I think it is literally true that grace comes before truth in the textual layout of John’s Gospel. But I also think that depending on our zealous minds and maturity we are apt to press for truth before grace. (“We can be right and be dead right,” is what Johnny taught me.) It just seems to ‘feel good’ to think we are right and that others just need to know truth the way we know it. Grace-Schmace… get it right!
The Gospel of John opens quickly with:
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“We have all received grace upon grace.” (John 1:16) That’s the message.
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) That’s the order.
We probably present Moses or Jesus. It is not one or the other, but both and in right order: Grace and Truth. Truth ‘sets us free’ and grace ‘keeps us free.’
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus