Day: December 12, 2022

Grace and Truth (John 1:17)

1.0 The Statement

John 1:17 (NKJV) “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The proper understanding of “the Law through Moses” and “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” is important to our Christian walk

Moses – Old CovenantJesus – New Covenant
1. The Law is given1. Grace and Truth came
2. By or through Moses2. By or through Jesus Christ
3. The Mediator of the Old Covenant3. The Mediator of the New Covenant
4. The Law is given – to the Person4. Grace and Truth is Personified
5. To the Nation of Israel5. To the Church

John 1:17, the Law (of Moses) is not contrasted with Grace but with “Grace and Truth” in perfect balance in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. If it is “Grace” only, it may lead the Person/Church into antinomianism (antinomianism comes from two other words: “anti {against}” and “nomos {the Law}” with the danger that the Individual/Church could twist “the Grace of God into lewdness (lasciviousness) and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4b), which is apostasy (2Thessalonians 2:3a – “The Great Falling Away”); and if it is “Truth” only the danger is that the Individual/Church turns it into letterism or legalism which is the other extremes (2Corinthians 3:6 – “letter {legalism} kills”). One of the best illustrations of the balance of “Grace and Truth” in Jesus Christ is found in John 8:2-11. 

1.1 The Setting

The Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery – John 8:3a (NKJV) “Then the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him (Jesus) a woman caught in adultery.” They brought the adulterous woman without the male Adulterer (which is against the Law – Leviticus 20:10) to Jesus as He was teaching in the Temple precincts – John 8:2, 3b (NKJV) “Now early in the morning He (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and He sat down and taught them…….And they had set her (the adulterous woman) in the midst.”

1.2 The Confrontation

The Scribes and the Pharisees represented the Law of Moses – they uphold Moses by presenting the adulterous woman to Jesus (“Grace and Truth” Personified – John 1:17) and wanted to know what Jesus has to say: John 8:4, 5 (NKJV) “They said to Him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the Law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” The Scribes and the Pharisees set out “to trap” and so as to accuse Jesus of not fully upholding the Mosaic Law – John 8:6a (NKJV) “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.” The Scribes and Pharisees professed to uphold the Law of Moses and used it against Jesus (“Grace and Truth” Personified – John 1:17). Jesus stooped down and began to write on the ground (John 8:6b); He made as though He did not hear them, as He (Jesus) knew their motives, as He knew the heart of them (John 2:24, 25). The Scribes and Pharisees kept at Jesus – John 8:7a (NKJV) “So when they continued asking Him.” Jesus stood up and challenged them: John 8:7b (NKJV) “He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus stood again and continued writing on the ground (John 8:8).  

1.3 The Conviction

Jesus now gave the challenge depended on the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin on the Scribes and Pharisees (John 16:8-11). The Scribes and the Pharisees, after hearing Jesus’ challenge, were convicted in their conscience left one by one from the oldest to the last – John 8:9a (NKJV) “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last” (Romans 2:12-16, 22a). Jesus was left with the adulterous woman, none of the Scribes and the Pharisees picked up the stone and stoned her – John 8:9b (NKJV) “And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

1.4 Grace and Truth

The Scribes and the Pharisees were convicted by the Holy Spirit with the Law of Moses and the Law of Conscience (John 8:9b); then, Jesus stood up and saw that the Scribes and the Pharisees have all left and asked the woman: “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10). Although the woman was guilty of the adulterous affair, nevertheless, the Law cannot condemn her alone without the adulterous man – Leviticus 20:10b (NKJV) “The adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The woman answered Jesus: “No one Lord!” (John 8:11a). The grand climax of this episode; here we see “Grace and Truth” Personified in Jesus – Jesus said to her: “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11b) – Jesus did not condemn her because she has already been judged by the Law of Moses, when the Scribes and Pharisees brought her before a Rabbi (Jesus) – Jesus spoke His Forgiveness, that is GRACE; but Jesus added: “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11c) – that is TRUTH. Grace and Truth met together in perfect balance in the Person of Jesus Christ John 1:17b (NKJV) “But grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Psalm 85:10). This Principle is also found in the Pauline Romans Epistle: “Moreover, the Law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more; so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reigned through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…….What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! (God forbid! KJV). How shall we who have died to sin live any longer therein” (Romans 5:20, 21; 6:1, 2, 15, NKJV); if Jesus had only said, “Neither do I condemn you,” without adding “Go and sin no more” – the woman could have taken Jesus’ statement as saying that Jesus did not condemn her for her adulterous act, and that she could go on living an adulterous lifestyle. Jesus applied both “Grace and Truth” to the woman, because Jesus is “Grace and Truth” (1John 1:17b). Grace always reigns through righteousness but is joined to Truth; Grace is never divorced from Truth – this is sound theology!!