Summary: God incarnate, full of grace and truth, accomplished three things that give us great cause to praise Him.
Full of Grace and Truth
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 3, 2006
Read John 1:14-18.
In last week’s message, we looked at John 1:1-14 and briefly considered the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God in the person of Jesus Christ. It was my hope that you know the great love of God by His willingness to leave the glories of heaven to dwell among us. John 1:14 says that…
“The Word became flesh and dwelled among us (we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten), full of grace and truth.”
The word dwelled means to tabernacle. In other words, the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us. He pitched His tent and set up camp right in the middle of us all. He’s not the God who works from far off, nor is He the God who is distant and aloof. Rather, He is the God described by the writer of Hebrews as one who “took on flesh and blood, to be made like unto His brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” He is the God who became flesh, and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Today as we consider Jesus in verses 14-18, I want to point out three things Jesus did in the Incarnation.
He fully embodied the grace and truth of God for all of humanity.
John said that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” The phrase “full of grace and truth” means the sum total of divine revelation. Grace has to do with the revelation of God as a God of love. His truth corresponds with the revelation of God as a God of light. He was fully a God of love, grace and mercy; but He was also a God of truth, righteousness and holiness.
God had demonstrated all of that to the world over and over. He demonstrated that He was a God of righteousness when He held Adam responsible for his actions. But He also demonstrated great grace in providing for Him a sacrifice. He demonstrated His demand for holiness when He judged the world with a flood, but He demonstrated His grace in saving those in the ark. Over and over the Old Testament told the story of this holy and righteous God who was offended by the sins of man, but whose grace and mercy kept Him from destroying man altogether.
I think one of the greatest pictures of the grace and truth of God in the Old Testament was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was actually two different pieces of furniture. The first was the box that contained the Law - righteous demands of God that were expressed in the various commands. But atop the box was a lid called the Mercy Seat. In that one piece of furniture sitting in the tabernacle of God were both the truth and mercy of God.
Jesus fully embodied all of that. The gospels tell the story of the man “who came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus declared that He was truth, and in Him was no falsehood. You see, the truth reveals the sinful condition of the woman at the well who had been married five times and was now living with a man who was not her husband. But His grace kept Him in her presence two more days, and many more believed because of His word.
It was Jesus, “full of grace and truth” who said to the paralyzed man brought by four friends, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.” When the multitude had sat all day listening to His teaching, it was Jesus, “full of grace and truth” who said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.” It was Jesus, “full of grace and truth” who said of the widow woman, “this poor widow has cast in more than they all.” And it was Jesus, “full of grace and truth” who hung on the cruel cross of Calvary and could still utter the words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
It is important that Jesus fully embodied both grace and truth. Were He only a God of truth then we would all stand condemned, and were He only a God of grace then He would be some sort of cosmic pushover. Truth reveals our sin, but grace forgives it. Jesus fully embodied all of that.
He freely extended that fullness to all of humanity
It would have been one thing for God incarnate to show up and show off, but He didn’t. Verses 16-17 say,