February 21, 2006

Grace & Truth Paradox: Book Review

Randy Alcorn
Every encounter with Christ was all grace. Every encounter with Christ was all truth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...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 1:14. We must be in every situation–100% Grace. 100% Truth. ”Truth without grace breeds self-righteousness and crushing legalism. Grace without truth breeds deception and moral compromise. Is it possible to embrace both in balance? Jesus did.“ [back cover] Both are completely needed in us so that we can show Christ to our brothers and sisters and to the lost.

What a challenging book. Alcorn’s premise is that we are to show others Christ. And in that ministry, we must love, but true love never lets go of any truth. He says, ”People had only to look at Jesus to see what God is like. People today should only have to look at us to see what Jesus is like. For better or worse, they’ll draw conclusions about Christ from what they see in us. If we fail the grace test, we fail to be Christlike. If we fail the truth test, we fail to be Christlike. If we pass both tests, we’re like Jesus.“ Oh how I need to show off Christ more. In many varying situations with the lost and in the church, I painfully admit to finding myself too little grace, and in others void of truth.

Alcorn lays out the problems. He mentions that we are quick to swing to one side or the other in this delicate pendulum. We are quick to ”love" and give people thier space, but in that, we forfeit the truth. He also decries the angry unloving truth bearers that proudly claim the 100% truth banner. The problem is, the Christ-model is far higher than both of these problems. Christ was the perfect balance of love and law. Christ never threw out love to dispense truth and vice versa. In all of His love, He dispensed all of His truth.

How I needed to see this. It reminded me that yes, every relationship must be toward the goal of the One Truth. If it is not, I am not loving. But along with that, I saw that in order to dispense truth like Christ did, I must be a graceful giver–sacrificing of my time, energy, money, love–in order for a greater channel of truth to be communicated. This book was a challenge to me to enlarge my number of relationships and to expand the depth of them as well. Why? Because Christ sought all His grace and truth. I must seek the lost with that same grace and truth.

This was a great book. I loved every page. It was encouraging. Full of great personal stories and anecdotes. It kept me very interested. Praise the Lord for the challenge to get back to what I am here for—Showing others Christ as He wants Himself shown.

In the end, we don’t need grace or truth. We need grace and truth. And for people to see Jesus in us, they must see both.

Posted by jonkopp at February 21, 2006 06:13 PM | TrackBack