Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. In today’’s broadcast, we explore the relationship between grace and truth.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Grace and Truth
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John, Chapter 1, Verse 14
It is an amazing thing to see that
the dog keeps barking up
the same miserable tree.
Brothers and sisters, we know that our grasp of truth will never rise any higher than our faith. But sometimes our faith is insufficient to reach those heights of truth discernment we desire to reach. At such times, we need grace to bridge the gap. Grace bridges the gap between what we are required to do and what we desire and are able to do.
The Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. But how shall we obtain this perfection? How shall we obtain meanings and values of the relationships involved in obeying this command? How shall we sort out all of these meanings and values so they reflect the reality of our sonship with the heavenly Father and our relationship with our brothers and sisters? Who shall show us the way? How do we begin? What is the process of moving from imperfection to perfection? What is the Father’’s will and how do we recognize and do it? What outer evidence is there that we are in fact obeying this eternal command to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect?
We know that it is impossible to obtain material and intellectual perfection in this world, as these achievements are tied to the slowly accumulating body of material and intellectual knowledge of humanity. The Father is spiritual. And therefore our perfection is to be in the spirit. The Son of the spiritual Father took on the form of a human being and demonstrated the technique whereby mortal man may achieve moral and spiritual perfection. Jesus’’ life thus becomes the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus demonstrated that by dedicating and consecrating our will to the Father’’s will, we can obtain moral and spiritual perfection.
The emphasis on dedicating and consecrating our will to doing the Father’’s will is not made clear in the sacred book, no doubt because of the preoccupation of the disciples and believers with the so-called materialistic aspects of the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink but joy, peace, and righteousness in the spirit. The disciples longed for a material kingdom and believed that Jesus had come to bring this kingdom to fruition despite his many assertions that his kingdom was not of this world. And when he promised to return one day to the world, they took this to mean that he was coming back to establish the material kingdom. To them his resurrection validated their belief in him as the Son of God and therefore one who had the power to establish the material kingdom. His message of sonship with God was almost wholly eclipsed. "Behold what manner of the love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God." But Jesus clearly stated that we are to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect.
Now that we have established that the kingdom of heaven is a spiritual brotherhood of those who allow the Father to reign in their hearts, let us examine the process of this spiritual perfection and elements of achieving it.
The Father’’s will is the choice of the Father, the way of the Father. And we know that the Father’’s way is not the way of natural man, who is dedicated to doing his own will. The Father has said, "My thoughts are not your thoughts; and my way is not your way; and as high as heaven is from earth, so is my way from yours." Now that we see that there is a clear distinction between the Father’’s will and the will of man, how is the Father’’s will available for us to choose it? The Father’’s spirit, his will, dwells within us, along with the interpreter of that will, Jesus’’ Spirit of Truth. So with the Father’’s will living with us and the Son interpreting this will, and with the inherent free will to make choice, we are in a position to begin the process of knowing this will. By surrounding our souls with his Spirit of Truth, we are empowered to choose the Father’’s will over our own. By the grace of this will, by help, we can choose the values of the Father interpreted by his Son.
The Son reveals this will as choosing right from wrong, good over evil, truth over error. As we choose these values of truth and righteousness, we become them. We become like the Father and come to know him. By dedicating and consecrating our will to doing the Father’’s will, we place ourselves in the position to scale the heights of moral and spiritual perfection. By exercising faith, believing wholeheartedly, we can make the momentous transformation from the animal nature to the spiritual nature, transmuting potential values of divine perfection into actual values of perfection.
As we stare at this mountain of moral and spiritual growth, we become dismayed at the challenge of climbing to the top. Our moral legs and spiritual arms appear to be inadequate for such a humongous task. But with the reinforcement of grace of the Spirit of Truth, we actually gain the power to climb this mountain of ever-increasing perfection, not stopping until we reach the top and look over into the valley of spiritual beauty. "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and you will find rest for your souls.”” Jesus provides spiritual power to all those who labor at the task of achieving moral and spiritual perfection.
As we begin to climb this mountain, we leave behind a trail of actualized spiritual fruit, by-products of our transformation. Love, faith, goodness, meekness, gentleness, temperance, long-suffering, peace, and joy are to be found in the spiritual sweat that pours off us as we ascend. These spiritual fruits are the result of knowing and doing the Father’’s will. Is there anything that can defeat us from climbing this mountain? Can material or intellectual difficulties prevent us from being successful in our task of obeying the Father’’s mandate? The answer is no, despite the protests of the material mind. Nothing can defeat the soul that is wholeheartedly dedicated to doing the Father’’s will.
The command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect contains the power to obey it, while the Spirit of Truth contains the know-how as well as the necessary grace to bridge the gap of the potential divine values of perfection and the actual divine values of perfection. While our grasp of truth will never rise any higher than our faith, the ability of our faith to rise depends on our desire, grace, and mercy, all of which the Father freely supplies as needed.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the relationship between grace and truth. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry