The Message of Grace

Exploring the Wonder of God's Grace

Grace and Truth: A Response to Craig Groeschel

A Response to Craig Groeschel’s Devotional on John 1:14
I appreciate what Craig Groeschel has done. Just the YouVersion alone is a tremendous accomplishment of his church and him. Thank you Craig!
However, I must take Craig to task for his YouVersion devotional video of December 22, 2022, with thoughts given concerning John 1:14. I wanted to share the video, or link to it, here, but you’ll have to go to YouVersion to see it for yourself as I couldn’t find a way to share the video from the app.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NAS95)
In it, he makes a common error of our age. He contrasts grace and truth like these are in competition with each other. He uses examples of “truthers,” those whose kids go wild once they are on their own as they’ve had all truth and very little grace. Then he talks about those who emphasize grace rather than truth and become relativists.
I understand what he is saying, or, rather, attempting to say. The problem is that he is using a completely wrong exegesis and application of the Scriptures.
Grace are truth are not in tension with each other at all. Jesus was 100% full of grace and truth!
The tension is not between grace and truth. Rather, it is this way:
  • Grace versus works. The antonym of grace is works.
  • Truth versus falsehood. The antonym of truth is a lie, a falsehood.
  • Faith is involved in both.
When we begin to understand grace, we stop trusting (having faith in) ourselves and trust God.
When we begin to understand truth, we stop trusting ourselves (what we think is right) and trust God and His Word.
If we define and understand grace and truth Biblically, we cannot have too much of either! Grace and truth are not against each other; neither are they mutually exclusive in any way.
which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;” (Colossians 1:6 NAS95)
Back to Craig’s examples. The legalists (as he calls them) become legalists not by believing, accepting and teaching truth; but by warping the truth into a set of laws they can keep, either earning their acceptance with God, or maintaining it. This tramples grace and truth! The emphasis becomes works (trusting oneself) over faith.
But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, (Romans 4:5)
Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, (Romans 9:32)
But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.” (2 Corinthians 8:7)
Likewise, the relativists, according to Craig, have too much grace and not enough truth. This can’t be! They have a unbiblical view of grace, and are lacking in truth. Grace is the unmerited favor of God bestowed upon a person through that person believing, having faith, in what God has said (truth). Often the error made here is a confusion of God’s grace with us being gracious. When God’s truth is presented, it is harsh to the unsaved person. God’s grace isn’t there to soften the blow; it is there to provide a way of escape through faith in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
A verse that I’ve often used as my email signature over the years is John 1:17.
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 NAS95)
The believer in Jesus Christ has received grace and truth. Legalists don’t have too much truth; they have too much false and have actually, often unknowingly, rejected truth! Relativists (Craig’s term) don’t have too much grace; they misunderstand grace, and distrust God’s Word about the seriousness of sin and man’s condition without Christ.

“…and whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23 NAS95)