GOD BECOMING INCARNATE
The first section presents Christ as God. The very first verse says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word was not only with God; He was God. I would ask you, Is Christ the Son of God or God Himself? Even in John 1 this problem arises; verse 18 refers to Him as “the only begotten Son.” In 1:1 Christ is God; in 1:18 He is the Son of God. I leave this question for you to consider.
Verse 14 further says regarding the Word, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us…full of grace and reality.” God became flesh! No wonder Paul says, “Great is the mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16)! God was manifested in the flesh. Jesus of Nazareth was nothing less than God. He was God incarnate. Hebrews 13:8 does tell us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” In eternity past, however, Christ was not a man. “In the beginning” (John 1:1) means in eternity past. Then He was God but not man. A day came, however, when He became incarnate. In the incarnation He took on another form. There was no change in His divine nature; only His outward appearance changed. He subsisted in the form of God, “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7).
GRACE AND REALITY BROUGHT TO MAN
For what purpose did Christ become a man? It was in order that grace and reality might come to us (John 1:14). What is reality? Everything in the universe is vanity. Nothing is real except God. Without Him, whatever we have is vanity. God has come, by the incarnation, to be our reality.
What is grace? The Word incarnate was “full of grace.” Verse 17 goes on to tell us, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.” Many Christians consider material blessings as God’s grace. From this verse, however, it is clear before the coming of the Lord Jesus grace was not available to man. There may have been material blessings in the Old Testament, but there was not grace. When God became a man, grace came. Grace is God as our enjoyment. When we receive Him, we have reality. This reality becomes our enjoyment, which is grace. Grace is God Himself as our life, our light, our holiness, and our righteousness. To enjoy God in such an all-inclusive way is to enjoy grace. Before Christ came, such an enjoyment of Him was not possible. Now that He has become incarnate, He can be man’s reality and grace.
Verse 16 says, “For of His fullness we all received, and grace upon grace.” We have received of His fullness. This includes countless items: joy, comfort, peace, rest, forgiveness, redemption, righteousness, patience, holiness, power, light, sight, etc. In ourselves we lack all these. We do not have patience. We are not submissive. All we have is negative— sins, weaknesses, and shortcomings. The Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22) and husbands to love their wives (v. 25). Who can fulfill this word? Women are not submissive, and men are not loving. But both submission and love are included in the fullness we have received from Christ. We have received of His fullness, grace upon grace!
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)