I am one of those weird people that like school and I always want to be a life-long learner. When it comes to studying Scripture, my hope is to attain a posture of humility knowing that there are depths of understanding that I have not reached. With this being said, some topics are complex and challenging to understand but there are still foundational concepts we should seek to comprehend. The controversy of “balance” in grace and truth is one of those concepts. Some would say that grace is, in essence, truth and will often embrace the extreme of emphasizing one over the other. Or they may state that each is basically one in the same. But how can we take such a simplistic approach when Scripture makes a distinction. One author put it so well by explaining that grace and truth are like a birds wings. Both are distinctively essential and work together in perfect symmetry however, one cannot fly if one of the wings is diminished or weakened.
I understand the concern of using “balance” as a way to dilute one’s understanding of God’s grace. I certainly do not want to be responsible for contributing to a works-based mentality. God forbid! But we must not put the concept of balance on a blacklist and immediately marginalize those who truly desire to understand and embrace the fullness that grace and truth envelop. Balance is the fullness of both. Randy Alcorn says it well:
If we minimize grace, the world sees no hope for salvation. If we minimize truth, the world sees no need for salvation. To show the world Jesus, we must offer unabridged grace and truth, emphasizing both, apologizing for neither. The Colossian church “understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6)
Truth is quick to post warning signs and guardrails at the top of the cliff. Yet it fails to empower people to drive safely–and neglects to help them when they crash.
Grace is quick to post ambulances and paramedics at the bottom of the cliff. But without truth, it fails to post warning signs and build guardrails. In so doing, it encourages the very self-destruction it attempts to heal.
- Randy Alcorn, The Grace & Truth Paradox