John 1:1-3,14-18,29,34 ESV
“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 were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”’) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
“And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Jesus Christ is God
Jesus Christ is the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And he is God, and he is our creator God. In Genesis 1:26 we read: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” So, “our” image indicates this is speaking of our triune God who is three distinct personalities in one God (see: Matt 28:19; 2 Co 13:14; 1 Pet 1:2).
Jesus Christ, although he is God, willingly left his throne in heaven and he came down to the earth to be born as a baby to a human mother with God the Father as his Father. Therefore, when Jesus walked this earth he was fully God and fully man. During his life of ministry on the earth he performed many miracles – he raised the dead, delivered people from demons, healed the sick and afflicted, and fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread. And there were even leftovers gathered up after all ate.
Jesus Christ also preached repentance for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. And repentance has to do with us making a spiritual U-turn. It has to do with us being turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, i.e. it is about us forsaking our lives of sin to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And he said if we are to come after him that we must deny self and daily die to sin and obey him.
But Jesus was hated and persecuted by many of the Jews, in particular by those in positions of power and authority within the temple of God. They were jealous of him because of his temporary popularity among the people and they felt threatened by him and were worried that they might lose their own positions of power among the people. And they didn’t like it that he didn’t follow all their customs and religious traditions handed down to them.
They didn’t like it that he healed people on the Sabbath, which was his regular custom. And they didn’t like the message that he preached, and that he claimed that he was God. And they didn’t like it that he confronted them in their sins and that he did not buy into their lies and their false performances, and that he called them out on their hypocrisy. So they harassed him every chance they could find. And eventually they were instrumental in having him put to death on a cross when he was sinless.
His Grace to Us
But Jesus’ death on that cross was not without purpose. In fact, this was always God’s plan for our redemption that Jesus Christ would be our sacrificial lamb on that cross to take away the sins of the world. For he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co 5:21). And He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
So, in Jesus’ death on that cross he put our sins to death with him so that through God-given faith in him we might be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we must now consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. Therefore we are to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin is to have no more dominion over our lives (Rom 6:1-23).
So, God’s grace to us is not just in sending Jesus Christ to die on that cross for our sins so we can be forgiven our sin and be on our way to heaven. God’s grace to us is in freeing us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can live holy and godly lives pleasing to God in his power and strength. For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him (Luke 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15).
And God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10).
A lot of people these days, though, are teaching God’s grace as though it is only forgiveness of sins so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. And they teach it as though it is a one-time decision we make in our lives which guarantees us heaven as our eternal home regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. And so they give their adherents carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin without conscience.
But that is no grace at all if it leaves us still in slavery (addiction) to sin. God’s true grace delivers us out of slavery to sin and it empowers us to live godly and holy lives in walks of obedience to our Lord. God’s true grace puts us in an intimate marriage relationship with Jesus Christ, the goal of which is that we submit to his Lordship, and that we surrender our lives to him, and that we now become his possession, and that we now do what he says, and that we no longer make sin our practice but righteousness is now our practice – all for the glory of God and all in his power and strength.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
He Reached Down
An Original Work / February 3, 2014
Based off Psalm 18
How I love You, Lord, my Rock and my strength.
My God is my fortress; I hide in Him.
He is my shield and the horn of
My salvation, whom I praise.
I have found my refuge in Him.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
Drew me out of waters so deep, I’d sink.
He delivered me from Satan
And my slavery to sin;
Gave me hope of heaven with Him.
My God turned my darkness into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes; gave me sight.
As for God, his way is perfect.
He gives strength to stand secure.
I have found my vict’ry in Him.
My Lord lives! Praise be to my Savior God,
Jesus Christ, who died on a cruel cross.
He is my Rock and the source
Of my salvation, whom I trust.
I will give praise always to Him.