Thursday, May 4, 2017

but I am just telling you the truth...

What is the way of Christ? What does it primarily consist of? For many it is the only true way as well as the way of truth. And this would be correct. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth and the life…" However is this way only about truth? 

What about grace? Isn't the way of Christ also the way of grace; the good news/gospel way? It is. 

So which is it? The way of truth or the way of grace? It is both

What is interesting is the Bible mentions both of these as vital to who Christ is, but in a particular order. It says Christ came full of grace and truth. Notice grace comes first. 

Joh 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And if you go down two more verses we see this: 

Joh 1:16  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 

It is also worth noting that this passage is dealing with God incarnate i.e. God himself (the Word was God Jn1:1) revealing who he is in and through Christ.

Why does God the Father describe Christ in this manner i.e. Grace before truth? Is this deliberate? Does it matter?

I propose that the order and emphasis (3 mentions of grace to 1 of truth) isn't incidental. Not only because it is the emphasis and order given but also because we are unable to hear and receive the truth unless we think it is coming from someone we are persuaded loves us first. The old saying, "I don't care about what you know until I know that you care" comes to mind. 

We are not able to hear, see or experience the love of God in our broken state without grace first. God's love is offered, experienced and entered into on the merits of anothers efforts (i.e. by grace), not ours. If our experiencing his love was based on our efforts, we would never experience it. We can never do enough to merit his love. Christ also died for us long before any of us accepted or experienced it. We only trust the words of Christ to be true when we come to believe and receive this unmerited love of God first.

To illustrate, think of someone, a total stranger, being brutally honest about a characteristic of yours that is not very flattering. Let's say you had bad breath or seriously needed a shower and they told you. How would you respond to their speaking the truth? Would you receive it well even if it was 100% true? Truth is important after all. Unless your identity was strongly rooted in God's love for you and you had Rhino skin (actually more of a grounded heart then a strong exterior), probably not. 

Now what if someone also spoke the truth, who had proven their love and faithfulness to you in thick and thin. They have stuck with you no matter what you were going through and they shared the same truth (i.e. you were confident in their love because of a past incredibly huge sacrificial act that resulted in their losing everything for your sake)? Would your response be different?

I propose that many within the church that are quick to go for the jugular with the truth and always try to convince others that they have, believe and are promoters of the truth etc OR they always seek to show others how, when and where they are in error, is because they personally have not experienced the grace of God a great deal (if at all). There view of God is not of one who is loving but one who requires perfect performance and is disappointed in them when they don't perform well. 

The desire to correct others can come more from our own personal insecurity than from a desire to defend the truth or God's honor. 

We must always be sure we are speaking the truth. The truth must never be compromised. But in order for others to hear that truth, it is up to us to also sow those seeds of love and trust into hearts so they might receive it. How do we do so? By only preaching the truth to them? No, by first loving them as Christ loves us i.e. sacrificially with mercy and grace. 

For a further discussion of how we are to approach others click here

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Grace to you
Jim Deal