Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grace and Truth

There are no physical descriptions of Christ in the gospels. Nobody knows what he looked like, and that iconic depiction of a long haired, blue eyed effiminate Jesus in the church of your youth is probably not even close to the resemblance of the God-man who was probably tougher than nails physically.

And yet, though we are unsure of his physical appearance, we have no such cloud of confusion about Jesus' spirit and disposition. The Bible says he was "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

Word order is important in Scripture. It does not say he was full of "truth and grace," but rather "grace and truth." Grace preceedes truth. Jesus never backed down from the truth, and his speaking of the truth sometimes made people want to kill him, but he was ALWAYS gracious and merciful.

If someone objects and says, "But once he took a whip, how was that merciful and gracious?" The most merciful thing that you can do for God's people is sometimes show them that you will do whatever is necessary to correct a problem. But I would propose to you that what you saw in the eyes of Jesus on day he cleansed the Temple was determination, courage, resolution --- and grace.

Let me encourage all my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ to remember that truth without grace is often far worse than grace without truth.

Think about that. When Jesus gave a "new" commandment he said, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another" (John 13:34).

Let's ask questions. Let's all dialogue. Let's be persistent. Let's speak the truth. Let's never back down from the truth. Let's never forsake the truth. Let's stand upon the truth.

But above all, let's be gracious when we tell the truth. I wrote a post last December 10 that spoke the truth, but after a couple of weeks reflection, I felt the tone was not very gracious. I have apologized for the tone of the post, but have stood firmly, and unapologetically by the truth of that post. I have repeatedly stated, over and over again, I am a Southern Baptist who believes we have some of the greatest men and women of God within our convention.

Someone might say, "But if the little guy is being bullied, then the only thing we can do is strike back!" No, it is not. The gracious person does not need to strike back at all. He needs to endure his affliction, keep speaking the truth, and love everyone, including those who mistreat him.

That is so opposite of the world's pattern it confuses them.

And it is by this that people will know you and I are the disciples of Christ.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Christie said...

I am reminded of 1 Peter 3:15 -"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

Thanks for the reminder Wade and for the gracious spirit you display.

Bob Cleveland said...

When we resort to our own resources, when "fight or flight" takes over, we leave God out of the picture.

In the midst of the worst personal attack I ever experienced, God spoke to me what He'd said to Moses as he stood before the Red Sea, with unhappy Jews around him and angry Egyptians thundering up on horses.

Exodus 14:13-14: But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."(NAS)

If we know we're about the Lord's business, we don't have to "win" anything. That thought has freed me to just do what's right. And it bears re-repeating .. the only way I know to do Jesus' work is the same way He'd do it.

Anonymous said...


Well said. Nothing takes the sword out of your hand faster than taking a look at the Master's face and seeing disapproval in His eyes.

As the tone of some of my comments has probably caused offense to some, I ask your forgiveness. Zeal without wisdom is foolish. Our enemy is not each other, it is sin. As we have seen recently, committing sin in an effort to root out perceived sin is still sin--just as bad, just as wrong, just as separating from Christ.

There is a remedy for sin--that's the good news!!! Jesus Christ can fix and use broken, dirty vessels and we can still be used by Him to reach this world. He is the all powerful one, and all grace, love and forgiveness flows from His Spirit.

Fix this broken, dirty vessel, Lord--again.

I am very thankful for this forum to share with and engage in debate with brothers and sisters in Christ. Wade, if nothing else comes of all this, the chance to meet all of you in cyber-land has blessed me immensely, and placed welcome breaks in my day to speak to other believers about Christ and Christian issues. I even get to preach on days other than Sunday!

Thanks again, Wade, for your wise words. BTW, how'd your revival go?


wadeburleson.org said...


Love your spirit and your humility.

We had a wonderful revival!

True revival. Tuesday night's service went two and a half hours with a real move of God.

Thanks for asking Greg,


Clif Cummings said...

We must live what we preach. Just this past Sunday, my message included these words: "Divine love is composed of two ingredients... doing and enduring.
Jesus not only went about doing good (healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, fed the hungry, comforted the mourner, He died on the cross, He forgave our sins) He also ENDURED... mockery, insults, betrayal, injustice, sorrow, physical pain, separation from His Heavenly Father, and death itself. That is what love really is. It is doing good and enduring evil.
If we have the Holy Spirit within us, we have been given this divine love!"

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9

Wade, thank you for your example of doing and enduring. I know you will recieve this humbly - because as I have heard you say often: "but by the grace of God, there go I".

Anonymous said...

Said like a Saint . . .
". . . to ALL in Rome (and Bloggersville) who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God for all for you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. . . ." Rn.1:7-8 NIV
.....and I had to stop there, for though I really have been praying for most of those who've been bloggin' along with some who haven't, I won't my whole heart to be in my service and preaching of the gospel.... but, I know me, so let it suffice to say; You folks bless me greatly by your open give and take.... I believe that will "translate" as it permeates the tone of our Convention deliberations!
Glory! (In whatever tongue, glossaise or dilectos) It is wonderful to know HIM and to make HIM known!

Oberon said...

......and our weapons against evil shall be Truth and Love.