The Bible is a wonderful book that is full of the riches of Christ. The Word is not a scattered collection of 66 books compiled by a council of theologians, but it is a single unit of God-breathed truth that is profitable to teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
The Bible is not only a wonderful, unified book, but it also conveys one glorious message: the full economy of God. In the first chapter of John, you can see a picture of all of time, from eternity-past to eternity-future. In this chapter you can see what God’s economy is and how He carries it out. I hope you all enjoy!
In the Beginning
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
When you read John 1:1, it’s hard to not be reminded of Genesis 1:1. However, there is a big difference between the two. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” refers to the beginning of creation. The “in the beginning” in John 1:1, however, refers to eternity-past. It refers to God, before anything was ever created and when God was alone before time.
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:3
Here we have the actual parallel to Gen. 1:1 in that we see Christ creating all things. God existed in eternity-past in verses 1 and 2. In verse 3, He created. God did not create in an aimless way, however, but in a very purposeful and intentional way:
“And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things…according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord” Ephesians 3:9-11
God created according to His eternal purpose. All things were created for God’s will, and God’s will is in accordance with His good pleasure and purpose (Rev. 4:11; Eph. 1:9).
“And the Word became flesh” John 1:14
This is a most marvelous truth! God entered into His creation! The eternal entered into the temporal and dwelt among us. This is not an incidental phenomenon that was demanded by the fall, but was God’s plan in the very beginning of creation. God has always wanted to enter into His creation, specifically, into man.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” Genesis 1:26
We were made in God’s image, according to His likeness. In the same way a glove is made according to the image of a hand: that a hand might enter in and express itself through the glove, so we were made to be indwelt by God and express Him! For more on this, see: Expression.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
As a man, God’s first objective was to deal with the problem of sin. Man fell into sin, frustrating God’s original intention in creation. But praise the Lord that our God loves us! He loves us so much that He was willing to give up His only Son as the “Lamb of God” to take away our sin!
We are no longer to be bogged down by sins or convicted by the accuser, but we can stand on the blood of Jesus, confess our sins, and be assured that the Lord is faithful and righteous to forgive (1 John 1:9; Rev. 12:10-11).
“I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He abode upon Him.” John 1:32
The Lamb of God is for the redemption of man from all his sins. The dove, however, is for bringing God’s life to man. God did not complete His plan of entering into His creation with Jesus, but actually has made Jesus the pattern for which He desires to replicate in all of us!
In John 3:16, Christ is the only begotten Son, but later on He becomes the “firstborn among many brothers” (Rm. 8:29)!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3
Through Christ’s death on the cross, we are forgiven of sins. Through Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we are regenerated unto a living hope!
“Looking at him, Jesus said, ‘You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).” John 1:42
God is not finished with us after we were initially saved through regeneration. He actually wants to transform our every part and make us living stones!
“Coming to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but with God chosen and precious, you yourselves also, as living stones” 1 Peter 2:4-5a
“Be transformed by the renewing of the mind” Romans 12:2
“But we all…are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 13:18
Peter’s name was changed by the Lord from Simon to Cephas, which means stone in Greek! He took the man of clay and transformed him into a living stone. We all need to be transformed in the same way.
“And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see heaven opened and the angles of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:51
At first glance, this seems irrelevant to our discussion and inappropriate to be under the subtitle: building. However, in context of the whole bible, this refers to something very particular.
“And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it…This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:12-17
Jesus was referring to Jacob’s dream when He spoke this to Nathanael. Christ is the heavenly ladder upon which the angels ascend and descend. They are ascending and descending to minister to the saints (Heb. 1:14). And the final result is the house of God!
“You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” 1 Peter 2:5
“I write that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church” 1 Timothy 3:15
The transformation is for the building up of the house of God. This is such a marvelous plan that the Lord reveals in John 1!
In the first chapter of John, you see God in eternity-past (v. 1), who then creates the universe (v. 3), enters into that creation (v. 14), redeems His fallen creatures (v. 29), gives them the spirit for their regeneration (v. 32), transforms their very person (v.42), and then builds them up as the house of God for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose and mutual satisfaction of God and His children in eternity-future (v. 51) .