From “Changes that Heal”, Part 1 – Dr Henry Cloud.
I read Dr Cloud’s book, and just had to outline some of the major points (so I wouldn’t forget) – you have to read the book yourself.
Part 1 of the book is titled “Three Ingredients of Growth”. As the post title implies, they are Grace, Truth, and Time. To me, growth means becoming more like Jesus.
John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth“.
John 1:17 – “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is not earned and it’s not something we deserve. Another definition is that it is unconditional love and acceptance. I think the biggest difference between grace and “just love” is that grace implies acceptance of people just the way they are. So, grace is the relational aspect of God’s character- he loves us unconditionally and accepts us just the way we are. Grace should also be displayed as part of our relationship with others.
Truth is what is real. It’s not what we believe is real. It’s not what we wish was real. It’s what’s real in the eyes of God. Truth is the structural aspect of God’s character. He created order out of the chaos, He created the universe in all it’s complexities.
I think if we had God’s eyes, we’d see the real truth. But we are fallen and imperfect, and we are not God, so we don’t have the perspective, but we do have his Word.
Grace without Truth
Grace without Truth is called License or Permissiveness. Grace requires truth, otherwise we will keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Grace will always be gracious to forgive over and over again, but growth will not occur because we don’t learn any truth. Grace alone keeps us ignorant of what the real problem is.
Truth without Grace
Truth without Grace is called Judgement or Condemnation. Truth requires grace, otherwise it will be mean, full of shame and guilt, and ultimately brings death. Truth alone is unforgiving and legalistic. In truth alone there is no growth, because the truth is we are fallen creatures and will never achieve perfection in the law.
Growth takes time. It takes time being immersed in both Grace and Truth.
The keyword is both. Truth without Grace or Grace without Truth are both dead ends. To grow to be more like Christ, we need both truth and grace, and the time it takes for God to transform us into His image.