Friday, July 16, 2010

John's Gospel - 7

John 1.17

This sounds like ‘law’ is opposed to ‘grace and truth’ which is a popular, though inaccurate, thought today. The key to understanding this verse is catching that ‘For’ at the beginning. Verse 17 is connected to verse 16; it explains or fills out verse 16. So, the best way to understand verse 17 is not to see it as a contrast between Moses with his law (‘Hiss! Boo!’) and Jesus with His grace and truth (‘Yea!!’). Rather, this pair is an example of ‘grace upon grace’, verse 16. So, ‘the law was given (by the Word!!) through Moses.’ This was an expression of His grace. The law is a gift to us from the Word. We should view it as such. It is not a club to discourage us. It is not intended to make us feel stupid. It is a gift to show us what holy living looks like so that we can enjoy holy lives. (Yes, ‘enjoy’!) It does this first by showing us the impossibility of doing such a thing on our own. But that, then, sets us up for Jesus who makes it very possible for us to enjoy holy living. The law points us to Christ first as Savior who rescues us from unholy living and its consequences here and hereafter, and then as Sanctifier who makes us able to obey the law and thus become holy. So, it really is a matter of ‘grace upon grace’.

No comments: