First, they must go together; to hold both grace and truth together is essential for a balance to be achieved. Truth without grace is just judgment. Grace without truth is license. The gospels are where we see both truth and grace brought together as Jesus interacts with the culture around Him. Should this surprise us? I wouldn’t think it should since He is the embodiment of Truth and Grace. Jesus “came… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
One example among many took place in John 4 when Jesus visited the well encountering a Samaritan woman. Here we see His acceptance of the woman at the well in spite of her socially (especially Jewish) unacceptable ways. But, did He excuse her past to forged a path for her future. No, what followed directly challenged her about her promiscuity. He stopped the stoning of a woman caught in adultery making it clear He was not going to condemn her, but then challenged her to turn from her adulterous ways. So here again, we have Grace and truth, as they flowed together from Jesus.
Grace and Truth also flowed from Him in a way that even when He challenged them, his hearers wanted Him to come to their parties and meet their friends… wouldn’t you know it, Jesus would then challenge them! Jesus didn’t offer a feel-good theology that justified away any real talk of sin, or legalistic attitudes of condemnation and judgment. He comes bringing grace and truth in the most compelling ways that challenge the individuals Jesus encountered to look within themselves and see the truth; such is the tactics Jesus would use.
It’s human nature to be swayed in one direction or another, our natural tendency to have grace without truth or toward truth without grace. We either side with the woman caught in adultery and trumpet, “Neither do I condemn you,” or we side with those who want to emphasise “go and sin no more.”
In today’s world, you can see a trend toward grace without truth, and that is foolishness. This position releases sin, substituting acceptance of unbiblical lifestyles as grace bringing with it a crumbling culture.
I believe the kind of voice that grabs the attention of the world will be convicting voice of the Holy Spirit through our actions and words with us with a clear message of the Truth. We must not have a faith that lacks conviction, passion, but one truly bring heart change; Grace and Truth in equal measure.