Grace and truth – opposites or a unity?

”For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (Jn. 1:17)

You might have heard someone preach something like this from this well-known verse: “Sure, Jesus came with grace, but he also came with truth! We can’t only talk about God’s grace all the time – we also have to tell people the truth that they must stop sinning. Only the truth will set them free. Stop sinning!”

Don’t get me wrong – we should absolutely avoid sinning. However, this verse is often preached as if grace and truth were each other’s opposites. If we study the verse carefully in its context, we will discover that grace and truth stand together, as opposed to the law of Moses. The law came through Moses, while grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace, truth, and Jesus are on the same side, while the law and Moses are on the opposite side!

In the original Greek, the word “came” in “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”, is translated as a singular verb. This shows that grace and truth are a unity, and not two separate things. Had grace and truth been two separate things, the word “came” would had been written as a plural verb. Grace and truth are thus connected; they are one intertwined entity.

The word for “truth” in the original Greek could also be translated “reality”. Using the word “reality” instead of “truth”, the whole verse reads: 

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and reality came through Jesus Christ”.

In other words: the reality (or truth) about God’s grace came through Jesus Christ!

The Old Covenant, based on the law of Moses, was a performance-based system in which man was rewarded, or punished, in relation to how good or bad he/she had behaved. The reason God for a limited time period gave the law, was for it to make mankind, through the example of the Jewish people, come to the end of itself and give up. The purpose was to make us realize our sinfulness, so that we would stop trusting in our own performance and instead only put our trust in Jesus.

Jesus, who is the mediator of a new and better covenant – the New Covenant – came to reveal the truth about God’s grace, to show us the reality about who really God is: That God is love. That God is full of grace. That God is just like Jesus.

No matter what background or history you may have – maybe you have been the worst sinner the world has ever seen, or maybe you have been a religious legalist believing that you are better than everyone else. No matter what, the truth is that God is full of grace toward you. He loves you with an unconditional love, irrespective of your current circumstances.

Put your trust in God’s grace today. Believe in His unconditional love for you. Jesus, who is grace and truth personified, is close to everyone who calls on His name.


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