Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 18, 2015

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH.” John 1:14

That just has a nice sound to it doesn’t it – “full of grace and truth”?

I could love a God like that! I could trust Him to love me!

What a joy to know that the very same Word Who spoke the universe into existence with just a few words, tempers all that power and authority with grace and with truth! I wouldn’t want One who possessed that much might being spiteful or dishonest. Would you?

Amazingly, not only does His grace and truth keep His massive power in check but grace and truth balance each other.

Grace, as wonderful as it is, can actually become harmful if not balanced by truth.

I’m sure you have known people who are so gracious they allow others to get away with harmful and unhealthy behavior. A good relationship requires boundaries that make grace meaningful. Those boundaries are formed and established by truth. That is best illustrated by the Ten Commandments God gave His people on their way to the Promised Land. He wanted them to prosper toward Him, their families and in society, so He established the guardrails of truth to define healthy relationships.

This wasn’t in my notes, but as a parallel thought here, remember when Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the Commandments but to fulfill them? In part, this is what He was talking about. Check out the Commandments and you will see that all ten deal with relationships. And Who better to demonstrate for us how relationships should work than God in the flesh?

Jesus even tried to simplify it for us by reducing truth into two big concepts – “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself”. Truth and grace are to define our daily reality and our relationships.

The Master also made it plain He could help us execute those two realities by identifying Himself as, “the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life”. Anyone see a theme developing here?

Have you noticed how much trouble people create for themselves and others when they try to become arbiters of truth? No wonder our culture is so bad at relationships! How can I ever hope to have a healthy relationship with you when we are operating from two different versions of truth? The only way I can extend you grace is if you line up with my version of truth! It is hard to love someone you are tying to dominate. If I am trying to manipulate you and control you and cajole you with attempts to force you into my reality, how can that foster trust or respect (the two foundations of healthy love)? Hello, conflict! Hello, conditional love!

Truth and grace in proper balance equal unconditional love! That is exactly why that Baby was born in that manger two millennia ago! That’s why Christmas should count!

Aren’t you glad that the Word came “full of grace and truth”? Will you, like Mary, ponder these things in your heart and let His Holy Spirit of truth minister to you?