In John 8:12 [emphasis mine], Jesus says, "I AM the Light (the manifest radiance of God's life) of the world, and the one following (or co-walking with) Me shall not walk (or live life) in the darkness but will have (or echo) the light of life."
The gospel of grace is the good, glad, happy news that will make a man jump for joy! John gives us this type of good news in his gospel. He is telling us that the Logos (the Word, Jesus) is the only place we can trace our origins… IN the beginning. It is in the ETERNAL realm of IN, the infinite realm of FACE TO FACE WITH-ness with God (Father, Son, and Spirit). We have ALWAYS been IN intimate WITH-ness with the Trinity… face to face, mouth to mouth, breath to breath, FILLED to the fullness with the life of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. And created to walk as sons radiating or manifesting that life in the earth. Just like Jesus never left that realm when He stepped into time and space in His incarnation, we also NEVER left that realm when we stepped into time and space (being born). We just lost our awareness of it because we were taught something different!
And I love verses 9 and 10 of John 1! Verse 9 says, “The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world!" There isn't an exclamation point in this verse, but really I think there should be.
Can't you just hear the excitement in this verse… He's coming!!! The True Light of the world is coming!!! Get ready!!! Can you hear the anticipation, the hope, the expectancy in this verse?
John is saying that the True Light, the King of kings, Jesus, is coming into our world!!! It makes me think of an Old Testament type and shadow of the king coming into the field. In Jewish tradition, Elul is the month of the love song: I am my Beloveds, and my Beloved is mine. Once a year, in the month of Elul, the king would come into the field in the Old Testament. He would come into the everyday lives of the people. It was a prophetic picture for the Jews of The King (Jesus) coming into our world.
It was a picture of God's unfailing love for mankind and His desire for an intimate FACE TO FACE relationship devoid of all religious protocol.
In Old Testament times, the king would leave his palace and go out among his people. Most of the year, the king lived protected by guards and iron gates. To have an audience, you had to be summoned. You couldn't approach the king on your own, or you would die! And IF you were called, you first had to learn the proper protocol before approaching the king. You had to dress correctly, speak correctly, have proper manners, and your presentation had to be FLAWLESS! And then once you got to the capital, you were ushered to the palace through many gates, corridors, and antechambers that led to the throne room. It was an intimidating spectacle… even the Queen of Sheba passed out when she came before King Solomon because of the splendor of his court and palace.
BUT once a year in the month of Elul, the king would come into the field. He would leave his palace and go out among his people. He would set up his royal tent in the field, and all who wanted to see him were welcome. And the announcement was made, "The king is in the field." They were ALL welcome to come just as they were — no dress code, no protocol, no intimidation.
The king received everyone FACE TO FACE, with a smiling and a radiant countenance, happy to see them, and desiring to hear their concerns.
2 Chronicles 19 is about King Jehoshaphat going out into the field among his people. Verse 4 says, "So Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem and went out again among the people from Beersheba to Ephraim's hill country and brought them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers." The king went into the field to turn the people's hearts back to the Lord -- restoration. When Jehoshaphat went out among the people, he saw things God didn't like.... injustice, bribery, and oppression. Jehoshaphat's name means God has judged! When Jesus came into the field, it was also to turn the people back to God, back to the Father. There was injustice, bribery, and oppression happening in the form of religion among the people. There was oppressive protocol in approaching God. Religious systems were set up, such as sacrifices and offerings, His presence being veiled in the Holy of Holies where only the high priest could enter into once a year.
Religion didn’t allow God in the everyday, mundane life of the ordinary person.
BUT Jesus came into our world, the King came into our field, to show mankind that God is a good Daddy who had already judged them righteous, holy, blameless. He regarded them as sons!
Another king who went out into the field is Melchizadek in Genesis 14. Melchizadek gave Abram bread and wine and blessed him, saying: "Blessed is Abram by God and blessed is God who delivered your enemies into your hand." When Abram was weary from battle, king Melchizadek came into the field to strengthen and refresh him. He blessed Abram.
Jesus came into our field and delivered mankind from the enemy of sin and death. Delivering us from everything that hindered our wrong thinking about who God is and who we are. He came into our field and strengthened and refreshed us.
Jesus is the greatest King, the True King, the One who left His throne to come into the field. He lived in our field in a tent of mortal flesh. He was God made accessible, smiling, and radiant, FACE TO FACE with man in their everyday lives!! He came to manifest the Father's goodness, love, and righteousness — to heal and deliver ALL. He came to draw us into every day, no protocol required, no religious trappings, into an unintimidating relationship with the Father. That's what it looks like when the king is in the field.
The King of kings came into our world, into our field, and tore down the veil that religion had put up to separate man from God and God from man.
So, John is telling us in verse 9 of chapter 1, "He is coming!!" I love the Mirror Bible translation of verse 9, “A new day for mankind had come. The authentic light of life that illuminates everyone was about to dawn in the world.” Our calendars would forever, from that point on, divide history into before Christ and after Christ.
AND verse 10 tells us that His coming was NOT something new, but rather that He had ALWAYS been here in our world.
Humanity just didn't recognize Him in their lives.
John 1:10 says, "He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him." The word was in Greek, is en, meaning exists, and it is also in the imperfect tense conveying a continual, timeless existence. Meaning there was NEVER a time when He wasn't in the world enlightening every man and sharing His life. Exposing and overcoming the darkness that was caused by the sin that Adam had introduced into the world. He was ALWAYS in our field!! But John said the world didn't know Him — men had no intimate knowledge of who He was.
The Mirror Bible says it this way, “Although no one took any notice of Him, He was no stranger to the world. He was always there and the Author of ALL things. (11) It was not as though He arrived on a foreign planet; He came to His own, yet His own did not recognize Him.”
When we step out of our legalistic mindset and read these verses through the lens of FINISHED, we can see the eternal ONENESS that Jesus ALWAYS had with the Father. And we have ALWAYS had with the Father IN Christ. And seeing the beauty of our ETERNAL sonship in verses 12 and 13, we will no longer read it as a DO TO BECOME.
Verse 12-13 in the NKJV reads, "But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on 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."
I honestly think this Scripture has got to be one of the most blatantly legalistic, non-GRACE taught verses in the Bible!!
Not the verse itself, but the way we have interpreted it!
John had been speaking of this ETERNAL ONENESS. Beautifully describing man's ageless, timeless, FACE TO FACE, breath to breath, ETERNAL relationship with God IN Christ. And we get to these two verses that begin with the word BUT! Not that John's use of the word but was wrong. Just our stopping at BUT, and teaching it out of the context of what John had been saying. Taking this BUT and making these verses a DO TO BE — making it about putting OUR faith IN Jesus and THEN (and ONLY THEN) we can become children or sons of God!
That’s not what John was saying in these verses!!
We need to read Scripture and hear the ETERNAL message of grace -- the message of grace that was NEVER bound by time but was ageless.
This message of grace, of ONENESS with God as sons made IN His image and likeness, was not just a New Testament message. It was present in the Old Testament and the gospels if you will but allow Holy Spirit to open your eyes and change your thinking (metanoia). The gospel is the message of sonship that is ETERNAL (Ephesians 1:4), NOT dependent upon a sinner's prayer or an altar call!!
I love the Mirror Bible translation of John 1:12-13. It says, "Everyone who realizes their association in Him, convinced that He is their original life and His name defines them, God gives the assurance that they are indeed His offspring, begotten of Him; He sanctions the legitimacy of their sonship. (13) These are the ones who discovered their Genesis in God, beyond their natural conception. This is not about our blood lineage or whether we were a wanted or unwanted child; this is about our God-begotteness. We are His dream come true and not the invention of our parents. You are indeed the greatest idea that God has ever had!"
John is NOT saying ONLY those who put their faith in Jesus and receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior are NOW children of God, and all others are NOT!
He is saying that mankind's indifference to their true origin (their true identity) is the problem. Humanity had forgotten who they were by design…sons of God, image, and likeness of Him! Jesus came into our field to show us who we have always (ETERNALLY) been, to awaken us to our true, original, ETERNAL identity! Jesus gave us the authority to become children of God. Authority is exousian in Greek. It is two words, ek, meaning out from and eimi, meaning to exist, to be, and I AM. The word also means freedom, liberty, strength!!
Jesus came and gave us the freedom, the liberty, the strength to BE who we ALWAYS were… sons ek eimi — sons from out of I AM!!
We have been taught that WHEN we receive Him THEN we become God’s child or son. The word receive in this verse is lambano, meaning to take in hand, to comprehend, to grasp, and to identify with. It is in the aorist indicative tense – FINISHED! We have always identified with Him. He has ALWAYS been our identity. Ephesians 1:4 says that were chosen IN HIM from before time began – our identity was IN Him from before time began. But we haven’t always KNOWN that. And the word become is in the aorist infinitive tense. An aorist infinitive presents the action expressed by the verb as a completed unit with a beginning and end. So the word become has a beginning and an ending. For me that means, become had a beginning… an eternal beginning - Ephesians 1:4 chosen IN Christ and a time and space beginning Genesis 1:27 we were made in His image and likeness -- man BECAME image and likeness of God. And when we awaken to our identity, when we grasp or comprehend who we are IN Him as sons, we NO LONGER strive to become a son (in other words, become has come to an end).
This verse is not talking about God becoming our Father once we “receive” Jesus into our hearts. God has ALWAYS been our Father. This is talking about awakening to our identity as sons in the image and likeness of our Father with His authority in the earth.
John is not saying in these verses that our action triggers God's ability to make us sons. We have ALWAYS been beloved sons (Ephesians 1:5)!
The Mirror Bible says it well, “Everyone who realizes their association in him, convinced that he is their original life and that His name defines them, God gives the assurance that they are indeed his offspring, begotten of Him; He sanctions the legitimacy of their sonship.”
Then John introduces the Incarnation in verse 14. The Young’s Literal Translation says, “And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.” And John had just said in verse 13, that we too are God-begotten.
The Mirror Bible translation of verses 13 and 14 says, “These are the ones who discover their genesis in God, beyond their natural conception! This is not about our blood lineage or whether we were a wanted or an unwanted-child; this is about our God-begotteness. We are his dream come true and not the invention of our parents. You are indeed the greatest idea that God has ever had!” (14) Suddenly the invisible, eternal Word takes on visible form - the Incarnation, on display in a flesh and blood Person, as in a mirror! In him, and now confirmed in us! The most accurate tangible exhibit of God’s eternal thought finds expression in human life! The Word became a human being; we are his address; he resides in us! He captivates our gaze! The glory we see there is not a religious replica; he is the authentic begotten Son. The glory (that we lost in Adam) returns in fullness! Only grace can communicate truth in such complete context!”
John is pointing us again to our ETERNAL origin. And to our COMPLETENESS in the One who was the ONLY begotten. Jesus was in the bosom of the Father, the only original, authentic begotten of the Father. And in verse 16, John tells us that He is the Source of our completeness!
Jesus came and showed us God's glory. He came revealing God's eternal thought realized in human flesh — SONSHIP! He came and showed us what we look like as sons who are the image and likeness of God in human form. He came and showed us our true selves. Opening our eyes to the grace and reality of who we always have been… begotten sons of God…. sons out of I AM, the ONLY begotten Son!
When John put pen to paper to write his gospel, these are the words that he chooses to show us this gospel of grace. Sixty years after John last saw Jesus in the flesh, now in his 90’s, he reflects on the mystery that was revealed.
John had gone from a son of thunder and seeing things in the fleshly realm. To the apostle of love who now can see the eternal truth of mankind - that we pre-existed in the logic of God, and whatever is true of Jesus is true of us.
John chose words that speak the eternal truth, the eternal reality, of the beautiful grace of God…. of our ONENESS with Him IN Christ. Words describing the shared life, we have always had with Him… never separated, but always WITH Him – face to face, mouth to mouth, breath to breath: his life, His light, His nature IN us. We just never recognized it, and so the King came into the field… into our world… to show us who we have ALWAYS been.
The Bible, when taught correctly, isn't about God, and it isn't about mankind – it's about God and man together – ONE!
He is our very life, the atmosphere in which we live and move, and have our being. His love is so boundless, so limitless, SO FULL, that He couldn't keep it to Himself.
quote: “That is the WHY of creation – that we should be IN union with the Father, through the Son IN the Holy Spirit." ~ Malcolm Smith
This is the passion of the Father, our ONENESS. Our FACE TO FACE union with Him is His glorious message of grace!! And the Incarnation is the ultimate revelation of grace – the FULL revelation of His grace. It was not an emergency fix to mend Adam's sin; it was the purpose before creation He was the Lamb slain before the world's foundation. Mankind was created to be IN union with God – even at the physical level. It's the way God intended us to live. Our life is to be lived from the abundance of the Zoe life (the God-life) breathed IN us, that we were created to enjoy.
To enjoy the limitless freedom of knowing and being known by God as sons! This is His message of GRACE!