I heard this phrase recently and thought I would share it. I can’t remember who said it but in speaking of the relationship between grace and truth he spoke of:
Truth tempered by Grace, grace fortified by Truth.
As flawed humans, we struggle to have both grace and truth operational at the same time. This is the reason why I like the phrase highlighted above.
If we speak the truth and allow grace to temper how we say it, the truth is more likely to be received.
On the other hand, we need to have truth fortify our grace. Grace without truth is a mushy acceptance which does little good in the long run.
John 1:14 tells us that these two words characterized Jesus’ ministry. He was full of both grace and truth. In other words, no more grace or truth could be contained in Jesus. We have the record of Jesus’ life and ministry, as recorded in the Gospels, to show us what the interplay of grace and truth should look like.
Truth that is not tempered by grace may turn out to be only a half truth. When I say this, I have in mind the type of preaching that is long on condemnation and short on hope. Jesus never preached that way.
The whole truth is that we are like the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Apart from Christ we are trapped in our pride, selfishness and idolatry. Jesus acknowledges the truth of the accusation but offers forgiveness and tells us to “go and sin no more.” By his completed work of salvation, Jesus offers us the freedom and the power to accomplish this command.
May we all look to Jesus as our example of how to speak truth which is tempered by grace and offer grace which is fortified by truth.