I might buy anything of value that I find in a second-hand store (except maybe a toothbrush)
I was recently sifting through the discards amidst the musty mess when I found the bottom-half of a music stand. It was priced at $1.99. I was interested, but it was only half of the item, so I let it be. A minute later I found the upper half, but I was surprised to see that it was priced at $3.99.
They obviously belonged with each other, so I took them to the cashier and asked her which price she would ask? She told me they had to be sold separately. The total was $5.98.
Surely, she was confused. I explained that I was a musician and had vast experience with music stands and I have always found that the top without the bottom was useless and vice versa. They needed to be sold as one.
Well, I guess she thought it was Custer’s last (music) stand, cause she wouldn’t budge. So, I passed.
One without the other doesn’t work! This is also true of grace and truth.
Truth refers to the objective standard of behavior to which God calls all people. Grace refers to the help that God gives to enable us to meet that standard.
He has always been a God of both. Think back to the top of mount Sinai where Moses heard these words, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” – Exodus 34:6- KJV
Here the words “gracious” and “truth” are descriptive of God.
Of course, it was at Sinai that God gave us the Ten Commandments to guide our hearts and deeds. But people back then found it difficult to live by the Law. In their frustration they assumed that God was full of heartless and hopeless demands.
The Pharisees of the first century, exaggerated this misunderstanding. They presented a God that nobody liked, and everyone feared.
But then Jesus came along. John 1:14 says, “Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth…” NET Bible ®
The Son of God took on flesh to correct those misperceptions. Grace and truth were packaged in Him and found in perfect balance.
Think back to that day in the temple when Jesus looked upon the woman caught in adultery. (John 8) He invited her critics to stone her, at least the ones who were without sin. That was the true consequence of adultery. But her accusers all walked away leaving the woman unscathed, and to her Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” That was His grace.
Only Jesus could condemn sin based on truth, and then pay the penalty of that sin Himself out of His grace.
Without truth, we have no way of understanding what God expects of us. Without His grace we have no way of meeting His expectations.
A world of grace without truth – would be a meaningless mush – permissive chaos and a ticket to hell. A world of truth without grace would be unforgiving and hostile and repulsive.
Some of us are all about truth at the expense of grace. We use truth to steamroll those that disagree with us and to control and often exacerbate our kids. We use it as a tool with which to judge and condemn others.
Some of us are all about grace at the expense of truth. We tend to be accommodating people pleasers. We easily compromise because it doesn’t matter to us. We might use grace as an excuse to allow our kids to go undisciplined.
Some things like grace and truth have got to be packaged together. And don’t let the cashier at the thrift store tell you any different.
A PRAYER: Jesus, help me to mirror the balance of grace and truth that you have
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.