Monday, October 26, 2009

The Excellency of Christ & The Evil of Sin - John 1

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being by Him,
and apart from Him
nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it."
(vs 1-5)

Just before we left for our month-long sabbatical, I finished an in-depth study through the book of Hebrews. Those of you who follow this blog are well aware of that and are probably glad that I've finally moved on to something else! :)

Hebrews was an incredibly beneficial series for me. In it I found great help and hope as I gazed upon the substitutionary work of Christ, my Great High Priest. That study helped me begin to take my eyes off of my own faithLESSness and fix my sight upon His completely sufficient faithFULness on my behalf.

While Phillip and the kids and I were away, I began looking at the gospel of John. The current path that all-wise Providence has personally placed me on is causing me to become increasingly aware of my great need for Christ and therefore, I have conscientiously sought to camp out in the gospel of this dearly beloved disciple.

John's gospel is full of Jesus - His person and His power, His miracles and His majesty. Those are things that I desperately need to dwell on. So, here I am - and if you're reading this, here you are too!

The book begins with a powerful declaration of just who Jesus is. These 5 verses contain an incredibly succint and amazingly magnificent statement on the person and nature of our Savior. These are precious words worthy of our utmost attention - so may we heed what we read!

First - we are told that Christ, the living Word, was "in" the beginning. The text does not say that He was "from" the beginning as was the world. No, Christ has always been! Matthew Henry writes: "The world was FROM the beginning, the Word was IN the beginning. The Word had a being before the world had a beginning." The Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. He was not made but is the Maker of all. "All things came into being by Him, and apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being."

Second -it is clearly implied that Christ, the living Word, is both with God and IS God. In verse one we see both the distinctiveness between the Father and the Son as well as the unity of the two. Christ was "with" God - distinction. Christ "was" God - unity. Here is a glimpse at the truth of the Trinity. One God existing in three persons one in substance and power and eternity. Got it? Understand it? Of course not - at least not fully!

The Trinity is a mystery to be believed from the Word of God not a doctrine to be fully understood. We can see it throughout the pages of Scripture, yet we struggle to connect all the dots in our frail and feeble minds. Instead of floundering in frustration over our inability to fully grasp the mystery, we should actually find great comfort in our mental shortcomings. God is infinite and we are finite. He is incomprehensible and we, as mere creatures, will never be able to fully take in all that He is. Can a mere tea cup hold all the waters of the ocean? No! And if it could then the ocean wouldn't be all that great and grand after all!

In the same way, if we could grasp all that God is, if we could contain all of the intricasies of deity in our human minds, if we could succinctly and sufficiently answer all of our questions about Him then, in reality, He wouldn't be any greater than we are at all, and certainly not worthy of our worship and our lives! Personally, as I grow older, I am finding great comfort in the unanswerable mysteries of His majesty. Moses writes:

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things
revealed belong to us and to our sons forever..." (Dt 29:29).

There is much that is secret and much that belongs only to the omniscient mind of God. Those things I will never be able to comprehend and that inability points me to my utter dependence upon Him. However, there is much more that He has revealed in His Word than I will ever be able to fully take in. You know, I'd save myself a lot of trouble if I spent more time meditating on the revealed rather than musing over the secret!

Finally - it is declared that Christ, the living Word, is the source of all the life and light that we have. "In Him was life and that life was the light of men." Any understanding, any deliverance from the deeds of death and darkness, any spiritual insight that we have has come from Him. We owe all that we have to Christ.

Jesus Christ is God. He is eternal God. He is creator God. He is life giving God. He is light giving God. How great, how awesome, how mighty, how majestic is the Lord Jesus Christ!! Do we ever dwell on Him enough?! This is He who left heaven's throne room to enter earth's cattle stall!

J.C. Ryle, in his commentary on the book of John poses an incredibly thought provoking idea regarding the greatness of Christ. His words have caused me to pause this day. He writes:

"Would we know for one thing the exceeding sinfulnesss of sin? Let us often read these first five verses. Let us mark what kind of being the Redeemer of mankind needs be, in order to provide eternal redemption for sinners. If no one less than the eternal God, the Creator and preserver of all things, could take away the sin of the world, sin must be a far more abominable thing in the sight of God than most men suppose. The right measure of sin's sinfulness is the dignity of Him who came into the world to save sinners. If Christ is so great, then sin must indeed be sinful!"

That sheds a new light on John 1:1-5 for me and I pray the Holy Spirit will use it to shine a new hatred of sin and love of Christ in my heart - and in yours too. My Jesus, I love thee - but not nearly enough. Increase my passion for you and decrease my passion for sin.

Looking to Him in whom is life and light,

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