Thursday, November 24, 2016

He who comes out of heaven

I changed the title of this post after the discussion in the comment thread. The new title is from John 3:31. I thought it would be better to change the title in place and keep the comment thread intact than re-publishing the post and potentially losing the comments.

We don't want to lose sight of the most astonishing fact in Scripture: the Son of God came from Heaven to die for ruined sinners. John 1:1–12 brings us face-to-face with the wonder of that when it tells who He is from the beginning. He is the Word who is God, and who was with God (John 1:1). It's important we remember both of those truths together: if we remember He was with God but we forget He is God, then we fall into Arianism. If we remember He is God, but forget He was with God, then we fall into Sabellianism.

In point of fact, I have many times sat in a meeting where someone thanked the Father for dying for us. It's not right to make a man a transgressor for a word, but at the same time we should be very careful that our words reflect what Scripture actually says.

It is the fact of who Christ is that gives value to what He has done. The Son of God came here and died for lost sinners. Is there anything more astonishing than that? John 1 keeps coming back to this central point: He was the Creator (John 1:3), having come into the world He created (John 1:10). The more we contemplate that fact, the more we find ourselves asking, "What kind of Person is this?"

I once heard a man quote Luke 15:1–2 like this: "'This Man receives sinners and eats with them', thank God He does!"

In fact, the Pharisees didn't know the half of it. He came not merely to eat with sinners, but to give His flesh to be their food and His blood to be their drink (John 6:47–58).

Isaiah 64:1–3 tells us when God comes down, He does terrible things no one looked for (Isaiah 64:3) – He does things no one could have expected. Certainly when the Son of God came, He did what no one could have expected: He gave Himself to save lost sinners (Galatians 2:19–20).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Twelve titles

A few weeks ago I was talking about John 1 in the assembly. I mentioned I'd counted seven titles of Christ there, but realized I'd missed at least two. So I enlisted the assembly to help me count them, and people started calling out titles they saw. We got up to twelve that day, but there's at least one more an older brother mentioned to me later.

Here's the working list I have so far:

  1. the Word (John 1:1)
  2. Light (John 1:8–10 )
  3. Only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14)
  4. Christ (John 1:17)
  5. Only-begotten Son (John 1:18)
  6. The Prophet (John 1:21)
  7. Lord (John 1:23)
  8. Lamb of God (John 1:29)
  9. Son of God (John 1:34)
  10. Rabbi (Teacher, Master) (John 1:38)
  11. King of Israel (John 1:49)
  12. Son of Man (John 1:51)

There's a lot to be said about John 1, it reaches back to before there was anything except God. It pulls the curtain back just a bit and lets us see what "before time" looked like. John 5 goes even further, but that's for another day.

I've been chewing over John 1 for several weeks now, and there's a whole lot in that chapter. It's been a good investment of my time.