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Day Fourteen
Pastor Ken Vance
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 (NLT)

The Bible says that Jesus came to us “full of grace and truth.” In the combination of those two things, we can experience a reversal of the effects of the fall and find the healing needed from the devastation sin caused in our soul. But what are grace and truth, and why are they so important?

Grace is unconditional love and acceptance and is the starting point for the healing of the human soul. It provides the foundation for an unbroken, uninterrupted, unearned, and accepting relationship. It’s the kind of relationship that Adam and Eve had with God in the garden of Eden. It provided security with no shame, and they could be who they truly were. If you have ever experienced that kind of grace with someone, you know you can be exactly who you are, and there is no need to hide your thoughts or feelings; you do not need to perform, and you do not need to do anything to be loved. They know the real you and love you anyway. That is why the Bible tells us that God is love.

On the other hand, truth is what is real. It describes to us how things are meant to be and how we really are. Whereas grace is the relational aspect of God’s character, truth is the structural aspect of His character. Structure adds shape and stability to everything in the universe. God’s truth leads us to what is real, to what is accurate. Just as our DNA contains the form our physical life will take, God’s truth contains the form our soul and spirit should take. Jesus said that only truth could give us freedom. But truth without grace causes us to hide from shame, and grace without truth prohibits growth.

God intended that the Church, otherwise known as the Body of Christ, would provide the necessary combination of grace and truth to promote healing and growth. That is what the above passage in Ephesians expresses. It is God’s vision of a healthy community that communicates honestly in love so that we can prevent shame and promote growth as we learn to love and accept one another unconditionally. In a community like that, God said everyone has a part as the whole body becomes healthy and grows together in love. That is when the Church truly is the Body of Christ because we are full of grace and truth.

Grace and truth are the healing combinations because they deal with the main barriers to growth, guilt, and shame. We all have emotional difficulties because we have all been injured by someone who sinned against us, or we have rebelled having sinned ourselves or some combination of the two. As a result of this lack of love or obedience, we are hidden in a world of guilt and shame. Guilt and shame send us into hiding. But if we hide, we cannot get help for our needs and brokenness. But when grace comes along and says that we are not condemned for who we truly are, then guilt and shame can be resolved, and we can begin to heal.

God intended the Church to be a community of people that don’t need to hide. A community where we don’t need to be ashamed of our failures but can find forgiveness where truth and grace can have their healing effect on our life. A community where honesty acknowledges we are all struggling, none of us have it all together, but we are all here to help one another heal and grow. If we have grace without truth, we have acceptance without direction, but on the other hand, if we have truth without grace, there is direction without relationship, which can hurt. Only in the combination of grace and truth, the real Jesus is present. Only when the real Jesus is present can we find the healing and growth to become all God intended us to be. That is why grace and truth are the necessary healing combination.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus full of grace and truth. Today I open my heart to you to find healing and growth. Help me to be courageous enough to hear the truth and brave enough to believe in your love above the testimony of my feelings. I want to be a part of the loving community you intended your Church to be, therefore may your grace and truth begin with me. Help me to love and accept others unconditionally and love enough to be truthful with others I am in a relationship with to help them heal and grow. May this year be a year of growth and maturity in me, and let Christ be formed in me. I love you and thank you for your grace and truth that came to me through Jesus. Amen!