Grace & Truth In 2020

John, in his Gospel, tells us:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,

the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

The Message puts it, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.” Jesus came and pitched his tent amongst us. He came “full of grace and truth”. He revealed His glory and the glory of the Father by being full of grace and truth

One of Jesus’ frequently used expressions was, I tell you the TRUTH. Twenty six times He used it John’s Gospel when he was about to emphasise some particularly crucial teaching, principle or claim. These days when a politician says, “The truth of the matter is”, many people have a sceptical reaction - or is it just me! For the past twenty to thirty year at least the expression SPIN has been used to describe when a politician or an opponent puts an emphasis on the best or worst aspects of a situation. The whole truth is not acknowledged. But none of us totally innocent of this!

Jesus simply told it as it is, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging. BUT, He always did so with GRACE. 

Grace can humble anyone of us, but never humiliate. 

Grace does not gloss over uncomfortable truths in people’s lives, but in confronting them makes transformation possible. 

Grace enables meaningful discussion on important issues, without point scoring.

Grace and truth are fundamental to salvation, and confront us with the uncomfortable truth of sin and then the wonderful truth of forgiveness,

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8.

Grace and truth are qualities needed for life here and now in engaging with some of the key issues facing our nation and the world. Grace and truth do not stand aloof from these issues, but enable engagement that is constructive not destructive and has the potential to bring clarity and transformation.  It was these qualities that motivated and characterised great christian social reformers like Wilberforce and Shaftesbury. It was the grace and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ that transformed slave trader John Newton into an evangelist and pastor. 

As Christians we can so easily stand back from these issues and simply focus on our eternal destiny. But engagement is about seeing God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is heaven. Billy Graham wrote that our eternal hope:

“… does not mean we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought the most of the next.”  He then quotes C.S.Lewis. 

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you will get neither.”*

Grace and truth are about both there and then and the here and now.

Mike Stear 14th June 2020

* Hope For Each Day, Billy Graham, p184 © 2002 by Billy Graham; J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson.