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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Grace and Truth -- New Way -- John 1:14,17

Grace and truth came together perfectly in Jesus Christ.  John wrote that Jesus was “the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” v14   In other words, Jesus is the fullness of grace and truth.   He is the fullness of God’s love and favor (grace) and the fullness of the Word of God (Truth), “and of His fullness, we receive grace for grace.”  v16  The glory of Jesus and His character is that He is full of grace and truth.  We receive from His fullness.  Jesus is the perfect balance of grace and truth.  He is all truth and gives the favor of God unendingly.  
What is grace? The Blue Letter Bible defines it as the “merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence  upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens and increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”  It is not by our own accord that we come to Christ, nor is it by our own strength and ability that we grow in grace and become spiritually mature.  It is by God’s grace. Our spiritual condition is due to the power of Divine grace, but we must cooperate with Him and be willing to let Him grow us in His grace, love and truth.  We must co-labor with God in the perfecting process.  The Law made nothing perfect, but we have a better hope because Jesus and the Holy Spirit do the perfecting.  The high calling of Christ is to take us out of the darkness of our sinful nature into His marvelous Light, glory and beauty.
"Grace for grace."  We are in need of continual grace because we have the weakness of the flesh.  Our flesh profits nothing and can do nothing to earn God’s love.  His love is given because of who He is, not by what we do. Grace demonstrates to us the love, mercy, favor, forgiveness and loving-kindness of the Lord, but it also reveals His power that transforms our lives into the likeness of Christ.  We will spend a lifetime coming to Christ because He is all that we are not!  “In Him, the fullness of the Godhead lives.”  
  Jesus not only was the fullness of grace and truth, He had the fullness of the Holy Spirit because He was without sin.  Grace, truth and the Holy Spirit are the means by which sin is removed from our lives.  Grace is not a license to sin.  Paul dealt with this false teaching in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means.  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”  A believer in Christ is transported from sin’s realm to another higher realm in Christ.  One of the purposes of grace is to bring us to a higher spiritual place by becoming like Christ.  If we eliminate the truth from grace, we open ourselves up to deceptive influences.  If the devil can lure us into false truth and sin, grace cannot do its work.  The devil is well aware of this!  And, if we eliminate grace from truth, the truth becomes hard and severe and doesn’t reflect the heart of God.  Grace and Truth must be balanced as it is in Christ Jesus.
         The Bible says that we gain access to grace through our faith in Jesus Christ.  (see Romans 5:2)  We are also justified through faith in Jesus, which gives us peace.  (see Romans 5:1)  
When we sin, we don’t break the Law, we break God’s heart.  We sin against LOVE because God is love and Jesus tells us to love one another.  So, we sin against LOVE when we sin against another.  
Humans can be strong on grace and weak on truth and vice versa.  When preachers or teachers focus on grace and not so much on Truth, they are imbalanced and their flock will be imbalanced. Randy Alcove said in His book “Grace and Truth” that we can love studying the Word but be weak on grace by being quick to judge and slow to forgive.  On the other hand, we can love God’s grace and forgiveness yet be weak on truth which will sustain us and put up boundaries.  We need to balance both grace and truth as Jesus did. Grace is truth and truth is grace. The Truth (Anointed Word) plants and increases grace into the hearts of humans.  Jesus is the giver of God’s grace and the fulfillment of all Truth.  “All the promises of God are yea and amen in Him.”   
Grace and Truth came to destroy the works of the devil.  Jesus left His place of glory and blessedness with the Father in heaven and voluntarily underwent the hardships and miseries of sinful man, even though He was without sin. He felt what we feel.  He suffered and died on the cross to secure salvation for mankind.  Jesus wasn’t thinking of Himself when He did this.  He willingly laid down His life on the cross of suffering to save us and show us the extent of the Father’s love for humanity. It was Grace and Truth -- Jesus -- who brought salvation to all. Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  God is holy so He must punish sin. In His undying love for lost and sinful humanity, God sent His Son to take the punishment for us.  Jesus paid our debt, but the Bible says that we have the debt to love one another as He loved us.
When we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we receive God's grace and His Truth through Jesus.  The power of the Holy Spirit was given by Grace and Truth -- Jesus-- to transform us and help us reach our call and destiny.  Jesus said, “I am the Truth.”  John 14:6  He is the embodiment of all truth.  All that Jesus says is truth, but even more importantly, He is the Truth, just as God is love.  All that is true is in Christ. His truth sets us free from deception, and His grace gives us the power to become like Him and all that He knew we would be through His grace and truth.  
There is no conflict between grace and truth. They work together as Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit work together in agreement.  The fullness of grace and truth will equip each one of us to be what He has called us to be. Titus 2:12-15:  It (grace) teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  These, then, are the things you should teach.
Thank you Lord for your love, power, grace and truth.  Thank you Jesus.


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