Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grace, With Or Without Truth, Leads To Love

Truth without grace crushes people and ceases to be truth.
Grace without truth deceives people and ceases to be grace.
"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)
(from The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn)

This is the 2nd time I've posted this blog. 

The first time, I received some push back that I wanted to prayerfully consider before putting this back out there and I've decided that I completely believe what you're about to read and I hope I'm not misunderstood.

 Whether we're talking about extending grace to unchurched outsiders, family in Christ, or ourselves, the love, acceptance, grace and mercy that God has offered to us through His Son Christ Jesus should be what is felt most from us. 
"Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, 
just as I had mercy on you?" Matthew 18:33

"When do we get to preach and proclaim truth? When people are following us!!! Until they are following, the model of Christ is to win their favor, win their hearts, and the rest will follow suit." 

"I needed a daily reminder of the cross. And within the cross is the balance of truth - I'm a depraved sinner who needs Jesus, and grace- God loves me as a sinner and there's nothing I can do to please him on my own account. God loves me, died for me, though I don't deserve it. It's also a reminder that I need to extend grace to those around me. I lean too far towards truth and not enough grace. You need to have both. Jesus was the perfect example of truth and grace."
-Rebekah Chu on her new ink

The God of Truth gave us His Word so we would know His truths.
And Grace is one of those truths.

Grace and truth are supposed to go together.

But some of us lean too much toward "speaking the truth in love"... 
...and what usually happens is that the "love" is not felt be the recipient of the "truth" that's being spoken. 
And that feels a lot like judgement. 
We too often forget to extend the grace that we enjoy.

The fact is, "everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Romans 3:23

Grace says, "So let's stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall." Romans 14:13 

Through Christ, sin has already been taken care of, once and for all.

So I don't have to be worried about judging others.
That frees me up to LOVE the way Jesus commanded.
And it is only by His Grace that I'm able to love at all.

Would you prefer to feel loved or judged?

Grace, with or without truth, leads to love.
Truth without grace leads to
Black and white.
Right and wrong.
Do and don't do.

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.
But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.
So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?
Of course not!
Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? ...
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law.
Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning?
Of course not!
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?
You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
Romans 5:20-21, 6:1-2,15-16

Which will you choose?