For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
“I have no idea why justification is by faith alone,” said the hapless minister in story related to my class by Dr. Robert Reymond. The minister, it would seem, was a well intentioned but rather confused fellow.
“Good grief!,” Dr. Reymond continued, “the Bible tells right in Romans chapter 4 the reason why we’re justified by faith alone. ‘Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed…’ ”
The saints of God of justified – that is, they are declared righteous by God – not on the basis of their works, but on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, so that their salvation may be on the basis of God’s grace – that is, his unmerited favor – alone.
The redeemed have nothing to boast in except their great Savior. As the old hymn puts it, “Noting in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling.”
Grace is God’s giving his people, not what they deserve, but the blessings he has purposed for them out of the mere good pleasure of his will.
And nowhere is God’s grace more evident than in the birth of Christ Jesus, who, as Paul tells us, was “born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
In Christ, God has made a way to save his people. The law was given through Moses. And the law condemns us, for we all are guilty of violating it. In it, we have no hope. But Christ fulfilled the law perfectly. And those who believe in him are credited with his righteousness, that they may live for God.
And while it’s important to understand the graciousness of God’s grace, it is also important to remember that his grace is never apart from the truth.
Unlike what some modern day theologians would tell you, God does not speak to us through myth or falsehood. Those who say such things impugn the character of God by their words and bring condemnation upon themselves.
God speaks to us through his Word, and his Word is truth. Always.
Jesus declared that he himself was truth, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
How is it that Christ could say “I am the truth”? Doesn’t that seem to be a rather strange way to speak? We might say that so-and-so spoke the truth. But we don’t say of him “he is the truth.” Yet Jesus described himself, not as speaking the truth, but as truth itself.
The answer, I believe, lies in what Gordon Clark taught about truth and persons. Truth, as Clark insisted, is a characteristic of propositions only. A proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence.
For example, “The ball is red,” is a propositional statement, because it states that a certain property, in this case “red”, attaches to a certain subject, “the ball”. Now if we perceive that the ball is in fact red, we would say the proposition “The ball is red” is true. If, on the other hand, the ball appears green to us, we would say the statement is false.
But what do propositions have to do with the person of Christ? It has to do with how one defines a person. A person, in Clark’s definition, is a complex of propositions. Or to put it a little less philosophically, a person is the thoughts he thinks.
Christ could say of himself “I am the truth” because all his thoughts were true. And since a person is defined by his thoughts, it is proper for Jesus to speak of himself as “the truth.”
When Christ was born in Bethlehem all those years ago, it was the birth, not of one who merely spoke the truth, but of truth itself.
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