Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. John 1:16–18
Seeing photos of people on social media helps us to know and recognize them as we build relationship. Unlike humans, the God of the Bible is spiritual. What this means is that God is also invisible, immaterial, and not physical. In an age so dependent on the visual, how in the world could we possibly know a God we cannot see?
The answer to this dilemma is Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God who enters into human history in a human body. To look at Jesus is to see the Father, since they share all the divine attributes and emotions. Jesus even said in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
According to John, in order to know God, you have to start with Jesus. Most religions start with some form of “the law” to know their gods. Laws are simply commands that you must obey to avoid punishment. The Old Testament has a lot of laws. In fact, the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses are called the Books of the Law and have 613 various laws. The problem is this: While the law is good, we are bad. We break God’s laws, so rather than helping us be accepted by God, the law just shows us how unacceptable we are. To state it plainly, the law shows us two things: what God is like, and how woefully unlike God we are. That’s the truth. That’s the plain unvarnished brutally honest fact.
This is where the need for grace comes in. Jesus enters human history and does the most amazing thing: He obeys every law and never sins! Jesus is perfect. Jesus then dies in our place for our sins so that the demand of the law is satisfied. He then gives us grace so that we can be forgiven, made righteous, made new, and changed to start obeying God by the power of the Holy Spirit like Jesus did.
Grace is the opposite of religion. Religion is about what we do for God. Grace is about what God does for us. Religion makes us proud. Grace makes us humble. Religion makes us think we can save ourselves. Grace convinces us that apart from Jesus, no one will ever be saved.
Do you constantly beat yourself up for something in your life that you need to release to God and receive His grace for so that you can move forward?
I will spend roughly an entire year preaching verse-by-verse through the entire Gospel of John and those sermons can be found for free each week after they are preached at MarkDriscoll.org.