One of the most famous verses in the Gospel of John says this about Jesus, “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). John tells us that in beholding Jesus you can’t miss both grace and truth. It isn’t either/or. They aren’t mutually exclusive. There are times I get into theological discussions with people and as soon as you mention grace they assume you don’t care about the truth. Biblically speaking grace and truth have to be held together in order for things to work out. Graceless truth often results in arrogance and disdain for those who have come to other conclusions. Truthless grace becomes a free-for-all for sin as we forget exactly where the grace comes, its cost and the love that produces it…new every morning.
Grace and truth are not doctrines that are easily explained logically. They can’t easily be broken down into nice, tidy theological packages. Grace and truth are understood much better when they are demonstrated…when they are framed in the context of God’s intervention in the world that we find in the biblical narrative. In seeing these two things lived out at the same time, we get the essence of who Jesus was and who He expects us to be. So let us be people of grace, who hold out hope for those who make mistakes (starting with ourselves). And let us be people who care about the truth…seeking right doctrine, caring that our practices are in line with scripture and yet not so heartless that we miss the very core of the Gospel as lived out in the man, Jesus Christ. We can care about truth while holding out grace because the two have to go together.
People will only understand it if we live it.