John the Apostle inspires us with his summation of Jesus. The first chapter of John’s gospel has kept the minds and pens of theologians busy for two thousand years. Perhaps more importantly, these Holy Spirit-guided words have helped believers and not-yet believers see the glory of Jesus.
When John says that he and others saw “the glory” of Jesus, he is saying a lot. In recent years, I’ve used the words “perfect beauty” as a working definition of biblical glory. Glory is a description too big to wrap my mind around. So, Jesus is the perfect beauty of God in every way, whether we see him in the beauty of a newborn child, the testimony of Jesus teaching or healing in Scripture, a brilliant sunrise or sunset, or Jesus dying for us on the cross and rising on Easter Sunday.
In every way good is good, Jesus is perfect beauty.
So back to John, Jesus’ close friend. His opening words are that we see in Jesus the perfect beauty of grace and truth (John 1:14). For all the needs we and the world have, none are greater than those two things:
- Grace: the undeserved, impossible-to-earn, mercy and generosity of God that covers our sin with the sacrifice of Jesus’ cross.
- Mercy: which both calls us to confession and invites us to adoption as the forever family of the Almighty and Everlasting God.
We’ll spend eternity celebrating Jesus’ grace. But Jesus is also the beautiful expression of perfect truth.
Truth can be defined simply as reality. In that sense, Jesus is the beautifully perfect expression of what’s real. Anything outside of Jesus or out of alignment with Jesus is untrue, unreal, and therefore unreliable. That’s why the Bible tells us that anything outside of God is idolatry. Idols are the false, untrue substitutes we create when we don’t want to form our thoughts, words, and actions to the reality that is God.
As someone recently said, “The only thing that idols never fail to do is fail.”
Truth matters. Without it, we are lost and undone, living in a gray world of confusion and a dark world of deception.
In pursuit of truth
Dr. Jim Denison is the founder of Denison Forum. He spends a lot of time praying, thinking, and writing about the truth of God in Christ Jesus and how his beautiful grace and truth illuminate our darkness. Jim is about to release his most important book to date called The Coming Tsunami: Why Christians Are Labeled Intolerant, Irrelevant, Oppressive, and Dangerous—and How We Can Turn the Tide.
You can preorder Dr. Denison’s latest book that releases on January 25 at thecomingtsunami.com.
If you preorder the book, you’ll be invited to our live webcast with us on Tuesday, January 25.
We’ll talk about truth and what it means for us to live faithfully in the current post-truth culture. American culture has decided that truth is personal and subjective. Many people no longer believe in “the truth;” they only believe in “their truth.”
For instance, consider what Dr. Denison wrote in The Coming Tsunami: “To summarize a very complex subject, Immanuel Kant taught us that our minds interpret our senses, resulting in ‘knowledge.’ However, since your sensory experiences are different from mine and your mind interprets your senses in ways that are unique to you, there can be no such thing as ‘objective’ truth. All truth claims by definition must be subjective and personal.”
The growing chaos in our society expressed in a lack of personal peace and contentment, relational breakdown, racial strife, and political enmity are all tied in various ways to the rejection of truth as it is revealed in Jesus.
My pastor once said, “With God, all things are possible. Without God, all things are permissible.” In the current age, many are pushing hard to live the latter part of that statement with devastating results. Our mission as believers is to live, speak, and serve in such a way that we embody and reflect the beauty of Jesus that reveals his grace and truth by pointing people to him.
We pray our ministry and resources help you and your church to do just that.
Grace and truth,
—Dr. Mark Turman