Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Word Became Flesh

Many times, after witnessing with someone, I will encourage them to read their bible. Or, if they don't have one at home, I will leave them with a Gospel of John. I've heard the book of John described as a giant gospel tract written by God. If I can't spend enough time with someone, having God's word speak with them long after I am gone is a great way for the Holy Spirit to soften someone's heart. It has been a while since I have read this book myself for this purpose, and I figured I would go through it here systematically. We can take a look at what God would say, and, from that, infer what God would have us say as we witness to people.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

This is an oft-quoted passage that points to the Deity of Christ. One of the big distinctions between Christianity and any other religion is that the central figure is God Himself. When witnessing to people, I often hear, "Jesus was not God". Let's take note each time the bible makes it clear that Jesus is God in the flesh. The bible makes it clear that even though Jesus created men, we did not immediately understand him, even when he came in person.

6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Many people speak about Jesus, but the bible says that He stands out. We tell people about the light, but the light Himself is Jesus.

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Jesus came to a specific people at a specific time, but came for everyone. The people who saw Him didn't recognize Him, but people today, two thousand years after His birth, are still putting their faith in Him and becoming children of God. Christianity is not a religion of race or culture, but an offer made to all people of all times, that to those who believe in His name, He gives the right to become born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

The Law was given through Moses, Grace through Jesus Christ. The Law shows us our need for a Savior, and the grace provided by Jesus makes sense in light of this Law. Even though, we have never seen God, the Law, written on our hearts, and the life of Jesus Christ have made Him known to us. The bible makes it clear that we are without excuse if we do not believe in God.

"A wrong understanding of the harmony between Law and grace would produce 'error on the left and right hand.'" -John Newton

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