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The Pharisees, God’s self-appointed gatekeepers, never emphasized grace. Christ’s hearers had seen truth in the law of Moses, but it was Christ who gave them their first clear view of grace. The law could only reveal sin. Jesus could remove it.
Some churches today embrace truth but need a heavy dose of grace.
Other churches talk about grace but cry out for a heavy dose of truth.
Some time ago, I invited a lesbian activist to lunch. For the first hour, she hammered me, telling of all the Christians who’d mistreated her. She seemed as hard as nails. I listened, trying to show her God’s grace, praying she’d see the Jesus she desperately needed. She raised her voice and cursed freely. People stared. But that was okay. Jesus went to the cross for her—the least I could do was listen.
Suddenly she was crying, sobbing, broken. I reached across the table and took her hand. For the next two hours I heard her story, her heartsickness, her doubts about the causes she championed. I told her about Christ’s grace.
After four hours we walked out of that restaurant, side by side. We hugged.
In our conversation, truth wasn’t shared at the expense of grace, or grace at the expense of truth.
Birds need two wings to fly. With only one wing, they’re grounded. The gospel flies with the wings of grace and truth. Not one, but both.For more on this topic, see Randy’s book The Grace and Truth Paradox, and his devotional Beautiful and Scandalous.