The Wonder of the Word

Christmastime often gives believers more opportunities with family and friends to discuss the true wonder of the season. We can tell them that we need not wonder who God is and what He is like. He has condescended to us through both the living Word and the written Word. If we want to know the triune God, we must search the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to show us Christ, who in turn reveals the Father. The gospel of John is a good place to start.

               Strikingly, the apostle John tell us that the Word who “was in the beginning with God,” through whom “all things were made,” and who is “the true light,” also “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, the Son of God “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). In fulfillment of all that the tent of meeting and tabernacle represented in the Old Testament, most notably God’s presence (see Ex. 25:8; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3), Jesus “dwelt among us” in order to reveal God’s glory. Just as “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” in Moses’s day, so too the glory of God the Father filled the Son of God, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Without grace the truth would be terrifying. We are sinners that stand condemned before God’s holy law. But the gospel of grace testifies that the Son of God “gave the right to become children of God” to those “who believed in his name” (v. 12).

               The entirety of the Old Testament Scriptures “bear witness” about Jesus (John 5:39) and there are numerous prophecies that speak about His coming. So important was the arrival of the Word that God sent a witness to prepare His way. This messenger, who was foretold by the prophet Malachi (Mal. 3:1), testified of Jesus, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.” (John 1:15). As a witness of the true light, John the Baptist declared Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (v. 30) and “the bridegroom” who “must increase” while all others “must decrease” (3:29-30).  

               It’s a wonderful truth that the Word “became flesh and dwelt among us” in order to reveal God’s glory. But it’s even more amazing that “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). When Israel stood around Mount Sinai, when Moses received the law of God, His glory was so terrifying that they “said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die’” (Ex. 20:19). It remains true that “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). But “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), so that we no longer need to fear approaching God the Father. We can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” because “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God” (Heb. 4:14).

               Some people tend to think that God only offers a certain amount of grace, but God’s grace does not run dry. As we humble ourselves before Him, “he gives more grace” (Jas. 4:6). The “God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal gory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10). As you recognize how far short you fall of obeying God’s moral law, don’t believe the lie that He won’t give you more grace. Instead, run to Christ, repent of your sin and rest in His forgiveness.

               God’s moral law should not terrify us, but turn our eyes to Christ. It reveals that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). It also reveals what Christ has obeyed on our behalf, which should lead us to humble thanksgiving and praise. Furthermore, it trains us in the way of holiness, revealing how God wants His people to live for His glory.

               Dear reader, if we want to know God, we must search the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to show us Christ, who in turn reveals the Father (John 1:18). We need not wonder about who God is and what He is like. He has condescended to us through both the living Word and the written Word. Therefore, let us fall down in wonder before Him, heed His commands, marvel at His love, and behold His glory. Then let us encourage our family and friends to do the same.  

Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, homeschooling mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). To learn more, please visit


Sarah Ivill