Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Living by Grace and Truth

Life is messy. How do we navigate through the issues, dilemmas, decisions and heartaches we face in this troubled world? I believe the short answer is, "We press on by grace and truth." The Apostle John introduced his Gospel, his witness to the claims of Christ, with this statement, "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) Years before John, one of the sons of Korah wrote, "Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other." (Psalm 85:10) As Christ-followers we are called to see life through the lense of God's grace and at the same time walk in the truth God has given through His word. This does not mean we will be freed from excruciating decisions and experiences, but it does mean that we will not be left in the dark for God has promised to give to us grace and truth for our every need.

We see a perfect demonstration of this when we follow Jesus through the Gospels. Time after time, we see His grace on display in the throes of messy situations. In Matthew 9 alone, we catch a glimpse of the demands of His ministry:
*v. 2-7--- a paralytic is healed and He forgives the man's sins.
*v. 10-12--- Jesus eats with sinners
*v. 18-26--- Jesus was approached by a synagogue leader.
*v. 20-22---Jesus was approached by a woman who touched the hem of His garment.
*v. 27-30--- Two blind men came to him and were healed.
*v. 32--- Demon possessed man was delivered.

What a grace-filled day! Matthew provides a summary at the close of the chapter, "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:35,36)

Jesus Christ was and is full of grace. He is also full of truth. How important that we not ignore truth in our pursuit of grace. Jesus who bestows grace so freely also said that God must be worshipped in "spirit and truth." (John 4:24). He told the Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31,32) In His prayer on the night of His arrest, Jesus prayed to the Father, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." (John 17:17)

Randy Alcorn's comments are helpful, "Grace isn’t about God lowering His standards. It’s about God fulfilling those standards through the substitutionary suffering of the standard-setter. Christ went to the cross because He would not ignore the truths of His holiness and our sin. Grace never ignores or violates truth. Grace gave what truth demanded: the ultimate sacrifice for our sins."

In a world that is graceless. In a world that treats objective truth as a wax nose. God has called us to live by grace and by truth. This is a great comfort when life is hard.



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