Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
I’ve never given much thought to the idea of giving the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But after today’s lesson of the Grace and Truth Paradox, I realized that when someone omits a part of the truth – in other words, they don’t give the whole truth – they are in effect not giving the truth at all. A good example of this is, although it’s as sunny as can be outside, I tell my daughter “It’s raining!!!” She replies with something like “really?” And I then say “yeah, it’s definitely raining somewhere…” By saying it’s raining, I may not be outright lying – it just doesn’t happen to raining where we are. I have omitted a part of the truth, and without clarification, it isn’t really true at all.
This same principle is in effect when we look at grace and truth. As we’ve discussed in the last couple of posts, God’s Word is absolute truth. As a follower of Christ, we must take it for what it says and keep it’s authority in the center of our minds when we read it. We must take its words to be like the very words of God, straight from His mouth to our ears. But if you’re anything like me, when it comes to sharing the truth from God’s Word with others, you are quite tempted to skip the parts that seem like bad news and move only to the parts that give the good news. I mean, the word gospel means “good news,” right? Unfortunately, by doing this, we are only sharing a part of the truth, and without sharing the whole truth we are not really sharing the truth at all.
So what does the whole truth entail? It means that we must share the consequences that go along with sin before explaining the salvation that comes by grace. Take these passages from Romans:
- “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10)
- “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference…” (Romans 3:21-22)
The bad news: no one is righteous, no one does right in the sight of God. The good news: by faith in Jesus, we are made righteous in the sight of God.
- “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
- “[All] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)
The bad news: everybody has sinned, and therefore have missed the mark and failed the standard set by God in His Law. The good news: these same sinners (us!) are justified before God through His grace.
- “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)
- “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b)
The bad news: because of sin, we are cursed to die, both physically, and without Christ, spiritually. The good news: God has provided a gift of eternal life to us through Christ.
There is both bad news and good news associated with the truth of God’s Word. If we only share the good news of salvation through Christ, people won’t understand why it’s good news. They may understand the consequences of eternal life, but if they don’t know the consequences of sin, they won’t grasp the grace of God. God’s grace is perhaps the most unique, marvelous, outrageous, and special thing to ever come about – and by diluting the truth to those we share it with, we are withholding more than just a partial truth from them…we are withholding part of His grace as well.