This is the fourth post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

As I continue to wrestle with this idea of boldly proclaiming Truth, I started to wonder: "Where does Grace fit into the equation?  When should I extend Grace if I'm supposed to be unwavering in my in-toleration of evil?  Should I ever let people 'off the hook' for the wrong they have done?  It seems rather mean and hateful if all I do is tell people what they're doing wrong and that they need to repent.  Jesus granted us Grace - or a pardon that we don't deserve - so when should I overlook someone's wrongdoing?"

The questions seem valid, right?  However, they couldn't be more deceptive.

The questions I proposed are not wrong.  In fact that is the direct process I went through when searching how grace fits into this idea of speaking the Truth.  But we've got it backwards.  Grace is Truth.  Therefore, it cannot be removed from speaking the Truth.

Here's what I mean.

Speaking the Truth boldly (stating out what is right and what is wrong) is exactly what the Pharisees did during Jesus' day.  They walked around pointing out the different things the people weren't doing right.  But instead of saying, "What you're doing is wrong, but there's a way to change that," they just said, "You're wrong," and left it at that.

Jesus called these Pharisees "hypocrites" and "white-washed tombs."  And when I point out the things people are doing wrong and leave it at that, I am no better off than the Pharisees.

Truth by itself - the knowledge of right and wrong - says, "You messed up.  Do better next time."  Grace says, "You messed up.  Will you let me help you?"  Now the choice is ours: Will we accept help from Grace or will we reject it?

Grace works hand-in-hand with Truth, saying, "You've messed up.  You're wrong.  But there's a way to do it right."  Grace kneels down in the pit of your sin and reaches out His hand.  When you grab Grace's hand, He takes the thing you did wrong and throws it away, like it never even happened.  Then Grace says, "Now follow Me down the path of right-living."

You see?  Grace and Truth work together.  Truth says what is right and what is wrong, while Grace offers hope of turning from what is wrong to what is right.

But, like everything in life, there is a choice involved.

Every morning I wake up, I have an immediate choice to make: to get out of bed or to stay in bed.  If I choose to get out of bed, I have a multitude of choices I can make: I can brush my teeth, eat breakfast, walk outside - literally almost anything you can think of.  The point is, we have the freedom to make choices.  Some choices harm us, some help us.  But either way, the choice is ours.

Likewise, one must choose Grace in order to be offered a second chance.

If one refuses Truth and chooses to do what they want and believe what they want, that is between them and God.  (The Truth is someday we will all be signed up for two divine appointments: Death and Judgment.)  If one sees the error in their ways that Truth has pointed out, then Grace stands at their doorstep, waiting to be taken hold of.  If one refuses Grace and decides to try to work their way back to right-standing with Truth, they will never make it.  It is a hopeless effort.  "For no one is righteous, not even one," reads Romans 3:10.  But if one does choose Grace, allowing their previous wrongs to be erased, starting fresh on the path of right-living, then they have chosen wisely.  They have chosen the way of Repentance and Life.  They have also been pardoned by God on Judgment Day.

Perhaps this last illustration will be the most helpful in understanding this connection between Grace and Truth.

I really love musicals.  I know that may not seem very macho and manly, which I like to consider myself to be, but it's the truth.  Some of my favorites are: The Fiddler on the RoofThe Sound of MusicSeven Brides for Seven Brothers, and The Phantom of the Opera.  There is one that has risen to the top of my list just recently, however, and that is Les Miserables.

In Les Mis, as it is often referred, there is a dichotomy between two characters named Javert and Jean Valjean.  Javert is an upstanding, self-righteous sheriff (of sorts) who takes his job of upholding the law very seriously.  In fact, Jean Valjean is one of his prisoners, sentenced to over a decade of forced labor because he stole one loaf of bread.  Javert is determined that every crime be paid for by the perpetrator.

Jean Valjean is finally let out on parole, but he must carry papers with him stating that he is a convicted criminal.  This makes it very hard for him to get any work and soon he is taken in by a priest at a church because he has nowhere else to go.  At the church, he is fed and given a warm bed for the night.  Jean Valjean, being a desperate man at this point, leaves the church during the night after stealing all of the silver from the church.  He doesn't get far, though, and is soon caught and brought back to the church with the silver.  The scene that follows is heart-wrenching.  Watch and see for yourself:

(Video courtesy of Les Miserables, 2012.)

Throughout the rest of the musical, Jean Valjean emerges a changed man, saved by Grace.

In the end, Grace and Truth working together do more than just Truth working by itself.  While stating the Truth is necessary to be lead to right-standing with God, it will be futile if not coupled with Grace, which has the power to change lives.

In John 1:17, John the disciple writes, "The law was given through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ."  Let us give up pointing out others' flaws - or even your own - and realize that while the Truth of right and wrong makes us aware of sin, Grace saves us from it!

Join us next time to see another one of Truth's Heroes in action and discover what it means to stand up for what's right - no matter what!

Sin can't be tolerated.  But Grace doesn't tolerate sin; it cancels sin!  Go beyond the normal today!