GodReflection: Is Grace Still Amazing?
Among my possessions is an inscribed book gifted to me years ago by the late Charles Siburt, both an esteemed classmate and when it came to daily life and work, one of my most insightful professors. His gift book carries the title, No Place For Truth Or Whatever Happened To Evangelical Theology?
Its author, David F. Wells, of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, published the book in 1993 to examine the demise of truth in the church and in the public square.
In essence, he addresses the question that constantly runs through my mind these days; whatever happened to truth? I do not see an abundance of truth on display by the human species. When I find myself in interfaced with others I want to do better as a reflector of truth.
In my younger days, truth seemed more abstract. I was not as wise as I thought at the time. I would choose among God’s truths. After I identified the truths I followed, people who missed my truth surely needed to learn the truth. It made the task of knowing who was following Jesus much easier.
After all, I was sure God needed my assistance in ruling his world both on the inside of my church circle and among anyone on the outside who crossed my path. To extend grace did not hold a prominent place as a tool in my box of most used ministry skills.
I saw truth more as a proposition to debate. Eventually, it dawned upon me as important as is authentic information, truth is more than a what—it is a who. God rules his world—not me. At no time has he appointed me as assistant judge.
Truth for the first time is personified in the Holy when Jesus was born human to Mary and husband Joseph as truth. To see Jesus was to see truth walk not only on water but into the lives of broken people like you and me.
I should never fear truth. Truth is my friend. Jesus the Truth wants to reside with me. My friend truth gives me encouragement, reflection, and correction. Truth is not a concept—it is a value—yet it is a person. It is of no value to speak of truth and not pursue it.
God rules his world with truth. The sun sets and rises anew. God says that will happen while the current world exists. I can count on it. It is truth. If I play with fire—or with sin—burns will happen. That is truth. God rules the world with truth. The more I rule my life by Jesus the Truth, the closer will be my alignment with God.
The apostle John tells us the manger baby also personified grace.
He was grace in baby wrapping. To encounter Jesus of Nazareth was to interface with grace. Jesus earthly ministry focused on gracing those he encountered. In the streets, at the table, on the hillsides, in the Temple, at funerals, and on the sea, his purpose was always to gift himself to others.
The event on the hill near Jerusalem shouts grace to God’s world. God acted drastically through the death of his son so that I can access his grace. God loves me. God loves me. God loves me. It is as if I must constantly repeat this truth to believe it. Translation—God treats me with grace. He knows I am dusty man not divine perfection.
God shades and stained me with the blood of Jesus. All the while he sees me as a loving son. God rules the world through Jesus the one who is grace in person. When I accepted his grace gift by becoming one with him in baptism, I too was charged to grace my world.
The more I allow grace to rule my life, the closer will be my alignment with God. Wouldn’t that be an incredible way to live the rest of my days? How would it change eternity if people encountered me as a walking blessing?
What if I envisioned myself as a spreader of grace? Up and down, back and forth I walk. Grace flies in all directions. Everyone in my path receives grace-filled nutrients and basks in renewal.
Whatever happened to grace? The reality is nothing happened to grace. Grace walks among us just as close as resurrection Sunday.
I want to live with joy in the world because indeed the Lord is come into my world to fill it with himself—truth AND grace. I would have a tough time finding two better words as a guide.
What if each one of us who claim to follow Jesus made a greater effort to let him rule our walk among family, friends, neighbors, and strangers?
What if each one of us reflected Jesus of Truth and Grace with greater consistency within the life of our Christian assemblies and toward all of God’s children? Don’t you think less people would wonder, whatever happened to grace AND truth?
What is your reflection? How does grace and truth serve as your guide?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Whatever Happened to Grace AND Truth?