Tuesday, January 31, 2006


As I've continued on with my study, "The Grace and Truth Paradox," I have continued to grow. This four week study is coming to an end though. There is only one week left. As I said before, I strongly recommend this study to anyone looking for one right now.

This past week's focus was TRUTH. We had some great discussions at my community group. Most importantly we kept coming back to the key focus of Christ's example. No matter how important the truth is, it must always be displayed in a graceful manner. It is not our job to judge people or to condemn them. It is our job to love them.

We are all sinners so to come across as "perfect" is a flat our lie. The church so often makes people feel like once they're "family" that you can't have any baggage, but I think the world would be a better place if we all did openly share our struggles in life. I think those who don't yet know Christ along with other fellow Christians would find comfort in REAL people, not the paper doll cutouts people try to portray themselves as.

If we would just befriend people, whether or not they are Christian, and actually not even address whether they are Christians or not; you know, treat them like a person (what a concept), maybe people would see "real" Christianity lived out. If we were stronger in our own faith and secure in how we were to live, we wouldn't have the desire to shove our religion on others and more people would see the attractiveness of our Christ and His amazing Grace through the Holy Spirit's loving actions moving in and through our lives!!!

I know this is short, but I hope it helps you think...I know it's made me think. I'm looking forward to the last week of the study and finding more life application for living out both Grace and Truth.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"The Grace and Truth Paradox"

Okay, okay, okay....this is for my husband, who guilted me, this morning, into posting something.

The truth is after being sick for so long, I sort of felt out of the loop and began to wonder if what I posted was really all that special and so I just stopped writing because I feared what I was writing was pointless. I mean, I've stopped getting the traffic that I used to get and far fewer comments, so I figured that the things I had to say were either things people already knew or didn't care about. Apparently my husband does, so I will continue on.

Anyway, right now I am going through a study with my community group that is AMAZING!!! I recommend this study to anyone who is looking for something challenging, yet life changing. The study is by Randy Alcorn and it is called: "The Grace and Truth Paradox" responding with Christian Balance.

This study takes, in my opinion, the two most important concepts and teaches how to apply them in daily life. I am going to be taking several quotes from the book as I continue.

"A paradox is a statement or a phrase that seems to contradict itself but, in fact, is true. One of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian faith is the interplay between grace and truth. Grace, by itself, may permit deception and moral compromise. Truth, by itself, leads to self-righteousness and crushing legalism. Are these two qualities mutually exclusive?" (5)

Wow....these few sentences say so much and they are only in the preface. This topic is one I wrestle with and have found several of my brothers and sisters in Christ also wrestle with. How do you uphold the truth while still displaying grace? Sometimes it's easy, but then there are times that are so hard and a few that are uncomprehensible. If we live with granting too much grace than we appear as not standing for anything, but if we live a life purely by truth than we appear as though we're judging others. Neither one of those senarios are ideal. The awesome thing is that we don't have to live one way or the other, nor should we. Jesus didn't! He was a perfect combination of both absolute truth and absolute grace.

"The challenge for believers today is how to express grace and truth in balance, as Jesus did. It's an important issue because the world will draw conclusions about Jesus from what it sees in us." (5)

To get a little bit more specific about truth and grace here is how Mr. Alcorn defines each one separately:

"Truth: refers to the legal demands on humanity that God's character requires and the absolute law He established in His Word.
~God's holiness, justice, and wrath are expressions of His truth." (9)

"Grace: is the aspect of God's character that overrides His judgment of our sin.
~ God's grace led Him to sacrifice His Son to pay the penalty for our sin, offering all people an opportunity to be forgiven and to have new life in Christ." (9-10)

"In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
~John 1:1,14

My prayer is that the Lord will help me to show grace to others. I don't know if in this life time I will ever be able to show Grace to others even 50% of the time, but through this study I am beginning to grasp just how much grace God granted me, which in turn makes me want to grant grace to others even more. I am no different than those murderers and rapists out there. We are all sinners. No one sin is okay while another is not. All sin is wrong in the eyes of the Lord and keeps us apart from Him without the blood of Christ. Therefore, we are all in need of grace and very much undeserving. If God can grant us grace than who are we to withhold it from others.

"While we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

So far in this study, I've only been through the comparisons of why both truth and grace are important and then this last week was a further study on what grace actually is, this week I will be studying about what truth really is. Here is a great passage from the study about grace:

"Grace isn't about God lowering His standards. It's about God fulfilling those standards through substitutionary suffering of the One who set the standards. Christ went to the cross because He would not ignore the truths of His holiness and our sin. Grace gave what truth demanded: the ultimate sacrifice for our sins." (29)

"If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing." Gal. 2:21

"Christ gave His all to save us all. That's grace. Period." (29)

This past week's study has really helped me to find the things that I'm blessed with in life and how to let go of the things that might not be as great, so that I be uplifted and desire to extend grace to others. Phil. 4:11 says it well: "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

"If I grasp that I deserve hell, I will be filled with gratitude not only for God's blessings-including my redemption and my home in heaven-but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks." (39)

Well this is what I am studying and what I am learning right now. It is absolutely fascinating to me!!! I hope that it causes you to think or at least stop a moment and realized how blessed you truly are. I am blessed to be able to share this with you. Thanks for stopping by. I pray that the Lord would move mightily in your life this week.