Last week we looked at our need for both grace and truth as Christians. Recall Jesus was full of grace and truth. We noted that truth void of grace generated legalism and judgmentalism. Conversely, grace minus truth leads to toleration and even denial of the reality of sin in our world, and in us. We need grace and truth together. That means we need Jesus. The pastor reminds us often, “Who does it take to live a Godly life? It takes God to live a Godly life. We can do nothing apart from Him.” Jesus dwelling in us can beget a life full of grace and truth when we cooperate with Him.
This time we’ll talk about love and truth. We can mishandle these two as well. In the Apostle Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, we find chapter 13. The love chapter. It may be the one place in scripture where we have no doubt we need God to live it because we surely cannot. Am I right? Love suffers long. Love is kind. Love does not envy or parade itself nor is it puffed up with pride. Love does not behave rudely. It doesn’t seek its own. It is not provoked and thinks no evil. Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. Love never fails. (From verses 4,5,7,8)
That is quite a list of love attributes. God’s kind of love is expansive. When we declare, and rightly so, God’s grace is “Amazing”, my goodness, what adjective can we use to describe the enormity of His love?
There is one verse I left out in the description of love. Verse 6 tells us, “(Love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” God’s love does not walk alone. It always walks in the company of His truth. They are inseparable. A lot of people struggle with that.
Three of the most quoted words from the Bible are these: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) They often are used as a precursor to acceptance of sinful behavior. “Well, God is love. Therefore, it is okay for me (us) to do whatever feels good. God just wants me (us) to be happy.” How many times do we hear that nowadays? Even those not in Christ keep it in their holster. While their misuse is unfortunate and sad, the greater problem is the numerous misapplications we see from professing Christians.
The Apostle John wrote those three words and repeatedly stressed God’s love never, ever uncouples from the truth. John writes to the church “whom I love in the TRUTH” and “all those who have known the TRUTH, because of the TRUTH, which abides in us and will be with us forever.” He says a blessing over his audience “in TRUTH and love.” (2 John 1-3) He writes to Gaius and the beloved: “I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the TRUTH that is in you…I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in TRUTH.” (3 John 2-4)
To what TRUTH is John referring? Jesus Himself tells us in His prayer to the Father the night of His betrayal. “Your word is truth.” What God has said is SIN – in our world, our culture, the people we know, and in us – is SIN! LOVE demands we see it and call it as such.