“Jesus shared truth but graciously. Jesus offered grace but truthfully. Grace and truth. Acceptance seeks to offer both.”- Max Lucado
“Then all of you can join together in one voice, giving grace and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”- Romans 15:6-7 (NLT)
As Max Lucado continues Chapter 8 of How Happiness Happens, he wonders if acceptance provides the best response to the Levis of our world. For example, Pastor Lucado observes, Romans 15:7 summarizes a thirty-verse appeal to the Roman church for unity with one verb: accept. Furthermore, the Greek verb, proslambano, means much more than tolerate or coexist. Instead, as Anglican priest John Stott writes in Romans: God’s Good News for the World:
“[Accept] means to welcome into one’s fellowship and into one’s heart. It implies the warmth and kindness of genuine love.”
At the age of twenty, as Max now describes himself, he behaved like a troublemaker headed on a downward path. In addition, the way he lived back then belied his commitment to Christ made ten years earlier. As a result, Max claimed His identity as God’s child on Sunday mornings. But he buddied with the Devil on Saturday nights.
Above all, God didn’t accept Max’s sinful behavior. However, He accepted Max, His wayward child. In effect, God told Max to come back. He’d take care of cleaning him up. Thus, God offered Max grace and truth.
In John 8:11, Jesus told the adulterous woman He didn’t condemn her (grace). Yet, Jesus also told her to go and not sin any more (truth). Finally, Pastor Lucado underscores the need for both grace and truth:
“If we only offer grace, then we gloss over the truth. If we only offer truth, then we dismiss the joy of grace. Our goal is to strike a balance. Oh, if only the balance were easy to strike. I have tilted in both directions. I have been so zealous for the truth that I have forgotten grace. I’ve been a crusader for tolerance and omitted truth.”
Today’s question: What’s your response to Max’s statement that “Jesus shared truth but graciously”? That “Jesus offered grace but truthfully”? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Never called to redeem the world”