Specifically Read: Christ-likeness: Balance
Let’s face it: We live in a fallen world where people make bad choices. We all sin. You might have experienced how speaking out against immoral, sinful behavior pegs you as intolerant in today’s world. To combat this reputation, some churches swing the pendulum in the opposite direction, covering over sin as though it doesn’t matter. How, they might reason, are they going to grow their church if they don’t accept people as they are? Grace attracts people. Calling sin “sin” repels people.
Make no mistake, grace is good (Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:6). Grace is foundational to salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9) and our walk with God (1 Cor. 15:10; Titus 2:11-13). Grace must be taught and proclaimed (Acts 20:24; Col. 1:16). We, the Church, are to be dispensers of God’s grace (1 Pet. 4:10). Grace is a Christ-like quality (Jn. 1:14, 17).
But, let’s be careful not to be imbalanced. While grace is a Christ-like quality, so is truth. “Jesus came full of grace AND truth” (Jn 1:14). Jesus did eat with sinners. He accepted them as people but never gave the impression that He condoned their sin. Think of the woman brought to Jesus who was caught in adultery. To her accusers Jesus said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they all left, Jesus asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? . . . Then neither do I condemn you . . . Go now and leave your life of sin” (Jn. 8:3-11). Jesus responded with BOTH grace AND truth!
In giving the command to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20), Jesus made it clear that the intent was not merely conversions but helping people become fully devoted followers of Him … people who would not only believe but also obey ALL He commanded. We should therefore want quantitative church growth but also work toward the qualitative aspect as well which requires both grace AND truth.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Eph. 5:25b-27)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph. 4:15)
Where are you on the spectrum of grace and truth?
- Are you standing as the pillar of truth in today’s world (1 Tim. 3:15)?
- Are you not just speaking the truth but keeping it seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6) and love (Eph. 4:15)?
- Do you see grace as a way not just to attract people but to motivate them to become more Christ-like (Titus 2:11-13)?