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Truth & Grace

This year, we have focused on the angelic proclamation announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the book of Luke. Jesus brought with Him into the world joy, peace, and hope for all people. These words mark the Advent season each year for that very reason. Jesus is our joy, peace, and hope; therefore, we are inherently joyful, peacemaking, and hopeful people. These characteristics are not defined by our circumstances but by the concrete reality that Jesus is alive.

The apostle John wrote to us about the birth of Jesus and added two more words for us to consider this Christmas season. He begins his gospel by calling back to Genesis 1 with his account: “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This statement reverberates today just as the Holy Spirit intended when John penned it millennia ago. Later in the chapter, he follows this declaration by describing the incarnation.

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

The birth of Jesus Christ was nothing less than the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, and through Him came two things, according to John - truth and grace. John tells us that the law was a gift from God through Moses but that Jesus mediated something more extraordinary in every way. This is not an indictment against the law of God but a praise of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was full of grace and truth; this is no small thing because we desperately need both.

The arrival of the Christ-child did not mark the moment humanity got a second chance at obedience to the law. We did not merely need Jesus to clean the slate for us so that we could redouble our efforts at holiness. No, grace is so much more than that. Grace not only deals with the past but provides for the future. The grace of Jesus forgives us for all our sins and gives us His perfect righteousness. Like the younger brother in the prodigal son parable, we are not merely excused for squandering our inheritance;

we are clothed with robes of royalty and given the signet ring of sonship.

Importantly, grace and truth arrive as fellow travelers. The grace of Jesus does not come by flattery or whimsical wishes. Jesus does not bestow a kind of grace that devalues itself by its manner of dispensation. Grace comes through the truth of the cross and resurrection. Grace came to us at the cost of the Savior’s life. Jesus did not teach us that our sins were forgiven because they weren’t a big deal in the first place, nor did He intimate that the righteousness He offers is easy to attain on our own. On the contrary, our sin was an insurmountable offense in human terms, and the righteousness required for communion with God was impossible to attain on our own merits. The truth of Jesus highlights the grace of Jesus. This is why John tells us that Jesus’ birth meant for us “grace upon grace.” Divine grace. Matchless grace. Unparalleled grace. 100 proof grace.

Even so, this Christmas Eve, let us linger on the mystery of the incarnation and what it means for us. Like Jesus, we are called to be people of grace and truth. God became a child of flesh on Christmas so we could become children of God. God humbled himself from throne to manger so we could be exalted and seated with Him forever. No room was made for Jesus at the inn; even so, He has made room for us in

His Father’s house. How can it be true? Grace upon grace.


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