As Christmas approaches, we see many images of a child in a manger and this reminds us of the amazing fact that we are celebrating is God becoming a man. Before the incarnation, the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity was the one who brought creation to pass and sustained all things in that creation. But he laid aside his majesty so that he could demonstrate God’s saving love toward sinners. We now know that Jesus still sustains all of creation by his mighty hand but we also know the depth of his love and grace as he reigns at the Father’s right hand. Let us look at some scriptures that spell this out clearly, in this article I want to concentrate on Hebrews 1 and John 1 and look at the implications of these passages for us.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Heb 1:1–5)
Here the writer contrasts the way God has spoken to us through the prophets and the way he has spoken to us through his Son. He portrays the Lord Jesus as being truly God as well as truly man, he is the creator of the world and is the heir of all things. Furthermore, the Son is exactly like God and is also God, he is the second person of the Holy Trinity and as such is equally God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As God, he sustains all things by His powerful word, here we see that our Saviour is a strong saviour and this can be a great assurance to us when we are feeling weak. But then we come to the amazing statement that this one who is truly God became a man so that he could provide purification from sin. Having achieved what he came to do he now sits enthroned in glory as the representative of his people. Throughout the book of Hebrews, we are encouraged to draw near to God because we have a great high priest who understands us.
John’s gospel helps us to further grasp something of the amazing grace of God,
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (Jn 1:14–18).
This passage gives us an insight into the mystery of the incarnation, John has already shown that the Word is God in the earlier verses of this chapter, now he makes the bold claim that God took on flesh so that he could dwell with us. R.H.Gundry in his commentary helpfully shows us what grace and truth are,
Grace has an aesthetic dimension. It connotes beauty and attractiveness, but above all it means favor—here divine favor to an ill-deserving world of moral darklings. Truth is what is trustworthy as opposed to falsehood, but also what is real and genuine as opposed to imitation and superficiality. The Word’s glory is full of such grace and truth. There’s no lack. The supply is sufficient for all.
Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 350). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
John goes on to show that grace is inexhaustible, he says that we receive grace in place of grace already given, there is always an abundance of grace for the believer to draw upon. although I am writing this at Christmas time this is a message that we need to heed every day because in our fallenness and brokenness we are in constant need of God’s grace. And this passage and did the teaching of Scripture as a whole is that plentiful grace is to be found in Jesus Christ and through what he has done for us.
We conclude where we started with the fact that God has spoken to us through his Son in whom he has revealed his own gracious character. In seeing Jesus and who he is we get a true revelation of the character of our gracious and loving God.