The Berean Expositor
Volume 31 - Page 77 of 181
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Jesus Christ.
Grace and Truth.
Given by (edothe).
Came into being by (egeneto).
Not seen.
Back parts (Exod. 33: 23).
Servants (Heb. 3: 5, 6).
For the moment our attention is directed to the expression "grace and truth". Now,
whatever that term may mean, it is obvious that it belongs to one, and to one only, of
these two categories. It does belong to that headed by "Jesus Christ"; it does not belong
to that headed by Moses. Is it however true that there was no "grace" in the law?
"How came Israel to have it and not the Babylonians, Egyptians, Philistines,
Assyrians, etc.? Yes, it was all grace: as God asks and tells them so earnestly and so
often, in Deut. 4: 32-40 and other places. And was there no `truth' in the law? Yes,
surely every word was truth. But in John 1: 17 the contrast is between one thing that was
given by Moses, and a different thing that came by Jesus Christ"
(Dr. Bullinger's "Figures of Speech").
The use of the figure of speech called Hendiadys, Hen-dia-dys, the "one by means of
two" figure, is the explanation of the apparent difficulty. The two words "grace and
truth" really represent but one thing and are employed solely to emphasize the word
"truth". The one thing intended is the term "true grace", with emphasis on the word
"true". We have now contrasted with one another "law" and "true grace". But we must
discover what "true" grace is. There can be no such thing as "false" grace, and the words
"true grace" here must therefore stand in contrast with some other conception. To
elucidate the point let us consider the usage of the word alethinos, "true".
"That was the true light" (John was not that light) (John 1: 9).
"True worshippers shall worship the Father, in spirit and in truth" (In contrast to the
worship either in Samaria or Jerusalem) (John 4: 23).
"My Father giveth you the true bread" (In contrast with the type given by Moses)
(John 6: 32).
"I am the true Vine" (of which the O.T. references were types) (John 15: 1).
It will be seen that John has frequently used this word with the meaning "anti-typical,
or real". There is one reference which actually places the word "true" over against "type"
and it is Heb. 9: 24:
For Christ is not entered into the holy places, made with hands, which are the figures
(anti-types) of the true, but into heaven itself."
We can now return to John 1: 17 and bring the expressions "law" and "grace and
truth" under a common denominator, for both may be called "grace", but in the law the
grace was "typical", and the offerings "shadows", while in the gospel grace was "real",
and the work of Christ the fulfillment of the shadows and types of the law.