As you think about Jesus, what two words would you use to describe Him? What if the character of Christ was reducible to two ingredients? John 1:14 says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Could it be that “being like Christ” can be summarized in these two words? He was “full of grace and truth,” not 50/50, 60/40, 80/20, but 100/100. What would it be like if Jesus was full of grace and no truth? Or full of truth and no grace?
In the gospels we see Jesus living out this grace and truth in His ministry. He is both Lion and Lamb. Some were drawn to Him and repelled by Him because of His characteristics of grace and truth. If we offend EVERYBODY it is probably because we speak truth without grace. Have you known people like that? When we offend NOBODY it to probably because we are watering down truth for grace. We need both. We need 100% of both.
I do not play a guitar, but I am aware that if the strings are loose the guitar sounds awful. It the strings are too tight they can break or cause discord. The same with grace and truth; the “music” of the gospel message is when there is perfect tension between both.
One of the biggest complaints about Christianity is that it is a bunch of rules [do’s and don’ts]. Yet Christianity is not about what we should avoid, but about who we should embrace. If we talk about do’s and don’ts more than Jesus our view of truth is out of whack.
Truth is like a guardrail that protects us from plunging off a cliff. I remember the curvy roads as we drove through Rwanda. There were no rails on these steep jungle cliffs. We even saw a few places where people drove over. We had a lot of faith in our speedy driver. A smart driver doesn’t complain about the guardrails because they protect. The guardrails of Gods Truth are not to punish, but to protect.
It is not arrogant to believe that Jesus is the Truth [John 14:6]. It would be arrogant if we had come up with it, but we didn’t. we’re just repeating what Jesus said. It’s not arrogant to repeat what the Bible teaches. Arrogance is when we try to tailor truth to our preferences.
You may not be the most popular person for it, but be a person of truth. Tell people about Jesus and His teachings. The best way is to live it.
The song Amazing Grace was written by John Newton. Before he wrote the song he was a captain of a passenger ship. The ships passengers were slaves. He would acquire his slaves from Africa and transport them to America were the slaves were sold like animals at the State Fair Auctions. Radically God changed his life. He went from abusing slaves to pastoring and opposing the slave trade.
Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.
When John Newton was 82 and near death he said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” That is Truth mixed with Grace. Grace is no excuse to sin. Grace reminds us of what our sin has freed us from. It empowers us to say no to sin and hello to Christ.
I am a wretched sinner. I’m not so good after all. I do not deserve God’s love and forgiveness. I deserve much worse. God’s grace is amazing when I realize who I am and who God is. Without Truth we lack conviction [No truth = no need for salvation]. Without Grace we lack compassion [No grace = no hope for salvation]. What we need are people of truth and grace.