Derek begins this study in the first chapter of John looking at the person who is the Word, who was before time began, and who came into the world born as a man, Jesus, the Son of God. He was the very image of God, and came to show mankind what God is like—to reveal God as Father.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with You Keys to Successful Living, which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry. The title for my talks this week is “Born of God.” I’ll be sharing about the most profound life-changing experience that can ever happen to any human being.
But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write even if it’s only a brief note, sit down and write today. Now, back to our theme, “Born of God.”
This experience of being born of God is one in which eternity becomes part of time and God becomes part of man. To understand it, we have to go back before time to eternity. And this is possible only through the inspired revelation of Scripture, the Bible. Nowhere else do we have access to this truth. It’s confined within the pages of the Bible and the teaching that comes from those pages. We’re going to go to the opening verses of John’s gospel in which John pictures a relationship within the eternal being of God. In these opening verses he introduces us to two divine persons: God and the Word. His opening words are: “In the beginning...,” and for any Jewish mind, that would immediately turn it back to the opening book of the Old Testament, the Book of Genesis, which begins with the same words: “In the beginning...” and continues, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” And that opening verse of the Old Testament, like this verse in John’s gospel is extremely significant because in it the mystery of the nature of God is contained in seed form. In Genesis 1, verse 1, the word for God, in Hebrew, Elohim, is plural; but the verb that follows it, “created,” is singular. So, right in the opening verse in the Bible we have both the singular and the plural related to the person of God. And it’s “In the beginning...,” in other words, it’s before creation took place, before time began “there is God” we do not say, “there was God,” but “there is God.” God, “One”; and yet God, “more than One.” Combining in Himself the paradox of unity and plurality. And actually this paradox continues to be unfolded throughout the Bible, coming to its full culmination in the New Testament and in the person of Jesus.
Now we’ll look at the words of John. As I’ve said, he starts with the words, “In the beginning...”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [The Word is God.] He was with God in the beginning. [The phrase that’s translated “with God” in the original Greek is “toward God.” And it says elsewhere in the Scripture that he was in the bosom of the Father. It pictures the most intimate personal relationship between God the Father and the Son, the Word. Then, speaking about this divine Word, it says:] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
Now the Greek word translated by the English word “Word,” in this passage is logos. Logos is one of the most profound and meaningful words in the Greek language and the Greek language is an extremely rich language. Logos means much more than the English word by which we translate it “word.” We can say that this Greek word, logos, means understanding, reason, intelligence, purpose. It’s a word that you cannot translate by one single English word. So as we view this picture given us here of the Word who was with God and was God, we could perhaps describe this divine Word in some such phrases as these: the infinite understanding and purpose of God expressed not in mere theory or knowledge but in a person. How important that is to see that the ultimate revelation of God is not just in a theory, it’s not just in intellectual knowledge, it’s not in “words” plural, but it’s in a “Word” the Word, the divine Word, a person. You see, personality is much higher than that which is not person. And so it’s very appropriate that the complete revelation of God is not contained just in things in words, in writings but it’s contained in a divine person.
And this divine person is related to God as a Son to a Father. He shows forth the perfect likeness of God. Elsewhere in the epistle to the Hebrews, which is also addressed specifically to the Jewish mind, it says He’s the express image of the Father’s person. He’s the channel of His creative activity. Everything that was created was created by Him and He’s the source of all life. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.”
Now we come to the next amazing revelation of Scripture: In God’s appointed time this divine eternal Word was manifested in human history in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. John says in his gospel, chapter 1, verse 14:
“The Word became flesh and lived for a while 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.”
So He took human form and He was found among men just as a man, yet nevertheless at certain times, His eternal glory was manifested to the eyes of His disciples. The coming of this divine Word to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth was attested by the last of the great prophets of the old order, John the Baptist. The apostle John records of John the Baptist in his gospel chapter 1, verse 15:
“John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me has surpassed me [or was preferred before me] because he was before me.’”
So, this divine, eternal Word, manifested in the person of Jesus, was before John. Not merely was but He is He is the eternal self-existent Word of God.
And then a little further on in the first chapter of John’s gospel, verse 18, we read this:
“No one has ever seen God [that’s God the Father], but God the only Son [the unique Son that Greek word means two things it means the ‘only begotten’ and ‘only one of a kind.’ There is no other son like this divine eternal Son of God.] but... the only Son, who is at the Father’s side [or ‘in the Father’s bosom’], has made him known.”
So, we cannot see God the Father. Paul tells us He dwells in light unapproachable, whom no man can see or has seen. But we can see Him represented perfectly represented in the person of His Son and manifested in human history as Jesus of Nazareth. And you remember Jesus said, “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” You want to know what God is like, you have to look at Jesus. He’s the perfect representative.
And then we need to bear in mind that not only was He attested by the last of the Old Testament prophets, but He was foretold by all the Old Testament prophets. And here’s a verse that’s familiar to many in Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 6, speaking of this miraculous manifestation of Jesus:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
There’s certain remarkable contrasts or paradoxes in that prophecy which open up the door to the revelation of this ministry. The wording is very exact. Jesus was born as a child, a little infant, but He was given as a Son the eternal Son. He didn’t become the Son of God by being born of Mary, He was born as a child but given as the eternal Son.
And then this same child is also called the “Everlasting Father,” or the Father of Eternity and the “Prince of Peace” and the “Mighty God.” Here we have a child who is to be born and yet is to be the Mighty God. How clear that prediction is when we see it fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. And we have to see here the tremendous implications for the human race and for each of us individually of this event in human history the birth of the Son of God His manifestation in human flesh. Let me say just two vital facts that I want you to bear in mind. First, all history was affected by His coming. The world has never been the same since. Secondly, our response to Him determines our destiny. The way we respond to God manifesting Himself in history in the person of Jesus is going to be decisive for our personal destiny in time and in eternity.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing how men respond to this eternal Word and, in so doing, settle their own destiny.