25th of September, 2013
Of all the outsized features of God, the comforting one is love. And it is so important that we end up understanding: God is Love.
And then God had to choose a sentence that would go from the Son’s mouth to the ends of the Earth:
For God so loved the World …
This is the glory of God. We instinctively recognise the forbidding nature of the other features of God; the forbidding features of a Holy God when He turns His face against us. We also instinctively know the love when we see it: patient, kind, long-suffering, charitable, that stuff. And we are drawn to those features of hope. As it is written:
He brought me to the banqueting house,And his banner over me was love.
Your motto, O God, begins with love; justifies with love; justifies for love. Let me see Allah compete with that.
So John speaks of what he saw and touched, saying:
And the Word became 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.John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Therefore the glory of the God is the Grace of God in Jesus Christ. This is what was fading from the face of Moses, when He asked to be shown the Grace of God:
Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
There are things about God that we may see and not die. They are the glory of God that we manage to see. That is why John said “we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten f the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The grace of God is no joke. It is the mechanism by which God rescues us and keeps us. Those who denigrate it as “easy-believism” and “cheap grace” and under such terms had better be careful what they are casually dismissing, lest they commit the error Peter and Jude warn against.