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
  • We need to confess any un-confessed sins to Him
  • We need to ask Him to re-fill us with His Spirit.
  • We need to be led in obedience by the Spirit of God in our day-to-day lives, small and big things.

 

“There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune.  There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.

So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts.” (CH Spurgeon)

May God bless us all with an outpouring of His Life in this New Year!

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Author: GraceandTruth

bringing the gospel to life

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