The Spirit of Grace and Truth

by David A. Huston

This paper is presented to encourage God’s people to reject law as a basis for ministry and life and to embrace the Spirit of grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17-18

AS SPIRIT-FILLED PEOPLE, we are zealous to see the work of God go forth in the earth. But we must remember that whatever is accomplished in God’s kingdom without the direct participation of God Himself will prove in the end to be hollow, worthless, and void of any eternal consequences. God told us this when He declared, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). Jesus reiterated this idea when He stated, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

God works in the earthly realm by means of His Spirit. This is why just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus told His disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me...” (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God is God’s power in action. It is the power to transform flawed and powerless human beings into godly and powerful witnesses of Christ.

The Spirit of God is also called “the Spirit of grace” and “the Spirit of truth” (Hebrews 10:29; John 14:17). This is why we read that when Jesus came into the world, He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Grace and truth are the life-giving elements of God’s Spirit. They are the power of God at work in the human heart. When people receive the Holy Spirit, they are being empowered to impart grace and truth to others. And when people receive grace and truth from a Spirit-filled believer, they are receiving the power of God to transform their lives.

The Bible says that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3). This tells us that the grace and truth of God are all-sufficient. What God supplies is all we need. He is El Shaddai, the God who supplies whatever is needed.

The Bible also says that we are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). The grace and truth of God are able to preserve us and protect us until the day of ultimate redemption arrives. Grace keeps our hearts right and truth keeps our heads right. “In this,” writes Peter, “we greatly rejoice” (v.6).

Grace and truth working together form what the Bible calls “love.” As the Scripture says, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). Grace without truth is like a sailboat in the wind without a rudder. Truth without grace is like a sailboat with a rudder but no wind. But when grace and truth work together, people will be moved to go forward in God in the right direction. This is the love that never fails.

Grace and truth are imparted primarily by our words and actions. Those of us who have been filled with the Spirit are therefore admonished, “Let your speech always be with grace” and “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:25). We show people the love of God and empower them to be transformed into the image of Christ by showing them kindness, care, and concern (which is grace) and by being honest with them about God, about life, about themselves, and about ourselves (this is truth). Withholding truth from people never helps them grow. But giving people truth without also giving them plenty of grace never really helps them either. People need both grace and truth to grow. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies”—love is God’s power for growing His people (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Jesus was given the Holy Spirit without measure. He was therefore full of grace and truth. Let us strive to be like Him.

This article appeared in the April 2004 issue of The Pentecostal Herald.


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Copyright © 2003 David Huston

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All Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible, copyright 1990 by Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN, unless otherwise indicated.

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