“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).
The Lord is teaching me a lot. In fact, He is shifting my understanding of grace and truth to become more like His, and it is quite a journey. The biggest lesson I have learned over the past week is that grace and truth correlate. They are necessary complements. One causes the other, and vis versa.
As I mentioned in Part 1, my discipler Tiffany suggested that I read Galatians all the way through to get a solid picture of what God intends for grace and truth in our lives. Reading Galatians actually caused me to completely reframe my search to understanding both the correspondence and contrast of the law and faith in the gospel. I realized that truth does not necessarily mean law, and grace is not the same thing as having faith. Let me define these now to my best understanding:
Grace: unmerited favor; getting something you don’t deserve.
Faith: belief in something you cannot see; trust.
Truth: the Bible, the gospel, Jesus’s teachings.
Law: the rules, commandments.
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). It’s so simple! It’s not some kind of delicate balance; while too much of anything (except faith in Jesus!) is usually not the best idea, we need lots of grace, and lots of truth in our fellowship with the Lord.
I want to move forward knowing that grace and truth work together, not separately, to share a few brief thoughts on Galatians. I mentioned faith and the law because they are the two main topics Paul addresses throughout the letter, and their contrast could not be more apparent:
“yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16)
“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2)
“But the law is not of faith…” (Galatians 3:12)
I think this is a pretty basic concept that we can understand as Christians. Being a good person and doing good things has no significance in our relationship with God, but rather, a dependence, trust, and faith in His sovereignty is where we find fellowship with Him. Tiffany showed me this article which provides a lot of clarity on the distinction between the gospel and the law.
So, what about grace and truth? To put it simply: God’s grace has set us free. We can rest in the truth of our salvation and understanding of our brokenness and need for a Savior. Our faith empowers us to obey, and when we are filled by the Spirit we want to obey the law. I used to be stuck on the idea that I had to try harder, pray harder, and somehow accumulate more faith in order to overcome sin. Paul explains in Galatians that God will be faithful when we pursue Him, and that “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).
I still don’t have the answers I initially expected when I had the questions of grace and truth spinning in my head, but I’m realizing now that I don’t need them. God is working intentionally in my heart, and I am giving my life to Him each day. He will show me what I need to know, and if I spend more time with Him, I will see more obedience and less sin in my life. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
If you want to learn more about being filled by the Spirit, click here.