Sunday, March 21, 2010

Challenging Conventional Christian Wisdom - Part 1 - Grace and Truth

As Christians, there is a fine line that we have to walk.

And it is not easy.

Impossible if you do not even know the line exists.

That fine line is Grace and Truth.

Allow me to start with a quote by Gabe Lyons.

Embracing truth without holding grace in tension leads to harsh legalism, just as grace without truth devolves to compromise.” Gabe Lyons

On one side of the line is legalism, on the other, compromise. And I think lack of one is a response to lack of the other.

Legalists exist because of their fear of compromise. They create rules upon rules to avoid sin. Their boundaries are rituals behind rituals. The Christian life is no longer about relationship, but about legality.

Compromise is a response to legalism. Those burned or hurt by legalists live a life without boundaries. Everything falls under grace and forgiveness. But problems arise when there is no truth to convict or correct.

Jesus lived in perfect tension of Grace and Truth.

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)

In John 8, teachers of the law pointed a finger at an adulterous woman. Citing the law of Moses, they called for her death. Jesus’ simple question disarmed the would-be executioners. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” In this moment of controversy and ill deed, Jesus strips the accusers with a touch of grace.

Yet to leave the woman in her sin would be rob her a life of repentance. He commanded her to leave her life of sin.

To side with the accusers would be to starve grace. To overlook her adultery would condone a life of falsehood and sin.

In this holy moment, God has shown us the power of a life lived in both Grace and Truth. Forgiveness of sin and freedom from sin.

Forgiveness and freedom.

So what am I saying? I’m asking you to take a look at your own life. Are you the type to point out people’s sin, their imperfections, and allowing your observations to prevent you from developing a relationship? Do you cast judgement with grace no where in sight?

Or do you condone, afraid that any sort of attention drawn to the subject will sever the relationship?

Do you exhibit truth yet withhold grace?

Do you compromise your beliefs?

Or, most difficult of all, have you found balance? We are called to be Christ-like, balanced. To be full of Grace and Truth. To offer forgiveness with freedom.


  1. BIG SECOND! I have read the UnChristian book and we need balance of both Grace and Truth. We had been practice TOO MUCH TRUTH, little Grace. Need to change! Preach brother!

  2. thanks 'Anonymous'. UnChristian was a huge influence on me.

    but don't forget. too much grace will lead to compromise. that is the other poison.

  3. Chris, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Big Bang theory... To me, it's absolutely idiotic to ignore all the scientific discoveries that prove how old the Earth is, let alone the entire universe-- and a lot of this evidence points to the big bang. Yet so many Christians are intent on believing that the universe is only 6000 years old. That goes against everything I've ever thought. It's preposterous to me. Am I missing something? And why can't the two work together?
    I hope you've thought about this as much as I have...

  4. actually, Cait, i do have strong feelings on the subject. i am traveling a lot today, so i can write it on our plane/train.

    i'll either email it to you, or post it as a blog. it'd fit under Challenging Conventional Christian Wisdom. so i might turn it into a blog.