Christ is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), so it’s not surprising when we find grace and truth mingled together throughout his teachings. When the Good Shepherd leads us beside quiet waters, that’s grace. When his rod and staff correct us, that’s truth. When Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you,” that’s grace. When he tells her, “Go and leave your life of sin,” that’s truth.
Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). This verse contains both grace and truth. Jesus’ words underscore three lessons: (1) a solemn warning, (2) an urgent exhortation, and (3) a faithful promise.
A Solemn Warning: “Everyone Will Hate You Because of Me”
Jesus pulled no punches when he shared this hard-hitting truth with his disciples. Who wants to be the object of widespread hatred? Of course, this warning doesn’t negate what the Bible says elsewhere about the love, comfort, and joy found in Christ. But if we think following Jesus will make us popular, we’re in for a rude awakening. Most of the time, serious devotion to Christ doesn’t please the crowd; it invites disdain and ridicule.
Christian values go against the grain in a culture that’s out of sync with the Creator’s will. “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:12, 13).
An Urgent Exhortation: “Stand Firm to the End”
Christian discipleship is a lifetime commitment. At baptism we promise our faithfulness to the risen Christ, like a couple on their wedding day pledging to honor their vows for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Whatever happens, we must never give up our faith. We must stand firm to the end.
If you’re driving a small car on a highway during a blinding snowstorm, it’s smart to follow the tail-lights of the semi-truck ahead of you. From a high perch in his larger vehicle, the truck driver sees the road better than you do. Christians follow the Lord, trusting that he sees the way forward better than we do. Oswald Chambers said, “To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.”
A Faithful Promise: “Will Be Saved”
God’s grace through Jesus Christ will save us at the final judgment, but we don’t have to wait until we die to enjoy the benefits of knowing “it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). While we await the final consummation of God’s eternal plan, faith in Christ saves us from the futility of a lonely and meaningless life, separated from our heavenly Father. The same Lord Jesus who asks us to stand firm to the end promises to be with us to the end (Matthew 28:20).
The journey of faith is difficult, but we don’t travel alone. The Lord of grace and truth is our traveling companion.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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