Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-22
By grace, we are accepted the way we are. With truth, we are transformed to be like Christ.
Just ask the Corinthians. They had come to faith in Jesus. But, even though they were indwelt by the Spirit, Paul could not speak to them as spiritual people. In many ways, their behavior was much like that of people who had not been touched by salvation. They were like spiritual infants, still unable to consume a diet of deeper doctrine and truth. Their relational tendencies reflected that immaturity as well. Jealousy and strife characterized their tense relationships. They even formed factions around their favorite spiritual leader. Nevertheless, God, in His grace had accepted them.
Even though we are accepted by grace, we are transformed with truth (Jn. 17:17). In the church at Corinth, God was still in the process of this metamorphosis. He wanted to see those natural tendencies replaced by supernatural ones. He wanted to see joy take the place of jealousy and peace supplant quarreling. He wanted people to orient themselves around Christ rather than around different men. He wanted to see their spiritual diet incorporate more complex truths. He was all about bringing change into the lives of his kids.
The truth of His word is one of the primary means, by which He accomplishes change like that. In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that it is by the truth of the Scriptures that we are taught the desires and will of God. Through that truth, we are rebuked for wayward living. Through the truths of the Bible, we are shown how to correct our ways. Through the truth of the word of God, we are trained in righteousness. It is through that truth that we are equipped to best serve Christ. Biblical truth, you see, is an essential part of that transformation process.
Because grace and truth play such integral parts in the lives of individual followers of Jesus, the church of Jesus must, therefore, also be a place characterized by grace and truth. It is through grace that we are accepted as children of God. It is through truth that we are transformed to reflect the image of Christ.