Thursday, July 8, 2010
The grace and truth paradox
There is a great little book with the above title by Randy Alcorn. The book is based on a passage in John where Jesus is described as being "full of grace and truth (John 1:14)."
I was reminded of this passage while attending a meeting of Christian leaders in the community recently. One of the statements from a prominent Christian leader was that we need to accommodate individuals at the expense of truth. Now this is not exactly what was said, but it was implied. One of the great tragedies today occurs when Christians or the Church is willing to water down truth. In reality, this happens when the world has crept into our thought process. In these cases, truth is thrown out in favor of only grace. So many issues that the Church faces revolves around this very point (homosexual marriage, abortion). The cry of tolerance is promoted and truth is trampled upon.
On the opposite side of the coin is when the Christian or Church is so bent on the truth side, that the grace of God is disparaged. When this happens you find a legalistic mindset. Legalism is what Jesus addresses so much during His life here on earth (Matthew 23:4). Legalism is the number one problem with the Church's bad reputation in the United States. Legalism makes the Church look arrogant and judgmental. Truth is important, but without grace it will have no effect on a lost world.
What is needed is both truth and grace. Jesus was full of grace and truth, not balanced between the two, but full of both. If Christians want to be taken seriously, then truth has to be defended and grace needs to be extended. Truth and grace when fully implemented promotes the message of Jesus to a world that so desperately needs Him.