22 Aug Grace and Truth (Jn 13:34) by Pastor John Dennis
Welcome God now with this LIFE Group Devotion (FB), provided by LIFE Runners (FB). Leaders. Guest Authors.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” ~ Jn 13:34 (full readings)
John’s Reflections: Jesus could extend grace at the same time that he made a moral demand, all in the context of zero condemnation. His encounter with the woman caught in the act of betraying her husband (Jn 8:2-11), is a perfect example of this. “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” He asked. She replied: “No one, Sir.” I think He must have taken her hand at this point, and in love, looked deep into her terrified eyes and said: “I don’t condemn you either. Go stop your sinning.” The magnificence of this event (and so many others like it in the Gospels) is stunning. Here is Jehovah with skin on, looking right at betrayal and moral decadence. His response is one totally void of condemnation, but still full of truth and demanding a change. Walking in zero condemnation, extending grace, and making moral demands are all easy for us to do, one at a time. If this is a spectrum with grace on one end and truth on the other, we wrestle with finding a place on that spectrum to reside. Living on either end of the spectrum is obviously imbalanced. Just finding a place right in the middle between “go stop sinning” and “I don’t condemn” is really no good at all either. It is neutral, and as such, the salt has lost its saltiness. So, what is the secret to successfully being (as Jesus is) “full of grace and truth”? I think step one is to stop thinking in terms of a spectrum altogether. It isn’t that grace resides on one end and truth/moral demand on the other. The missing ingredient here is love. Everyone in the crowd saw the woman as a threat to their way of life or an issue to argue, but Jesus saw the woman, the person. Love was the overarching power that was about to change this woman’s life. If instead of thinking in terms of a spectrum, we began thinking in terms of grace and truth being characteristics of love, the difficulty begins to ease a little. In John 13:34, Jesus gives the key. He says: “As I have loved, so you must love one another”.
* John Dennis is pastor of the Black Hills Church of Christ, and communications director for Family Heritage Alliance and FHA Action. John is married to his high school sweetheart and has four children and four grandchildren..
Faith Challenge: Get out there you salty disciples of the Master. Engage your culture. Love fiercely. Love fiercely enough to extend grace and press for moral excellence. To do either or neither isn’t love. It is something much more despicable. God help us see the people around us through the eyes of your son. In His blessed name we ask this! And the whole church says….
Counter-Culture News: LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, American Family, Vatican, Project Rachel.
Our Prayers: Prayer to end abortion. LIFE Runners Creed. Add Prayers. Pray with meals, bedtime, wake up, etc. Consider mid-week Family Rosary (17 min). Let’s pray now.
Feast Day: Queenship of Mary
Faith Quote: “…as I have loved, so you must love one another.” ~ Jn 13:34
Through Christ our Lord,