About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Grace With Truth
speaking, grace and truth go hand in hand but keeping both in a Biblical
balance is sometimes a struggle. John
1:14 says that Jesus is full of grace and truth.
John 1:17 says that grace and truth came through Jesus.
I conclude that Jesus is the epitome of both grace and truth, and
therefore is our example of how to extend grace without violating truth.
All of who Jesus
was, is, and ever will be, establishes Him to be the epitome of
gracefulness. Despite our
sinful nature, His death was the decisive display of undeserved grace
directed to all of humanity. Asking
His father to forgive those who murdered Him, along with His interaction
with all kinds of undesirables, gives us a brief glimpse into His
gracefulness, but there is more.
The very essence of
Jesus is truth (John 14:6) and for that reason He could not violate the
truth of the gospel in the process of extending grace.
While showing grace to prostitutes He confronted their sin by
commanding them to stop sinning (John 8:11).
Unlike Jesus, the religious leaders of His day visited these
prostitutes for the obvious reason. Even
though Jesus gave His life for these hypocritical Pharisees He did not
hesitate to openly denounce them. They
were publically disgracing the God they claimed to serve and so Jesus
could not allow their sin to slide by the wayside without some kind of
The Apostle Paul
imitated Jesus in this respect. In
Philippians 3 we learn that he forsook the good life to graciously serve
those Jesus placed before him. That
being said, he had little tolerance for the public violation of the truth
of the gospel. He publically
confronted Peter for his hypocritical violation of the truth of the gospel
(Galatians 2:5). In an open
letter he condemned a Corinthian believer for his adultery (1 Corinthians
5). Such blatant public
displays of sin misrepresented the gospel of Christ and brought shame to
the Body of Christ. Paul could
not allow such public violations of truth to deface the gospel or the
The Apostle John
spoke to this issue but in a slightly different way.
He said that we must love in both action and truth (1 John 3:18).
In other words, in the process of love we cannot step beyond the
boundaries of Biblical truth. If
the truth of the gospel is ignored or compromised in the process of
extending love and grace we fail to exercise real love.
If sin needs to be publically recognized, love demands we
"speak the truth in love," something Paul said was part of the
maturing process of a Christian (Ephesians 4:15).
Knowing how to
balance grace and truth for the sake of the gospel and the purity of the
Body of Christ can be difficult to work through.
We often err to one extreme or the other.
Some of us clobber people with truth while others of us ignore the
truth thinking we are extending grace.
I've seen the faith of Christians damaged by both of these
Knowing when to
extend grace and when to gracefully confront violators of truth takes
prayer, Holy Spirit led wisdom and the input of trusted brothers and
sisters in Jesus. There is a
Biblical balance between grace and truth.
Lord Jesus, for the sake of your gospel and the purity of the
church, help us find this balance.