THE INFINITE BECAME VISIBLE
There is a story about a man who was desperately lost, a man who was so blinded by his own sinfulness. “Back in the seventeenth century, a young boy was born into a Christian home. For the first six years of his life, he heard the truths of the gospel and he was loved. Sadly, though, his parents died. The orphaned boy went to live with his relatives. There he was mistreated and abused and ridiculed for his faith in Christ. The boy couldn’t tolerate that situation, and he fled and joined the Royal Navy. In the navy, the boy’s life went downhill. He became known as a brawler, was whipped many times, and participated in some of his comrades’ being keel-hauled.
Keelhauling involves a sailor who is stripped and tied so that he cannot swim, with chains or cannonball being tied to his body (usually the legs). When the sailor was dropped into the water the weight will pull him under the waves, but to prevent him going too much under the crew (sometimes entire crew of the ship) will pull on the rope, forcing the sailors to move under the ship and touching the hull, eventually raising him up on the other side of the ship. Keelhauling inflicted an excruciating amount of pain, the keel of the ship also often had barnacles, which gave bruises and lacerations to the victim. These lacerations would later usually lead to infections.
Getting back to the story! While he was still young, he deserted the Royal Navy and fled to Africa, where he attached himself to a Portuguese slave trader. There, his life reached its lowest point. There were times when he actually ate off the floor on his hands and knees. He escaped and then became attached to another slave trader as the first mate on his ship. But the young man’s pattern of life had become so depraved; he couldn’t stay out of trouble. As the story goes, he stole the ship’s whiskey and got so drunk that he fell overboard. He was close to drowning when one of his shipmates harpooned him and brought him back on board. As a result, the young man had a huge scar in his side for the rest of his life. After that escapade, he couldn’t get much lower. In the midst of a great storm off the coast of Scotland, when days and days were filled with pumping water out of the boat, the young man began to reflect on the Scripture verses he had heard as a child. He was marvelously converted. That person was John Newton…. And that conversion is reflected in his own heartfelt words, which is familiar to millions of people; whether saved and unsaved.
Amazing grace! How sweet the
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am
Was blind but now I see.”
Newton’s experience was put into words and the ultimate point of his conversion song :Amazing Grace” is that Jesus the Christ is reason we worship. Jesus is the reason we live out the rest of our earthly days for His glory and goodness. This was, and is only possible, when the Infinite God became finite, the Invisible became visible. Doing this all the while… never ceased being God. Never ceased being a holy and sovereign God who came to sacrifice Himself, to save wretched sinners like John Newton, like you, and me.
laid aside His Kingly glory to display the glory of God in His humble incarnate
form. “who, being
in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made
Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the
likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and
became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore
God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every
name,” Phil 2:6-9
Fully/truly God, and fully/truly man at the same time. Look what it says in (v14) “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” “Word” means in the Greek “Logos” this refers to Christ as the full revelation and perfect wisdom of God. The true logos was God becoming a man, this refers to the fact that Jesus set up His tent or encamp, that is, (figuratively) to occupy as a mansion, to reside as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion. God dwelled or you can say He Tabernacled among us for thirty years; and we know according to the Scriptures the tabernacle was a place where God meet His people.
The tabernacle was….
The center of Israel’s camp
The place where the law was
The place where God met with
The place where sacrifices was made
The place where the priestly family
The place of worship
This tabernacle foreshadowed
Christ’s in His first advent
This means that God took up residence among His people, the tabernacle was a God’s dwelling place, despite their rejection of Him. This rejection didn’t stop Him, because He came to do the Father’s will; He came to save sinners from sin and death. Why did He leave the glories of Heaven and come to this earth that is depraved and rebellious? The answer is simple….. To bring light into the blackness of our hearts, which reveals our sinful behavior. To reconcile and to bring salvation to those who believe; so that we could be called “children of God" Jesus entered and lived among us to display His wonderful grace and truth. Jesus entered and lived among us to display to a fallen and depraved world, that God is good and gracious. But don’t forget though, as James Boice said "If God had simply taken Adam and Eve in the moment they sinned and cast them into the lake of fire, He would still have been just; and the angels could still have sung,
“Holy, holy ,holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come” Rev 4:8
The glorious of our Lord are infinite, which display the supreme excellence of His two natures in the person of Jesus Christ. Remember, God does not owe man anything, but He always gives mankind a measure of His grace. Therefore, all the blessings that mankind enjoy are the result of God's wonderful grace. The Lord is full of grace and truth and John gives us the answer to the all-important question…
Why did the Lord Jesus come
to us in the Flesh?
Came To Display The Fullness Of His Grace To A Fallen Generation Of Any Age. (v16 - v17)
“fullness we all received” (v16) Fullness which means “feeding or completion” The superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God towards mankind, especially believers [the ones who are His] has always been sufficient in all circumstances. We as a human race saved and unsaved are all under His common grace. What do I mean by that? If you are an unsaved person or a saved person, we are all recipients of God's common grace. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not! If you enjoy good health that is common grace. If you enjoy the comforts of home and plenty of food to eat that is common grace. If you have a good job and are able to hold it down that is common grace. There is not one person on this earth that isn't a recipient of God's wonderful grace. R C Sproul said “Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him... To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our dilapidated souls.”
This is what makes the gospel so precious to the child of God. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. Remember what Paul said, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,”
What does it mean to receive His Grace? This is what John the Baptist was proclaiming to the people, the bible says "He cried out" (v15) This means that he called out loud, the One I speak of is full of grace. Like what Paul said to Timothy, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim 1:14.
What are the special blessings the believer
has that the unsaved doesn’t?
No condemnation and the
blessings of eternal life now and forever.
The indwelling of the Holy
The blessings of fellowship
with your church family and the family of God.
A joy and peace that surpasses
Personal communion with God
through prayer and worship.
An overflow of grace, wisdom
and loving kindness by our Lord and Savior.
Through Christ the “fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” Col 2:9. And its through His fullness, we have received according to John the Baptist, the fullness of grace which is limitless and never-ending.
Jesus Came To Displayed The Fullness Of His Glory Through His Truth, To A Fallen Generation Of Any Age. (v17)
What Moses brought was God’s wonderful revelation and will to the people of God. But this is nothing in comparison that came through Jesus Christ. Though this doesn’t minimise the Old Testament in any way, shape, or form. What John is saying is “What Jesus brought was so much fuller, so much more advanced, so much more spiritual.” The Old Testament the law was a revelation of God’s truth and grace. The fullness of this truth and grace came in the person of Jesus Christ. The walking revelation of God has come full of grace and truth. God's nature is Truth, God's salvation was fully revealed and accomplished through the truth that is in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:” Eph 4:21. “Truth” means…a reality, a fact, certainly to what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man.
is what draws us in worship and adoration towards the Lord Jesus Christ. “And I will pray the Father,
and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the
Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor
knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will
not leave you orphans; I will come to you. "A little while longer and the
world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live
also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in
you.” John 14:16-20
But before Jesus said this, He only asks 3 things from His children; ask Me, love Me, and obey My truths. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:14-15
Believing God's truth in the Gospel, by which one receives His saving grace. There is no salvation except to those who believe the truth of the gospel message. As John said "crying out" proclaim to the world the word of truth is coming full of grace and truth. Remember the Law cannot save you! It merely convicts sinners of their inability to keep perfectly God's righteous standards. As Paul wrote, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20. Paul also wrote "The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" Gal 3:24. We are only saved by His wonderful grace, by which we believe His truths found in Christ Jesus.
Came To Displayed The Fullness Of His
Glory By Revealing Himself Personally (v18)
“Word became flesh” God took on flesh to display and represent His glory in Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ that the Father is revealed to created man and woman. John's gospel says "No one has seen God at any time" The greatest example is Moses pleading with the Lord. “So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." Exo 33:17-2
Jesus said, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Matt 11:27
In the original this means “anyone" neither knows the Father, except the Son. This means that, no man, or angel, can clearly and fully comprehend the character of the infinite God; no one but the Son, the Lord Jesus. In the KJV (v18) says, “the One who is in the bosom [side] of the Father”……this phrase gives us a understanding of the intimacy with the Godhead.
Here it means that Jesus had a
knowledge of God
such as one friend has of
What can we take home in this passage?
Coram Deo…..this is Latin for “Living and walking in the presence of God. To live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. To live a life of integrity. It is a life of wholeness, that finds its unity and coherency in the majesty of God. To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God.
What does that look like for you and me to walk in the presence of God? Maybe this will help in summary! Owen Strachan said, “Resist the devil fiercely. Control your temper carefully. Abandon yourself to God daily. Claim grace perpetually. Pray continually. Forgive lavishly. Laugh regularly. Mourn unashamedly. Love tenaciously. Kill sin ruthlessly. Smile at children widely. Sing hymns joyfully. Eat good food thankfully. Drink milkshakes semi-occasionally. Proclaim Christ passionately. Stand for truth unapologetically, and think of heaven constantly.” It's living and walking knowing that….. That He loves you with an infinite amount of grace. That He is the one who completes your grace to each trying day. That His grace overflows with the riches that come from Scripture. That His grace super-exceeds our desires and expectations constantly. R C Sproul said, “It is a life in which all that is done is done as to the Lord. It is a life lived by principle, not expediency; by humility before God, not defiance. It is a life lived under the tutelage of conscience that is held captive by the Word of God.
Coram Deo . . . before the face of God.
In the Old Testament God set His tent with Israel through His gracious presence in the Tabernacle and then later in the Temple. And even revealed Himself in Pre-Incarnate forms as seen in the burning bush, and speaking with Abraham over the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. What both John’s want us too now is this…. To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty, His grace and His truth. What’s more amazing is that throughout eternity God will again take up residence with His redeemed and glorified children. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Rev 21:3-5