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The Face of Grace

Pencil sketch by JC Chambers.

Part two in a series of God's grace from the book of John.

"In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4-5

Why did God send Jesus into the world?

God sent His Son into the world to be “light.”

God frequently uses “light” and “darkness” to help us to understand spiritual realities. Light represents God’s revealed presence; darkness represents His veiled presence.

When John records that “in him was life, and that life was the light of men,” he is telling us that God revealed His presence in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. To “see the light” is to see God the Father reflected in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus cried out, ‘When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.’” John 12:44-46

Jesus Christ clearly and unapologetically declared that to look at Him was to look at God the Father, ”When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.” Jesus didn’t come into the world to be a revolutionary or a reformer. He came into the world to be a revealer.

God sent Jesus so that the world would not “stay in darkness.”

Prior to Jesus’ arrival, the world was in darkness because God hadn’t revealed Himself clearly. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” John 1:17-18

B.C.- “No one has ever seen God.”

A.D.- “God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

Before Jesus came, no one had ever seen God. There are divine appearances in the Old Testament of the Bible. These appearances, however, reveal God’s form, not His face.

Misinterpreting God’s Old Testament appearances can cause us to be confused about God’s character.

God appears to change in the Bible. In the Old Testament, He can be harsh and punitive. In the New Testament, Jesus reveals God to be gentle and fatherly. These differences, however, do not represent a change in God. They reflect a change in the covenant He operates by.

God does not change in the Bible. His covenant does.

Trying to blend Old Covenant Law and New Covenant grace is like trying to blend oil and water, light and darkness. It is important to understand that God has established a new covenant. He no longer commands us to keep His commandments in order to earn His blessings and avoid His curses.

God sent His Son so that the fear of His judgment could be replaced by the assurance of His love.

In saying the “the darkness has not understood” the light, John informs us that when “light shines in the darkness,” the darkness is not automatically dispelled by the light. In other words, it’s possible to hear about Jesus, to learn things about Him and yet not be illumined . . . to remain in darkness.

To believe in Jesus and still believe that God blesses those who keep the Ten Commandments, and curses those who don’t, is to see the light but to “stay in darkness.” The truth is that while “the law was given through Moses,” the “grace and truth” of God “came through Jesus Christ.”

God did not reveal Himself from Mount Sinai.

He revealed Himself from Mount Calvary.

God allowed His “father heart” to be temporarily veiled by Mosaic Law.

God sent Jesus Christ into the world “as a light” in order to unveil His true heart.

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