Grace, Truth, and Tolerance
“Rightly understood, tolerance is a trait we should all excel in. If tolerance means granting people the right to be wrong, we of all people ought to be known for our tolerance.
Unfortunately, that’s not what tolerance means today. The word has been redefined. It no longer means granting others the right to be wrong. It now means that nobody is wrong. Those who dare to claim that some behaviors are actually morally wrong are written off as intolerant bigots.” Larry Osborne
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
For those of us who are Christ followers in the Western world, we have an ongoing tension. Many segments of the Church have accepted the Political Correctness that pervades our society and have adopted a form of tolerance that just wants to make everybody feel good. Of course, the danger here is that in striving to make everyone “feel” accepted, we are compromising the Truth of the Gospel.
On the other hand, there are other Christians that have the reputation for being harsh and judgmental. There is no tolerance for those who do not believe the way that they do. The Truth is the only thing that is important. The message of grace is ignored in favor of a message of judgment.
In reality, the Gospel, the message of Christianity, has always been equal parts grace and equal parts truth. The truth is that we all are in need of a Savior. None of us can save ourselves. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the other but by me.” (John 14:6) This is not a politically correct Bible verse. It might makes some people angry or uncomfortable.
Christians, however, believe that Jesus is the Ultimate Truth and his resurrection from the dead confirmed his authority to make some of these “outlandish” claims. For those of us who are Christ followers, this is a non-negotiable in the Gospel we preach and live. There are not multiple ways to God. If Jesus is who he said he was and if God really raised him from the dead, we can rest assured that he is God’s way to bring salvation to the world.
This message of truth, though, is always preached, taught, and lived by God’s amazing grace. Grace is really the answer to almost every question. None of us can ever earn God’s favor so we all need his grace. While God’s truth says that Jesus is the only way to God, God’s grace says that everyone is eligible. God’s grace says that we don’t have to work for our salvation if we will only believe and yield our lives to Christ.
The other amazing aspect of God’s grace is that he will never force anyone to follow that does not want to. No one has to believe anything that they find disagreeable. People can live their lives however they want. That is the beauty and power of free will. For sure, there are eternal consequences to those who reject God. That is also part of the message of grace and truth that Christians have proclaimed for 2000 years!
Annie and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. You can be a part of our team as we train leaders and help plant churches. Just click here to get involved. Obrigado!