How Grace and Truth Relate

Reading the psalms.

I mentioned in a previous post that the first thing I learned in my long journey of coming to understand grace and my need for Jesus was the reality of grace — that grace is the aspect of God that invites us closer to him wholeheartedly and without a single reservation. It’s about our full acceptance and welcome in the presence of God, no strings attached.

This was a pretty huge paradigm shift for me. 

I knew my whole life that God’s love was unconditional and that Jesus created a way for us to have full access to God — but really, that idea lived mostly in my head. I didn’t really understand unconditional love and acceptance because I’d lived most of my life inside rules and conditions.

So the journey into grace was about learning to breathe and receive my love and worth before God. And it took several long and searching years for me to find that path, let me tell you.

But I’ve come to believe it is this foundation of grace that prepares us for the truth of God. I’ve come to believe that no matter how long it takes or how hard-won the journey might be, it is the most essential reality God desires us to receive through our life with Christ.

When we look at Jesus, we are told that he is “the fullness of grace and truth” (John 1:14). What does that really mean? 

It means that somehow, in love, grace and truth peacefully coexist and belong together. 

But without a foundation of grace firmly rooted inside us first, without knowing in a visceral, very real way our full welcome and acceptance with God, then words of truth — and particularly words of correction — only strike us as harsh and shaming. All we hear in words of truth is that we’re going the wrong way and need to go the right way, as though going the right way is more important than who we are.

At least, that has been my experience. Has that been yours?

But once we are in a relationship of full acceptance and embrace, knowing that nothing we do wrong will remove that full embrace and that standing invitation of welcome, we can read these words that David wrote in the psalms …

Train me, God, to walk straight;

   then I’ll follow your truth path.

Put me together, one heart and mind;

   then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.

— Psalm 86:11 

… and give thanks and make them our prayer.

In a loving, grace-filled relationship, the truth that teaches us to walk straight becomes a gift. It becomes a gentle and loving guide intended for our good. It becomes an object of hope, rather than a ruler of judgment. It becomes something for which we give thanks.

What is your experience of grace and truth? Where in the journey into either do you find yourself today?