Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Perfect Balance!

Meditation for the week of November 11, 2012

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The Word in this verse is the Lord.  He is the way God has communicated to us in these last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  He is not only the vehicle or the words that convey a message, He is the message itself.  There is power in words.  Ronald Reagan was the great communicator as President because he knew how to use words when dealing with the public.  During WWII, Winston Churchill was able to keep England encouraged during a very difficult period in the war by his speeches.  What we say and the way we say it has a great effect on the people to whom we speak.  The Lord had a great effect on His disciples, communicating to them a message of grace and truth.

What glory did the disciples see when they saw the Lord?  Preachers used to tell us that one of the  principles of Bible interpretation is to assume that the key to any question raised by the passage is always near the door.  In other words the context of the passage will usually tell us how to interpret the passage.  In this passage, I believe the word glory is used to mean the beauties of the Lord.  The beauties that were seen were these two characteristics, grace and truth.  They were seen in perfect balance as the Lord communicated the essence of God to us in His life here on earth.

Old testament prophets including John the Baptist were not usually characterized by grace even though God was gracious in the old testament.  But the emphasis as I read the old testament is on the consequences of sin. The nation of Israel turned their back on God and they suffered for it.  Jeremiah cries in Lamentations 1:12 saying, "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold and see If there is any sorrow like my sorrow, Which has been brought on me, Which the LORD has inflicted In the day of His fierce anger.”  This experience is often applied to the the Lord on the cross, but it is really the cry of Jeremiah over a devastated Jerusalem.  John the Baptist reminded the nation of their sin and told them to repent (turn back to Jehovah) in order to prepare for the coming of the Lord.  However, in this passage, the disciples have now seen the Lord; and while He maintains the truth, He is also marked by grace.

Grace is often defined as a gift.  Grace is something that is not deserved or earned.  However grace is necessary when trying to maintain the truth.  If a car were used as an analogy, truth is the engine. Grace is the oil that keeps the engine running smoothly.  Without oil, the engine may run for a while but fairly soon it will make a lot of noise and freeze up. 

We talk about children being full of mischief.  Some people are full of themselves.  Others are full of evil.  People are full of whatever controls them.  If we who are saved are being conformed to the image of the Lord (Romans 8:29), then we ought to be more and more gracious while not giving up any truth.  We should be full of grace AND truth.

The Lord tells us what the truth is and what the consequences are for not believing the truth.  The truth is that we are ALL sinners and that Christ died for ALL.  However, ALL do not receive this truth; and the truth is that they will suffer eternally because of that.  However, the Lord does not force His truth on any one.  He begs, He exhorts, He reasons but He does not force people to believe in Him.  I notice that grace means that He died for us instead of asking us to die for Him as a normal king would.  Grace involves self-denial and self-sacrifice rather than self-centeredness because grace is concerned about the welfare of others.  Grace is concerned with giving, not with getting.

Grace is a wonderful thing, particularly when we are the recipients of it.  But if receiving grace is such a blessing, obviously we can bless others by being gracious ourselves.  Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we left this life, the sermon title for our funeral could honestly be, β€œHe (or she) was full of grace and truth.” 

Bruce Collins

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