Rector’s Blog: 19 August 2021
Dear HTC Family and friends,
One of the most debated and most misunderstood relationship in the Christian faith, is the relationship between ‘grace’ and ‘truth’. The reason for this would seem to be the pressure that society is placing on Christians to adapt and adjust our principles, views, values and practices to whatever is trending in society. In effect, society is putting pressure on the church and believers to conform to its ways.
At the heart of modern society is the tenants of permissiveness and relativity. Modern society frowns on absolute truth and certainly puts pressure on the Church and all believers to adjust truth to line up with ‘grace’ and ‘love’. In other words, we are encouraged to adjust the truth we know, for the sake of grace and love. Compromise and “watered-down truth” would seem to be the way that modern society is leaning towards.
For Biblical Christians, this goes against what the Bible teaches about ‘grace’ and ‘truth’. The Bible tells us that Jesus ‘came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). John also testifies further: ‘for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ (John 1:17). Jesus is always about ‘grace’ and ‘truth’. He spoke the truth in love, and He loved in truth. ‘Grace’ and ‘truth’ uphold one another in Christ and are certainly not in conflict with one another. ‘Grace’ is certainly not blanket permissiveness- it is indeed a constant expression of the undeserved kindness of God towards us sinners: ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9). ‘Truth’ can never be relative – it is indeed definitive and absolute: Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me.’ (John 14:6)
The gospel message gloriously brings together ‘grace and ‘truth’ in Christ. The good news of Jesus – the gospel message – is ‘grace-filled truth’. The gospel message reminds us that we are all sinners (Rom 3:23), and that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), but that God loved us so much (John 3:16), that He paid the price for us our sin and opened the way up for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ (John 14:6/ 2 Corinthians 5:18-21). We can be saved and forgiven because of the incredible grace shown to us in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9/ Romans 6:23). It was ‘grace-filled truth’ that took Jesus to the cross for us… the truth of our fallen humanity and the consequence of sin which needed to be paid for on the cross, and the love and grace which moved God in Christ to go to the cross for us sinners. In the cross He dealt with sin and showed His love for us.
When we compromise and alter the truth of Christ and His Word, for the sake of ‘love’ and ‘grace’, we make cheap the message of the cross. We honor Jesus and His gospel message when we continue to hold to the absolute truth of the Bible, with the infinite love of Christ. We must accept and welcome everyone within the great love of Christ, but that doesn’t mean we must condone and permit what is contrary to the Word of God. We must continue, like our master, Jesus Christ to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) without judging and with the humility of Christ.
‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 3:23-24). When I respond to this amazing gospel message of ‘grace- filled truth’ and know my place as a sinner saved by grace, I cannot but appreciate and hold dear the ‘grace’ and the ‘truth’ that came through Jesus Christ. Not one more than the other, not one before the other- BUT ‘grace-filled truth’ all the time and in every way.
Let’s not let society dictate to us, but let’s influence society with the ‘grace-filled message’ that we live and share.
Bless you all