Grace and Truth
About three years ago, I did a series of messages in the country of Mexico about grace. It was at a time which much was being said about grace. Some of what was being taught used grace as a license to live as you want with no consequences. It led some believers back into the bondage of sin. One thing that we must remember is that grace does not operate when it is separated from truth.
God’s Word, Jesus Christ, who is the exact representation of the glory or presence of God, was given to us in grace and truth. John wrote about this in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Look at what he says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NASB95) and again in verse 17, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” John is telling us that Jesus was full of grace and truth.
Grace and truth always need to work together. They are two different things, but they work in accordance with each other. Let us first look at what grace is. The Greek word for grace is charis. This word means God’s kindness. God gave us His kindness in Jesus. Everything that we have received from God is because of His kindness. The spiritual gifts (the Greek word is charisma) are given to us because of God’s kindness. Some have said that grace is the unmerited favor of God.
Jesus Christ came to earth as God in the flesh because of God’s grace gift to mankind. This grace gift empowers us to live and operate in this world. Paul wrote to Titus and told him, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:11–12 NASB95) Grace instructs us not to sin. The grace of God contains not only the forgiveness of God but also the instruction so that we can live holy lives.
I am not meaning to demean grace. It is essential in our lives, but grace needs to be applied in truth. People love grace and so do I. Jesus did not say in John 8:32 that grace sets us free. Jesus said in verse 31 and 32, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Everyone likes grace, but for a believer we need to realize that grace comes with truth. They are inseparable.
In the times we live in truth is under attack. We hear things like there is no such thing as absolute truth. We live in a world in which truth is conditional. It is not absolute. It is relative to situations and environments. Many have received this idea and have consequently tried to live their lives by grace alone.
The context of John 8 is set in the temple. The Pharisees had brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. There were other people around watching this take place. The Pharisees wanted to stone this woman. They were really operating in situational ethics. After Jesus tells the woman to go and sin no more, He begins to teach. First, He teaches that He is the light of the world. Then He makes this statement that truth makes a person free. The truth that Jesus is talking about is an absolute truth that is not conditioned by a situation. Notice in this setting we see the kindness or grace of God, but we also see the power of truth. Jesus is addressing the Jews that believed in Him. He is telling them that truth is needed for freedom.
That is the way it is in our lives. God’s grace is extended to all of us. It is a gift of God’s kindness, but it must be applied with truth. The truth in that situation was the woman was guilty of sin. The truth is she deserved judgement. She and her companion, whoever it was, deserved death according to the law. This woman offered no resistance to the accusations. She had no excuses. She stood before Jesus in truth. She was guilty!
For us to experience complete salvation we must come to God knowing that He has grace but also confessing we are guilty. That is the way truth works. For us to come into a relationship with God we must first admit that we are guilty, and we have sinned. We come to Him in truth, not bringing our excuses. We come to Him in truth admitting our need for Him to save us. We come to Him and then He comes to us with the gift of His grace. Then the truth sets us free. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we come to the Father and admit or agree that what we have done is sin, then His grace is released, and we experience the freedom of forgiveness and cleansing.
We need to understand that grace and truth work together. We will not experience the freedom from sin unless we come to Him in truth and grace.