First, they do not understand the sovereignty of God. They fail to realize that God in His great and perfect wisdom works according to His pleasure, accomplishing His purposes to the glory of His name and has not sought counsel from men.
Secondly, they do not understand the condition of fallen sinners. God is holy and hates sin and He is under no obligation to those who are in rebellion against Him. If hH cast the whole human family into Hell, He would not be unjust or unfair. The person who expresses disappointment in God obviously feels they deserve special treatment and have not come to see their unworthiness.
By nature people are proud and self-righteous; they feel no need of grace. But when we get a glimpse of God’s holiness and then see our own sinfulness (as did the prophet Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up), we know our need is great.
Think of a man who stands before the judge in a court of law. He knows he is guilty. If the penalty is meted out he knows he must suffer the consequences of his actions. What he desires is not justice, but mercy and grace.
If you are one who knows you are a sinner and by nature stands condemned before God, the gospel of grace is good new to you.
What a comfort to read in chapter one of John’s gospel that Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth…and of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
You can joyfully sing the hymn:
Grace ‘tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear!
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the saints shall hear.
When God’s grace flows to sinners through Jesus Christ, it is not at the expense of justice. Because Jesus Christ laid down His life for guilty sinners and the wrath of God was poured out on Him, justice was satisfied on behalf of all those for whom He died. Now grace can be freely bestowed. Guilty sinners can be pardoned and are cleansed by the precious blood of the Lamb that was slain.
The theme of salvation by grace through Jesus Christ is repeated over and over again in the Scriptures. There was a controversy in the early church when some contended it was necessary to keep the law for salvation. When the apostles and elders came together and discussed the matter they made this declaration: “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they” (Acts 15:10-11).
How is it we are saved? It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was by grace that He went to the cross. It is by grace that we are justified.“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:23-27).
Man is forever looking for a place to boast. Some feel that they are not so bad. Some boast that they are at least better than others. Some boast in their good deeds. But God’s Word declares there is no place for man to boast in this matter of salvation.
Redemption is by grace. Calling is by grace. Justification is by grace. Even the faith by which one believes is by grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If you have come to believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior, it was not because your record was better, your heart was softer, or your mind was keener; it was because grace was given you.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (1 Timothy 1:9).
Language could not be plainer: salvation is not based on works. It is not man’s merit, his charitable deeds, his religious exercises or his free will; salvation is by free and sovereign grace. Since it is by grace that we are in Christ, and by grace that all that is necessary for salvation is given by Christ, Paul concludes, “According as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).
Our text tells us that both grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. He declared truth. He proclaimed the truth that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 3:17-18).
He spoke the truth that was given Him by the Father (John 8:28). And He is truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). These words offended many people when Jesus was here on earth and they still offend many today. The complaint is made, “This is too narrow. There must be other ways. To say that Jesus is the only way displays prejudice again other religions.”
But this is what Jesus the Son of God taught. There are not many ways. He is the way. He is the truth. There is no true knowledge of God apart from Him.
Someone may claim to be worshipping God and at the same time reject Jesus, but Jesus declared that cannot be true. He said that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him” (John 5:23).
Yes, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. What a constant comfort to those who see their great need, to know that there is an endless supply of grace that comes from the Savior.
By grace he shows us our sin and by grace he delivers us from our sin. He gives grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). He gives more grace (James 4:6). And he gives grace for grace (John 1:16).
Grace comes in like the waves of the ocean. As soon as one wave is past then next wave is rolling in. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Romans 16:20).