Summary: “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 1:14.
Theme: Christ’s presence among us
Text: Jer. 31:7-14; Eph. 1:3-14; John 1:10-18
Happy New Year. Today is the first Sunday of the year 2014 and God’s Word assures us that “all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28) This year is a year of great expectations. We will be moving to the new site very soon and begin building a place of worship. The recent developments concerning the land are for our benefit. They have already portrayed us as a Church that cares and takes care of one another. We can all be proud to be members of the Triumphant Presbyterian Church. God’s blessings for us in 2014 are certain and our response should be to reach the world with His message of salvation “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”. (John 3:16-17) Christ’s presence among us was to save the world.
Jesus Christ came to reveal the holiness and glory of God. “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 1:14) In the Scriptures “glory” refers to the bright shining light of God’s presence, His perfection and His excellence. In Jesus we have God’s glory veiled in a body of flesh. It was clearly visible on the mount of transfiguration. Jesus Christ came to reveal the grace of God. In the words of Scripture “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. (John 1:17) The Law was holy and righteous and pointed one to sin but lacked the power to make one righteous. Grace, on the other hand, also holy and righteous, empowered one to be righteous as under grace one comes under the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came to reveal the truth that believers “are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code of God”. (Romans 7:6)
The Law still plays a very important role but not in the life of a believer. It still makes unbelievers aware of sin and points them to the need of a Saviour. The believer is no longer under the Law but under a new Covenant. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds”. (Heb. 10:16) Jesus Christ describes this new law saying “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”. (John 13:34) When we love one another as Christ has loved us we will lead holy and righteous lives.
Jesus Christ’s presence among us was to reveal man’s sinful condition. Jesus maintained a relationship with God through His total reliance on Him. Man’s reliance on self led to separation from God and loss of His image and likeness.
Jesus manifested the glory of God because of his sinless nature. Sin cost us the glory of God for we have all sinned. The Scriptures confirm this saying “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. (Rom. 5:12) Jesus’ sinless life was God’s intended life for man. God gave the Law to make man aware of sin, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin”. (Rom. 3:20)
In the Old Testament, a person who had sinned would bring a sacrifice to the priest in the Temple. The priest would pray over the offering and God would transfer the sin from the sinner to the animal and the purity of the animal to the sinner. The animal would then be killed to pay the penalty for sin and the man would leave the Temple cleansed. The blood of animals only covered sin for a period pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of the blood of Christ that would deal with sin permanently. Jesus could only accomplish His mission by revealing the holy nature of God and the sinful nature of man. His sacrifice on the cross has paid the price for the forgiveness of sin and our eternal redemption.
Christ came to live among us to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. He, who was without sin and had never sinned, was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future to pay the price for our forgiveness. Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin for “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. (Hebrews 9:22) Because of the blood of Christ “God will be merciful towards our iniquities and will remember our sins no more”. (Heb. 8:12) Christ shed His blood for the justification of the sinner. It is just-as-if we had never sinned. Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin so that we do not have to bear the Judgement of God. The blood of Christ has not only paid the penalty for sin but has also imputed to us the righteousness of Christ.