NASHVILLE. In one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, Cuba Gooding Jr plays a mentally challenged young man nicknamed “Radio” who is being mentored by a high school football coach played by Ed Harris.
Coach and Radio are eating in a diner. When they finish their meal, the waitress politely and slowly addresses Radio, “Do you want strawberry pie or apple pie?”
Radio answers, “I wan’ boff.”
Radio was not the smartest movie character ever, but he understood that he could choose both.
Unfortunately, many of today’s church leaders have a difficult time embracing the concept of both. In our confused and polarized Western church world, we think have to choose between grace and truth, as if the two concepts are mutually exclusive.
Jesus choose both. We should choose both.
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)
According to this passage, Jesus was “full of grace AND truth.” The idea of grace and truth is not a multiple choice question. It is not an either/or decision. This is one of those both/and situations.
But we prefer to pick one or the other. Then we build a camp. In time, our camp becomes our identity. Then we start a blog. And a twitter account. Eventually we vilify people in other camps. I’m not sure why we do this, but we do.
Preachers in the “grace camp” are accused of ignoring certain Bible texts that seem to condemn politically correct lifestyles and culturally protected sins. On the other hand, preachers in the “truth camp” overemphasize a few sins and are stereotyped as hateful religious bigots and religious Pharisees.
Why can’t we just be like Jesus and embrace grace and truth?
My guess is that everyone reading this wants to be filled with grace and truth, but how? In today’s crazy out-of-balance ministry world, when we want grace we listen to a Joseph Prince podcast or watch a Joel Osteen broadcast. When we want truth we read a John MacArthur book or a John Piper tweet.
Question: What if we want to be filled with both grace and truth?
Answer: If we want both grace and truth, we have to go to Jesus.
The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)