And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us

By Mike Ratliff 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 (NASB) 

All in Christ belong to the living God. He gave all of them to the Son (John 6:37). Each of them comes to the Son and is saved. There was a time before God shattered my religious idols back in 2004 that I was sure in my mind and my understanding that genuine Christians believed like those in my church. They had to have responded to the Gospel as I had done. There was no way that a person could be Christian, I thought, if they belonged to certain churches that were way too formal according to my ‘standards.’ Also, genuine believers were religious in a certain way and that way looked a lot like the way my church did it and how all those churches I had been part of growing up did it.

As I stated above, in 2004 God shattered all of my idols. He crushed the pieces that remained and swept my heart clean. I was amazed to learn as I began studying theology more and more that there were some very fine Christians who were not part of my old denomination. In fact, the more I researched, prayed, and repented the greater my Lord became in my heart. I soon began to realize that religiosity in the Church in our time has become a huge, deceptive idol. Just like riders to a Bill in the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, we have attached innumerable idols to our “religion.” Our focus is on these things rather than on our Lord, who He is, and what He has done. Let us look again at whom our Lord really is and what He has done for those given to Him by the Father.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 (NASB) 

In v1 we read a passage that echoes the opening phrase of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  So we know that the Word was there at creation. He was with God and He was God. The Greek word John used that we translate as “Word” here is λόγος (lógos). John’s use of λόγος conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech. God’s Word is always effective. When God speaks, things come into being and by His speech he relates personally to His people. Through John’s use of λόγος to describe our Lord he is confronting the Greek philosophical concept of it as an impersonal principle of Reason, which is how they conceived the creation of the universe. John is telling us that our creator is God Himself.

John tells us that the Word is a He and He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. Nothing was created without Him. We also learn that life is in Him. The Greek Word John used here for “life” is ζωή (zōē). This is an interesting word. It refers to the principle of life in the spirit and soul. This is not the word used to describe biological life. ζωή belongs to Christ alone who gives it to all who come to Him because the Father gave them to Him. ζωή comes from nowhere else. It comes from no one else. It is only available through Christ. We also learn here that ζωή is the light of men. The Greek word John used for light here is φῶς (phōs). This form of light is the type not kindled by man. The Greeks used this word to describe the light of the Sun. In this context, however, John is telling us that this light, which comes from the life given by Christ alone, comes from outside of man and cannot be quenched by man. What does this light do? It shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. The Greek word for darkness here is σκοτία (skotia). This “darkness” conveys the idea of “unhappiness” or “ruin.”

What do we have here concerning what Christ has done in this sin sick world? God is omnipotent. What He speaks is so. What He does happens. When the λόγος came to accomplish His mission, He accomplished it. His work brought “life” and  “light” and overcame “darkness” in the hearts of those given to Him by the Father.

9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:9-14 (NASB) 

The λόγος is the true light. He “enlightens” everyone. This is the Greek word φωτίζω (phōtizō). It means to “brighten up”, “to give light”, or “to make see.” This describes the incredible spiritual bankruptcy of the unregenerate person. They are spiritually blind and cannot know the truth unless it is given to them to see by the λόγος. This is not speaking of this understanding being given to “everyone,” but John is saying that all who do come to know the truth are given the ability to know it by Him. He came into the world, but the world, created by Him, did not know him. This makes it clear that even though all who do know him are given the ability to know him and do so, but no one else does. They reject Him because they are not φωτίζω by Him. If they were then they would believe.

He came as a Jew to the Jews, but they did not receive Him. However, John turns right around and says that some did receive Him. These received Him and believed in His name. He then gave them the right to become children of God. They were born of the will of God. All who are genuine Christians come to Him this way. They do not believe and repent according to their heritage or ancestry. They do not believe and repent because it was their idea or desire to do so. It was not accomplished by doing any works of the flesh. No, all who are genuine Christians are His because it was God’s will to draw them to the Son, enlighten them with the light of the Saviour and as they see the truth, they believe and repent and become children of God.

John then bears witness that the λόγος of God became flesh and dwelt among men. These have seen His glory as of the only Son from the Father. This glory was full of grace and truth. My brethren, if you are in Christ then you came to Him the same way all Christians did, which is how John describes here. Without the divine light being shown into the darkness of our hearts, none of us would ever believe. He must do this first then we see the Son. We see the truth about Him and us. This drives us to see the truth of our sinfulness and lostness. Then we repent and believe the Gospel. We place our trust in Christ alone to save us. We understand that we are not Christians because of who we are or what we have done, but are so because of what God has done through the Son.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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