Thursday, July 9, 2015

Truth and Grace

I just saw my siblings last weekend. We don’t all get together much. Our lives are lived in Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska. I’m the youngest of the group. We grew up in a crowded farmhouse with one bathroom and no shower. There always seemed to be more than enough room—but we would occasionally bump into each other once in a while—literally and figuratively.

The best trails to take are the toughest trails.
They are the most rewarding.

It still isn’t always easy. Calendaring can be a problem for us. My schedule doesn’t help any. We have all changed in the past few decades: what we believe, what we emphasize, what we practice. But we are siblings. Nothing quite like a brother or a sister. We are companions. We make each other better. Always have. Always will.

Grace has a brother—his name is Truth. They don’t always get along. But they need each other and make each other better. 

Paul paints a beautiful picture of Grace. She is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), we are saved by her (Ephesians 2:8), and she is greater than our sin (Romans 5:20). Grace isn’t a theological concept for people like me to discuss and debate. Grace is a person. Jesus is sufficient, Jesus saves, and Jesus is greater than our sins. Jesus is Grace. 

Jesus said Truth will set us free (John 8:32). Jesus also makes it clear: He is the Truth (John 14:6). Truth is not an ethical imperative nor is it an ethical argument. Truth, like Grace, is a person. The same person. 

Truth without Grace can be dogmatic and incompassionate. 
Grace without Truth can be enabling and vague. 

Truth and Grace walking hand in hand is rare these days, but when it happens it is as beautiful as beautiful gets. Jesus was Truth and Grace: simultaneously caring and courageous; bold and benevolent; empathetic and prophetic. 

He gave Truth and Grace to Pharisees and the Sadducees. He gave Truth and Grace to his twelve disciples. He gave Truth and Grace to sinners of all varieties. Truth and Grace is who He is and therefore Truth and Grace is what He did. 

We are a large church and a theologically, sociologically, and politically diverse church. I wouldn’t have it any other way because the Kingdom of Heaven—according to the beliefs, words, and actions of the One who fully embodied Grace and Truth—is much more diverse than any church any of us could ever dream of. 

Walking down the road of life with both Truth and Grace isn’t easy and Jesus makes no implication otherwise. There will be some bumps along the road, for sure. But we are companions and we make each other better. On our journey with Truth and Grace, we will pick-up things like freedom, sufficiency, forgiveness, and salvation. It seems to be a journey worth taking. 

The best is yet to come… 


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