Friday, December 21, 2007

Grace, Truth, and Incarnation

As a gift for the Remember-the-Incarnation-Season, here is a brief section from D.A.Carson on John 1:14. Can reading good Bible commentaries bless you? I hope this reading will.

-The words "full of grace and truth" may be descriptive of the Word, especially if "pleres" ('full'), is understood to be nominative, agreeing with "logos" ('Word'); but because 'full' is irregularly declinable (that is, it does not formally 'agree' with any particular word form), it seems best to take the expression as a modifier of 'glory'. The glory of God manifest in the incarnate Word was "full of grace and truth". In that case John is almost certainly directing his readers to Exodus 33-34. There Moses begs God, 'Now show me Your glory' ( Ex.33:18). The Lord replies, 'I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, THE LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion' ( Ex.33:19). God's glory, then, is supremely His goodness. So Moses stands on Mt.Sinai, and, we are told. 'the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there before him, and proclaimed His name, THE LORD. And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "THE LORD, THE LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin" '( Ex.34:5-7).

LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS spell out the nature of the goodness which is God's glory. The two crucial words in Hebrew are "hesed" (variously rendered 'steadfast love', 'mercy', 'covenant love' - but it has recently been shown quite clearly that it is the GRACIOUSNESS of the love that is at stake), and "met" ('truth' or 'faithfulness'). This pair of expressions recurs again and again throughout the Old Testament. The two words that John uses, 'full of GRACE and TRUTH', are his ways of summing up the same ideas. The glory revealed to Moses when THE LORD passed in front of him and sounded His name, displaying that divine goodness characterized by ineffable grace and truth, was the very same glory John and his friends saw in the Word-made-flesh.-

Now, as the old saying goes, 'if that doesn't light your fire, you're wood is wet!'. The glory revealed to Moses was "the very same glory" John saw in Christ!! The glory of Christ, the glory which is "full of grace and truth".

May God shine in your heart to give you "the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2. Cor.4:6).

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