On one side of the field you have the Grace church, on the other side of the field you have the truth church. They both prayed for a win in the locker room before the game, so they are both confident of the fact that God is on their side. The truth church paid for really nice jerseys that say VERITAS on the front, so they are feeling really good about the game. Armed with their favorite version of the Bible they are ready to go toe to toe and prove their point.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14 NIV
Somehow this has become the new norm in theology, politics, and basically life. We are programmed to the extremes rather than the yin and yang of life. The narrative is pick a side and go all in. Somehow we have lost the ability to think outside the box that our American Christianity has deemed as appropriate. So, John in his gospel says that Jesus is full of Grace and truth, not 50 percent of each, but 100 percent of each. This concept for most people is troubling, and It does not resolve in our brains. You can’t be both, yet this is what we see in the introduction of Johns gospel. This is a contradiction, how can grace and truth co exist. This tension is not uncommon in both the Hebrew and Greek scripture or culture. There is an acceptance of both the concepts, and it is ok for them to be in the same room and even be in conflict with each other. This is the theological wrestling match that has been going on for years, and it most likely wont stop with us. There is something valuable in the journey. While most good well to do missions folks would claim the book of James as the gospel truth about how to live life, some push back on this raw manifesto. Martin Luther has been quoted as saying the book of James is an epistle of straw, he actually wanted it removed from the Bible. Martin Luther obviously loved Romans and would prefer the concept of grace more than anything else.
How does grace and truth find a marriage in our lives that does not destroy each other and the family. John in his gospel seems to think we can have both because he claims that Jesus was 100 percent both. John believes that by having both we become the light. It’s possible that the extreme of either may make our light a little less effective. Maybe in the balance of these two things there is a fullness of light that is irresistible to humans. The endless opportunities to see the light through the prism of these concepts of grace and truth is a journey that men have been wrestling with for centuries. I had a professor in college who would start class by saying its time to get on the mat and wrestle, and he did not mean we were going to put on our wrestling gear and spare, it was an invitation to wrestle with the same things Martin Luther and other theologians have been picking and prodding at for years.