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  • Chad Werkhoven

John 1:16-18 - Can You See Him?

God is invisible, but there is a way you can see Him!



John 1:16–18 (NIV)

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 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.


Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 1


We all believe in our hearts

and confess with our mouths

that there is a single

and simple spiritual being,

whom we call God—


eternal,

incomprehensible,

invisible,

unchangeable,

infinite,

almighty;


completely wise,

just,

and good,

and the overflowing source of all good.

 

Summary

The Bible doesn't explain theology in a dull, clinical way detached from the rest of life. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you've read John 1 before, and you likely have, you know that the primary purpose of this passage isn't to catalog just a few more of God's esoteric attributes. Rather, the point of this amazing chapter is to proclaim the good news that God Almighty has become Immanuel and has come to live amongst us!


But it's exactly in contexts just like this one that we learn so much about our God and Father! Theology is more than tedious explanations of the divine or a fancy skill that will help you win at Bible trivia; theology is the language and knowledge we use to understand our salvation and then apply it to our daily lives.


Near the close of what's come to be known as the prologue to John's gospel, John drops a huge theological nugget, writing that "no one has ever seen God." In other words, God is invisible. 'But wait a second,' you might be thinking, 'what about guys like Abraham and Moses; didn't they encounter God in a way that they could see with their own eyes?'


Yes, they did! These encounters are called theophanies, and there's actually lots of examples in the Bible of people seeing a limited aspect of God's presence. But just as Moses couldn't see God's face and live (Exodus 33:20), no one had fully seen God until that first Christmas, when "the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, made Him known.


This means that if you truly want to see and know the invisible God, you must know Him through the Word made flesh - Jesus.



Dig Deeper


Most people have packed up and moved on past Christmas by now. The discarded wrapping paper has been picked up, the gifts already forgotten, and the brief spiritual highs experienced at Christmas church services has faded away.


To most, God remains invisible, and will stay so until they stand before Him in judgment. They can't see the beauty of how His law guides our lives, and they certainly don't know how His salvation frees us from our slavery to sin. Maybe they saw a momentary glimpse of the light during Christmas, but their lives are already dark again.


Don't be one of these people! Do the hard work of knowing Christ each and every day of the year. Keep reading the Bible; keep making time during the day to disconnect from the noise to pray and think; keep gathering with God's people on the Lord's Day to hear His Word proclaimed.


This is theology: living in the light of God's presence made visible through the Word.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, invisible to most, but made known through the grace and truth of His Word;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength and energy to do the hard work necessary to see God everyday this year as you read & listen to His Word;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

    Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 4    

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