Jesus – Grace and Truth

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In the last post about Bible classes on grace, Charlie (who is a good friend of mine) astutely observed that Jesus is never recorded using that word in the Gospels. That is an interesting observation and one that I haven’t ever noticed before. He certainly embodied it in the way he lived his life and in his ministry. When John described the results of his ministry he mentioned two things – grace and truth (John 1:17). Some times we do a better job of upholding the second but not the first. But the reality is you can’t have one without the other. The truth about who Jesus is and what he came to do should lead us to grace and his grace should open us up to the truth.

What is also interesting to me is that, even though we don’t have Jesus recorded using the word “grace”, the apostles who followed him (Peter, Paul, John and the rest) had much to say about grace as a result of their experience with and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

0 Responses

  1. matt (and charlie), that’s an incredibly interesting little fact i never knew — Jesus never using the word grace. thanks for it.

    and, matt, i appreciate what you’ve offered concerning the interplay between grace and truth. from my readings this past week on the incarnation, i wrote on the same subject (full of grace and truth), and it struck me that we have a strong tendency to choose one extreme and claim Jesus chose it as well.

    but it’s almost always the case that Jesus either existed in both of those extremes, or more likely that what we see as opposites indeed go hand and hand.

  2. Perhaps we confuse ourselves by thinking of grace as “being loving” and truth as “teaching”. Maybe we could think of both grace and truth as manifestations of love; truth being love declared and grace being love demonstrated.

    “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples….” implies an impartation of truth, that is, “knowledge”.

    “…that you have love for one another” speaks of a personal interaction of graciousness.

    So, to my thinking, we avoid any accusation of using benevolence as a hook for evangelism when we clearly declare God’s love through our giving, which the recipients of benevolence simply can’t deny.

    Conversely, if a church or a person thinks itself to abound in truth (which, let’s face it, every church does), but doesn’t tangibly abound in grace, it’s obvious even to the lost that such a place doesn’t really have the truth at all. “If I can speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love…” And that grace can’t be faked. You can’t come to a church like that and decide that it should just do more grace so people won’t reject the truth. If the truth you think you have doesn’t generate graciousness naturally, then it is simply not God’s truth. Instead, it is exactly what many of the lost claim the church is: a holy club for hypocrites.

    Chillingly, I suspect God would agree.

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