Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Jesus, Grace, and Truth

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’’) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:14-18)

Notice the importance of the terms, “grace and truth.” The glory of the Son was seen, “full of grace and truth.” We receive from His fullness “grace upon grace.” The Law was given through Moses, but “grace and truth” came through Jesus. He is the perfect manifestation and communication of God to a lost world that needs both grace and truth.

We should not take John’s point to mean that there was no grace or truth at all prior to Jesus coming in the flesh. Multiple Scriptures speak of the lovingkindness or grace of God, and we cannot suggest there was no truth, for “The sum of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). The psalmist brings together God’s lovingkindness and compassion in accordance with the Torah: “O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant. May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight” (119:76-77). Passages can be multiplied to show that the people under the Law were still able to see God’s mercy extended to them. They were aware of their need for God’s mercy and compassion, and they knew the Torah was God’s truth. David could plead for God’s mercy (Psalm 51), delight in the law (Psalm 1), and rejoice in the truth. The Psalms are a strong testimony to the proper attitude and balance between law, grace, and truth. Even so, the law was incomplete. Something was missing that only God Himself could finally supply.

Some passages explicitly combine lovingkindness and truth. For example, when Moses met the Lord on the mountain, the Lord passed in front and said, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…” (Exod 34:6-7). See also 2 Samuel 2:6 where David ties “lovingkindness and truth” together. God’s grace and truth are both found in the Law, but it was going to take more. It was going to take the incarnation of God Himself to bring this fully to light.

Jesus became flesh to finalize God’s plan. He stated, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17). He did not come in opposition to the Law or to destroy the Law. He came to complete and fulfill it, to bring about the full realization of what God intended all along. Grace and truth weren’t completely missing in the Law; they were just incomplete. Jesus, therefore, came to complete it.

Being under the Law meant being under a system that was incomplete and unfulfilled. John’s point is about fulfillment. How was this grace and truth to be fully realized? How was it to be demonstrated and find its fruition? The answer is Jesus. Jesus was the perfect embodiment of grace and truth even as He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. Through Christ is found “grace upon grace.” God lavishes His grace upon His people through Jesus in the forgiveness of our sins (Eph 1:7-8). Truly, of His fullness we have received. Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the apex of God’s truth, demonstrating grace and truth in the greatest of ways. Everything that law, grace, and truth could point to is fulfilled in the Son of God. This is the truth that expresses, in broad terms, what the Gospel is all about. Jesus Christ has shown us the true way of God (John 14:6).

Since grace and truth are fully realized through Jesus Christ, this means “grace upon grace” if we partake of His fullness. The purpose of the Law was finally realized in the full expression of grace and truth brought about by the work of Jesus. Only Jesus could fulfill and complete what the Law anticipated. Now we are able to see that picture completed, and what a beautiful one it is!

Given that Jesus fulfilled the law, brought the fullness of grace and truth, and offers to lavish this grace upon us, should this not be the consistent theme in our preaching today? The King of Kings is pouring out the riches of His grace. He died and rose again to secure these blessings for us, and His truth frees us from sin. His glory has been seen in His love. Grace and truth have been fully expressed in the flesh. Let this message ring out loud and clear!