Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Full of Grace and Truth

As Christians, John 1:14 tells us "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." So if we are to be Christians and therefore, Christ-like we should strive also to be full of grace and truth. In order to do that, however, we need to examine the words so that we can get a better idea of what is expected of us.

The Greek word for grace is charis which has varied meanings depending on how it is used and is almost impossible to translate fully in any one English word. It often means something similar to gift. In other instances, such as in the scripture I mentioned it could mean an active interchange of divine blessing by the internal working of the Holy Spirit out of the fullness of Jesus (God). So, taking this into consideration, we will realize that we can never fully inhabit grace the way that Jesus can, just as we can never completely be as Jesus was.

We can, however live in line with the grace that Jesus was by showing people the gift that is grace. By this I mean handing out grace as the no strings attached present that it is. This involves a bit of humility sometimes, which is another attribute of Jesus' that I won't go into at length, but I will say that humility does not equal weakness. Giving a gift of forgiveness or grace to someone else does not mean we are weak. It is often the most powerful thing we can do - to humble ourselves enough to extend grace even when the other person does not deserve it.

When we look at the word truth in Greek (aletheia), it literally means not hidden. This to me means that the reality of Jesus is not hidden. We can see the truth acted out in the life of Christ. In the early churches the Gnostics were often teaching that there were hidden or secret ways to practice the faith of Christianity. Paul warns the Colossians of this very thing. He wanted the people there to know that the mystery of God was found hidden in one place only - Jesus Christ (Colassians 2:2-4). So, when we feel the need to speak the truth to another, we have to remember that the truth was Jesus himself. Not just the fact that he was, but the truth of life is wrapped up in him - in his actions and his words. He embodied truth, so anything that we say or do that is not like Jesus is not the truth.

So, if God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to save and not to condemn (John 3:16-17), then that is the message we should convey to people. We should not tell others that their problems are caused by God through lack of belief nor yet that they are looking at eternity in Hell if they don't believe. The truth is that we don't know the whole truth. Because the truth is all of Christ. There is no way that we can know all that their is to know about Jesus based solely on the word. The word is important to us, yes and it is a map of sorts to guide us, but it is not all of God/Jesus. Not by a long shot.

How are we to know the intricacies of salvation and how God plans to be united with us some day; we can only catch a glimps of it in His word. I fully believe He has no desire for anyone to be separated from Him permanently. It stands to reason, in my mind, that He has a plan to have every one of his children with him for eternity. How can that be, you ask, there are so many who turn their backs on him? That is true, it seems that way, but in my heart of hearts I believe that God has a plan for all to have a chance. How could he not? Doesn't he love us with Agape? The love that knows no bounds? If you believe that as I do, how can you still believe that he would leave any stone unturned and leave anyone behind?