At this point, after having exposed Grace, Jesus shifts gears and makes the conversation personal. His goal is to demonstrate her need for the gift of Grace he was talking about, without making her feel the shame and rebuke society has placed on her.

It is VERY important to note that Jesus knows her. He knows her life, her thoughts, her feelings, her past, her sins, her insecurities and her fears. He had the  'advantage' of being God and being able to see her heart. For us to attain that level of intimacy with the people we are talking to requires an enormous amount of listening, asking questions and showing genuine care for their lives.

It is by listening and caring for others that will bring them to listen and care about what we have to say. Not the other way around. We cannot expect people to listen to us just because we have the Bible. The pill of Truth cannot be swallowed without the water of Grace. 

Jesus, the three-times holy God, was speaking with a six-times sinful woman by a well. Knowing the depth of her depravity, there are so many statements He could have uttered to her at that point. 

He could have said:
  • Do you not know who I am ? I am perfect ! and you most certainly are not.
  • Do you know how many times I have watched you sin ? how many times you have hurt me ?
  • How could you have done all you did ?
  • How could you look at yourself in the mirror ?
  • Aren't you ashamed of yourself ?
  • Don't you see what you've become ?
  • Don't you see how others see you ?
  • Don't you realize the sin you are in ?
  • Didn't you know that sexual sins is the worst kind of sin ?
  • Don't you think you deserve the social rebuking done to you ?
  • Five husbands ? That's disgusting !
  • You're living with someone who isn't your husband now ? In sin ?
  • How can anyone ever love you again ?
  • Don't you know what the Law says about you ?
  • What would 'your father' Jacob say if he saw you now ?
  • You know someone like me shouldn't be talking to someone like you right ? I'm doing you a favor!
  • You know you are going to hell right ?
Sound familiar ? Those judgments leave our lips and or enter our ears far too often.

Amazingly and against all expectations, he doesn't say anything remotely close to that.

John 4:16: Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 
18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 

What just happened ?

He makes a request knowing well what her state is. She answers back, truthfully I might add, probably looking at the ground in shame. Then Jesus does something remarkable. He states the fullness of her sin and then... stops!

He doesn't go into a long tirade about the gravity of the sin, about the depth of her depravity or about the guilt she should be feeling. He could have done so, He is God! Rather, He states it as it is and then changes the subject to talk about worship.

Jesus demonstrates that there is a line where it becomes important to stop when diving into the past. He does not shy away, belittle or bury the sin. That's Truth. He addresses it and shows her that the gift is for her... and then moves on to her other concerns. 

That's Grace.
One of the most dramatic expressions of Grace is Forgiveness. When I am forgiven, the rain of Grace quenches the depths of my inadequacies and fills me with immeasurable hope. 

But when it is I that should forgive another, help another who has deeply wronged me to feel that same grace and hope, I simply don't know how. I often feel that the wound is too deep, to important. I desire to forgive but I have problems forgetting and trusting.

So what is forgiveness ? How do I dispense Grace when I forgive ? Should I pretend as if nothing ever happened ? If so, how do I protect myself from it happening again ?

That's why this video speaks volumes to me. It is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer series by Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington on September 19, 2010. It lists 10 things that forgiveness is NOT.

Here they are in order. Forgiveness is NOT:
1. Approving or diminishing
2. Enabling sin
3. Denying a wrongdoing
4. Waiting for an apology
5. Forgetting
6. Ceasing to feel the pain
7. A one time event
8. Neglecting justice
9. Trusting
10. Reconciliation

This has helped me apply Grace, as well as Truth, in understanding how I am forgiven, as well as how I should forgive others.
I believe transmitting God's Grace to the next generation is the most important priority a parent can have. It is also the most difficult. How do I teach them about God's amazing gift to us ? How do I remain consistent in balancing Truth and Grace in my kids' education ? 

Enter Deuteronomy 6:20-27. God tells Moses how to address His sacred legacy, Grace and Truth. From the paraphrased version The Message (in italics):

The next time your child asks you, "What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?" 
GG: When my kids ask why I believe what I believe, why I want to obey God...

tell your child, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. 
GG: I remind them of my initial state and what God's Grace did for me...

We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. 
GG: I did nothing to earn His miraculous and wonderful Grace. God did it all, and it was beautiful...

He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. 
GG: I remind myself where I was and to where I have been led, as wel as how He is faithful to His promises...

That's why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come. "It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do."
GG: And because of the inexplicable Grace God has given me, I will obey Him, live reverently before Him, thankful of the good life He has provided for me.

It's Grace. And that, kids, is why I obey God's Truth.
The premise of this series is to crawl through the biblical text and determine how each of God's actions were full of Truth and Grace, the 2 characteristics describing Jesus in John 1:14,17. 

We often think that God was 'justice' in the Old Testament and was 'love' in the New Testament. Nothing could be further from the truth. I hope this series will help show that God never changed and was equally Truth and Grace from the very beginning.

Truth was God's standard, Grace gave man choice
Truth saw that wickedness of man was great on the earth, Grace grieved
Truth pronounced judgement on all living things, Grace found favor in Noah
Truth gave Noah specific instructions, Grace gave him promises
Truth applied the judgment and made it rain to drown all living things, Grace waited for the ark to finish and be full, and closed the door behind Noah and his family
Truth killed all living things, Grace saved Noah, his family and the animal species
Truth surrounded Noah with rain and water, Grace remembered him, restrained the rain, gave him an olive-leaf, dried up the earth and made it livable
Truth brought Noah to offer a sacrifice of clean animals, Grace accorded favour to Noah and promised the earth's continuity
Truth established its initial laws, Grace established its covenant and made the rainbow its symbol
Truth found Noah naked, Grace had 2 of his sons cover him
Truth applied Noah's curse to Ham and Canaan, Grace multiplied the sons of Noah on the earth and gave them the land

The premise of this series is to crawl through the biblical text and determine how each of God's actions were full of Truth and Grace, the 2 characteristics describing Jesus in John 1:14,17. 

We often think that God was 'justice' in the Old Testament and was 'love' in the New Testament. Nothing could be further from the truth. I hope this series will help show that God never changed and was equally Truth and Grace from the very beginning. 

Truth created the world, Grace made it good for man
Truth created the world in order, Grace created man, in His image, at the end of the order so man could benefit from it
Truth created the world in six days, Grace rested the seventh day
Truth created the world, Grace gave man dominion over it and blessed him
Truth created and forbade the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, Grace created and gave the Tree of Life and whole Garden of Eden
Truth put man in the Garden to work and keep it, Grace gave him a helper called Eve, and created marriage
Truth gave man specific instructions in the Garden, Grace walked with him everyday
Truth forbade them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Grace gave man the freedom to choose
Truth revealed man's nakedness, Grace killed an animal, provided man with coats of skins and covered his sin
Truth shamed man into hiding, Grace sought them out
Truth pronounced judgment on Adam and Eve, Grace spared their lives, clothed them, prophesised of the coming hope in Christ, gave them a family
Truth rejoiced in Abel's offering and rejected Cain's, Grace told Cain how to do right offerings
Truth pronounced judgment on Cain, Grace spared his life, protected him and gave him a family
Truth brought death to Adam's seed, Grace gave them many many years
Truth was Enoch's guide, Grace took him before he died
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The 'Grace and Christ' series focuses on the aspects of His ministry on Earth and how He demonstrated Grace.

It is as interesting to see the way Christ demonstrated Grace to others and dispensed truth at the same time. This series will analyse these interactions and see the measure of Grace and Truth in every word he spoke.

But before that, there is one particular group that Christ had very little Grace for. It has fascinated me as to why thieves, prostitutes and killers deserved His Grace, but the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes ? They received very little Grace and mostly truthful judgments close to 40 times in the Gospels.

We can read the interactions of Christ with them in the following passages:
Matt 12:34, 39, 15:7, 16:4, 19:8, 21:12,13, 22:18, 23:3, 13 - 37
Mark 3:5, 5:40, 7:6, 11:15, 12:15, 24, 27, 38
Luke 11:29-52, 12:1, 56, 13:15, 32, 34, 16:14

He openly called them brood of vipers, self-righteous, hypocrites, hard-hearted, blind guides, white-washed or unmarked tombs, wicked and an evil generation.  

So why was He so hard on them ? The answer is found in James 4:6 : But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The Pharisees had pride.

Pride to believe they knew God more than Christ. Pride to prioritise some parts of the law above others. Pride to make up laws above God's laws. Pride to try to bait Christ publicly to ridicule Him. Pride to impose rules on others but not on themselves. Pride to judge others instead of looking at their own hearts. Pride to not want to see the Grace that was before them. Pride to refuse to hear the Truth that was taught to them. Pride to plot and kill Him instead of giving in to Him.

When I look in the mirror, are there things there that resemble reasons as to why Christ refused Grace to the Pharisees ? I want Grace. I need Grace. I crave Grace. So I will learn from their example and take it as caution for my life.

Pride. It's the Grace-killer.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The 'Grace and Christ' series focuses on the aspects of His ministry on Earth and how He demonstrated Grace.

Grace is linked with Truth, Justice and Righteousness.
- Truth 2Sa 15:20, Ps 61:7, 85:10, 89:14, Pr 3:3, 14:22, 16:6, 20:28, Ho 4:1, Mic 7:20, Jn 1:14,17, Col 1:6
- Righteousness Ps 33:5, 112:4, 116:5, Pr 21:21, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 10:12, Ro 5:17, 21
- Justice Ps 33:5, 101:1, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 12:6, Mic 6:8, Zc 7:9
Grace and Truth are two sides to the same coin. Randy Alcorn calls it the 'two wings on a bird'. They may seem contradictory, but they are actually complimentary and demonstrated in Christ's daily ministry. Everything He did had an element of Truth and an element of Grace.
Here's how they are complimentary:
- Truth identifies the fault, Grace covers it
- Truth establishes God's holiness, Grace establishes God's love
- Truth declares the absolute, Grace reconciles me with it
- Truth is the road to follow, Grace is the transportation
- Truth gives the need for God, Grace gives the hope and the way to God through Christ
- Truth is the standard, Grace is the relationship
- Truth sends the judgement, Grace provides the shelter
- Truth hates the sin, Grace loves the sinner
- Truth is the 'what i say and live', Grace is the 'how I say and live'
- Truth is the content, Grace is the format
- Truth is the words, Grace is the tone
- Truth demands a sacrifice, Grace provides it
- Truth holds up the mirror and shows one clothed in sin, Grace changes the reflection and shows one clothed on Christ
- Truth shows us the right choice, Grace gives us the freedom to choose, and forgives us when the choice is wrong
- Truth does not shy away from announcing itself with conviction, Grace says it with love
- Truth condemns the sinner because of his sin, Grace saves the repentant sinner despite of his sin 
Grace. It's hand in hand with Truth.

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