Full of Grace & Truth
I woke this morning with the words spoken of Jesus in John 1 on my mind: ‘full of grace and truth.’
I’m not quite sure why they were more or less the first thing I thought of: maybe I’ll find out as the day goes on. Or perhaps it’s just a timely reminder for myself (and you?) that as followers of Jesus seeking to model our lives on Him, that grace and truth go together – they are not opposites seeking to outdo the other. And yet I think that this is sometimes the way that they are viewed: so we have Christians and churches that may be seen as places in which the truth is unswervingly lived out and preached and which at times seem to lack grace; and then we have others where grace seems to be the overriding message – but grace that seems more likely to gloss over truth in an attempt to make sure that people feel loved.
In Ephesians 4 we are reminded that part of growing up to be like Jesus is to speak the truth in love. I was preparing a talk one time (I remember exactly where I was it had such an impact on me) and was reading a commentary by John Stott, in which he said (and I paraphrase – and apologise if I’ve totally butchered the great man’s intent!): ‘that truth without love and love without truth are opposite yet equal errors.’ I think the point that Stott was making was that neither is better than the other – even when, depending on ones perspective, we might be tempted to think that it is.
And I think that that is what we see in Jesus: truth is not neglected for the sake of grace; nor is grace neglected for the sake of truth. They are held together in perfect harmony. And Jesus had perfect and complete love for everyone – whether they realised it or not.
As I say, I’m not quite sure why these words burst into my head – but they did. I know that I need them; because they are words truly seen only in Jesus and it is like Him that I want to become. So I offer them to you with nothing of how you might need to apply them, but just a prayer that, like me, you will hear their challenge and seek to grow from it…