Grace and Truth: What Is Truth?

Hey! It’s good to be back to blogging after taking a couple of days off for a short little staycation with family. If you follow my blog at all, you probably have been reading my posts from my Bible study called The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn. This week we pick up where we left off last Friday by discussing the other side of the coin – truth.

For something that is supposed to be unwavering and absolute, truth can be a tricky thing. Take the following story:

David Casstevens of the Dallas Morning News tells a story about Frank Szymanski, a Notre Dame center in the 1940s, who had been called as a witness in a civil suit at South Bend.
“Are you on the Notre Dame football team this year?” the judge asked.
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“What position?”
“Center, Your Honor.”
“How good a center?”
Szymanski squirmed in his seat, but said firmly: “Sir, I’m the best center Notre Dame has ever had.”
Coach Frank Leahy, who was in the courtroom, was surprised. Szymanski always had been modest and unassuming. So when the proceedings were over, he took Szymanski aside and asked why he had made such a statement. Szymanski blushed. “I hated to do it, Coach,” he said. “But, after all, I was under oath.” (taken from here).

There are so many cultural and societal demands placed on us today that we often surpass telling the truth in order to be polite (a.k.a., to show grace). We feel we have to bend the truth or just outright lie in order to keep from hurting someone’s feelings, or in the case of Mr. Szymanski here, to keep from looking arrogant (after all, he didn’t want to say he was the best, but it was the truth!). But is this the way things are supposed to be? Is living inside the realm of truth completely incompatible with living inside the realm of grace?

In the grace and truth continuum, truth is just as important as grace and in no way does it render grace void. Biblical truth can be defined as “the legal demands on humanity that God’s character requires and the absolute law He established in His Word.” I think in today’s church culture, the pendulum has swung more to the grace side of things, and often we equate living according the truth of God’s Word to legalism. But this isn’t the case – legalism is attempting to follow a set of rules, usually avoiding some activities, in order to try and live a righteous life. Living according to truth is embracing Jesus and attempting to live up to His standards, but by His grace and not by our own self-righteousness.

Throughout this week of study, I think we will start to get a changed perspective about the real definition of truth, and we will start to see God’s truth as a guide for living rather than an inhibiting set of rules. The way Randy Alcorn put it in today’s study is the best:

“…properly understood, biblical truths are guardrails that protect us from plunging off the cliff. A smart traveler doesn’t curse the guardrails. He doesn’t whine, “That guardrail dented my fender!” He looks over the cliff, see demolished cars below, and is grateful for guardrails. The guardrails of truth are there not to punish us but to protect us.”

Thus David wrote “…your love and your truth always protect me” (Psalm 40:11).

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