Grace and Truth

Mike Focht 3/1/2024

Our spirituality matures as we conform to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. The closer we come to Him, the more sincerely we live in the conscious reality of who we are inside and outside Jesus. For example, in following Christ, Peter learned depths of wickedness in himself he never dreamed. Following Jesus, Peter also learned the incredible riches of love and grace that abounded much more than his sin. He calls it the manifold grace of God. This reality is part of why Peter encourages believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

   The truth in Christ reveals to us all that is still not Christ-like. Growing in communion with Jesus will require the revelation of our weakness, pride, self-love, envy, evil motives, evil thoughts, and selfishness. Growing mature in Christ will require the truth of our distance from Christ and the recognition of many faults that an immature believer may never realize or even acknowledge as sin. The truth even reveals to those whose outward sins are not evident (sins of commission) that they have left many things undone (sins of omission) inwardly. We are hopeless sinners outside of the work of God in us. 

   Walking with Jesus means walking with The Truth. Truth reveals repeatedly that we are sinners by nature and unlike Jesus Christ in so many ways. Yet it is that very truth that draws the confessed sinner to Christ! In Jesus Christ, we find all God’s beauty, power, and righteousness and begin to love all He is. Dodging the initial shock of truth to the sinful soul is why some Christians have stunted growth. They shy away from Christ because they do not want the truth of how different they are from Jesus to be exposed—to themselves or others. Sadly, they lose the beauty of the image of Christ by the willful preservation of their own image.

   Any Christian who wants to walk with Christ and grow in Him should never fear the light of truth. The Holy Spirit does not use the revelation of Christ’s perfection and our imperfection to destroy, shame, or humiliate. Jesus’ truth is always balanced by His grace. It is true that if we are to become like Him, we must first recognize where and how we are unlike Him, but that is not where the process ends. 

   Like Isaiah, we say, Woe is me, for I am undone! And like Peter, we say, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord! Yet it is the grace of God that calls sinners to draw near Him. When Jesus reveals the truth of our sinful nature, He doesn’t leave us there! The grace of God places a coal on our lips and cleanses us as was done with Isaiah. Jesus speaks to our hearts: Do not be afraid, as he said to Peter. Then, just as was done with Isaiah and Peter, God calls us into closer communion, fellowship, and service with Him. Likeness to Him is the needed preparation for communion with Him. To know Him, bless His name, is to know the fullness of grace and truth.

   God, in His incredible grace, desires to draw sinful men and women into closer communion and likeness. The truth of God’s spotless character shines in our spotted hearts. In that very moment, the dark failure of our sin meets with the brilliant light of Jesus’ all-sufficient love, grace, and purpose. Then, the grace of God works to effectively and sincerely sanctify our profane places so that we are more like Christ and less like who we once were. All of this is the grace of God and the truth of God working together in our lives.  

   The key here is not to be overly introspective. As you walk with Christ, day by day, acknowledge your weaknesses as the Holy Spirit brings them to light. God will only give you the grace to deal with what He desires to transform. We cannot skip ahead of Him, work on something He is not working on, or even discover how distant we are from Him apart from the Holy Spirit revealing Jesus to our hearts. Accept all the grace and truth God gives you with childlike faith and trust Him to provide the rest when He knows you are ready.