Friday, August 22, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - LAW vs. GRACE: JOHN 1:14

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 1:14
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The LORD Jesus said that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father (JOHN 14:9); He is the perfect representation of God, the very image in fact (COL1:15) of God. Before the days of photography, even as far back as biblical times, shipments delivered from overseas of recently purchased items required some form of identification so that the rightful owner could be known. The merchant would write down a description of the purchaser, complete with any distinguishing characteristics (a tatoo, a scar, a lop sided ear, two different colored eyes, etc) so the person on the docks, claiming the item could be properly identified. That's the Greek word employed here for "image" in COL. 1:15.
Jesus Christ is the perfect description of God; essentially being Deity Himself. We have covered this in a series on TTUF entitled: JESUS IS GOD

This GOD that we know and love took on flesh and blood; The Word Incarnate, we say, meaning the Person of Christ Who is fully God and fully man, and not an amalgam of parts from both. Jesus is not merely possessing grace and truth, but is full of such.This is His glory that we beheld and what a glory it is! We shall spend eternity peering into its limitless depths and insurmountable heights and fall under such with a devoted love and inspiration to worship HIM!

Grace is considered unmerited favor, or getting something you don't deserve; as opposed to justice, which is getting exactly what you deserve. Mercy is between these two extremes: not getting what you do deserve.

The Law of God is all about justice, but in its divine sense, which is perfect, absolute, immutable, non-negotiable justice. This looks to the merit of an individual as the basis for blessing and favor; their integrity, their obedience to the Law, their moral standard of righteousness, etc. compared to and held up against the standard of the Holy Law of God, and thus horribly and utterly deficient!

Grace is all about the merit of Jesus Christ, His integrity, His obedience to the Law, His moral standard of Righteousness (all perfectly flawless!) - and bequeathing it to sinners. While we are entirely undeserving of such, if we repent of our sinful lives and conduct, and receive Christ by faith by believing the GOSPEL, we have the Righteousness of Christ attributed to our account (and their sin attributed to the account of Christ, our sin-bearer and Lamb of God, sacrificed on the Cross on our behalf!)

ROMANS 8:1-4
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The Law is holy and perfect, because it is GOD's Law (could it be otherwise then?) but the problem with it, is not with the Law itself but ourselves: The Law was "weak through the flesh" that is, we are as sinners incapable of following and obeying it. This transference of God's holiness and our sinfulness between Jesus Christ and sinners respectively in what verses 3 and 4 above describes, is all about.

We as redeemed sinners, now saints of God are capable of fulfilling the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the Law not by our own obedience empowered by our will power and determination, but by the Spirit of God that dwells in the hearts and lives of every born again believer and disciple of Christ!

The Law of God is truth, just as the grace of God is likewise truth. The truth of the Law reveals our sin and sinful nature (1 TIM 1:9; ROM 7:5-11) but can do nothing to bring us salvation; that is where the grace of God comes in! The Law will be able to convince us that we cannot find salvation and approval from God on our own merit; it will lead us to Jesus Christ and the truth of His grace, where we may find salvation in the Gospel (GAL 3:21-26).

There is a general sense in which the word "Law" is used in Scripture that has a connotative meaning, rather than the denotative meaning of the Law, as in the Law given by Moses on Sinai. You can see this usage in such places as Psalm 119.

PSALM 119:1-7

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

Note the various words used here: "" All of these words have different shades of meaning, yet in a connotative sense, they all refer to the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures full of grace and truth, and we will not disparage the Law of the LORD in the least! Neither shall we speak disrespectfully of the Law of Moses either; we will only assert that we as the church of Jesus Christ are not under the Law of Moses, but under the grace of God:

ROMANS 6:13-15

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Herein is a wondrous and beautiful mystery: that the Law of God that demands absolutely perfect holiness from us in order to gain His approval - and the grace of God whereby we sinners may find the Way to God (JOHN 14:6) have met together in the Person of Jesus Christ, our sacrificial Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world as He was offered up on the Cross at Calvary! To transform sinners who were under the Law's curse into saints that are adopted by the LORD God as His own (adopted) children! GLORY TO GOD!!

PSALM 85:10-11
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

GAL. 4:4-7
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

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