This exercise is adapted from Michael Dye’s The Genesis Process. 
All of us have been hurt and wounded by others, especially those we trusted. From beginning to end, the Bible emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. God even commands us to forgive (Ephes. 4:32). Therefore, Jesus taught us to pray, “12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors… 14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:12, 14-15). Forgiveness is so important because it is connected to God’s forgiveness of us. I cannot enjoy fellowship or closeness with God the Father if I am not willing to forgive those who have hurt me. Being unforgiving connects us to our past hurts and makes it difficult to fully enjoy the blessings of our relationship with God and with other people.
One of the ways we can know we have not forgiven someone is we keep rehearsing bitter and defensive thoughts toward those who have hurt us. We keep going “back to court” in our minds with all the things we wish we had said or want to say to them.  God invites us to release the hurt others have caused to us. Forgiveness requires the cancelling of a debt (cf. Matt. 18:21-35). Perhaps the person who has hurt us owes us an apology, justice, money, repentance, restoration, suffering, understanding, etc. God wants us to cancel the debt they owe us.
There are three things that can hinder us from forgiving others: judgments, vows, and false beliefs. When someone hurts us, we can hold on to judgments about them out of fear. We don’t realize it, but our judgments are an attempt to protect ourselves from painful memories associated with our abusers. We may judge their motives and try to read their minds. We tell ourselves, “He or she is evil, selfish, and does not care about me or love me.” Christ warns us about making such judgments (Matt. 7:1-2). These judgments can cause heart wounds that keep us from healing and growing. When we refuse to forgive that person, we can bind ourselves to the person we are judging and become more like that person.It is important to repent or change our minds about our judgments and ask God to release the person and ourselves from the consequences. 
Not only do judgments about our offenders hinder us from forgiving them, but so do the vows we make. Jesus opposed the practice of distorting vows so they could convey or conceal a lie (Matt. 5:33-35). We can make inner vows to survive the hurts we have suffered. For example, when a person I trusted hurts me, I may make an inner vow that says, “I will never trust anyone again!” Or “If I need others, they will take advantage of me!” These types of vows can become self-curses that result in isolation and loneliness, which cause us even more pain. These inner vows can often become subconscious and do not disappear with time. They are like a contract that must be renounced or broken. It is important to ask God to forgive us and break these vows we have made. 
False beliefs or lies can also prevent us from forgiving others. We may tell ourselves, “If I forgive them, they will get off the hook and there will never be any justice.” But the truth is, only God knows what is just (Rom. 12:19). Or “If I forgive, I will become vulnerable to them again.” The truth is that just because you forgive them does not mean that they are safe, and you must trust them again. They must earn your trust. For reconciliation on a horizontal level to take place, the perpetrator must apologize, repent or change his mind and behavior, and ask for forgiveness (Matt. 18:15-18; Luke 17:3-4). 
Forgiveness is so important because it gives us the ability to move on in life. Being unforgiving connects us to our past hurts and makes it difficult to receive the blessings of new relationships. Forgiveness occurs when the one who was wounded cancels the debt owed to him or her. When we forgive, we are free from those who hurt us. 
If you are struggling to forgive your perpetrator(s), take some time today to do this exercise: 
1. Ask God to reveal to you the people who have hurt you. Make a list. Start with those closest to you (e.g., your parents, siblings, spouse, children, or a close friend; etc.). Do the exercise with them one at a time. Think about the people whom you still “go back to court with” in your mind:
2. Wounds: What he or she did to you that hurt you: abandoned, abused, betrayed, criticized, lied, misrepresented, neglected, rejected, etc. What was the wound(s)?
3. Judgments (Matt. 7:1-2): The things you believe about them: e.g., they are evil, lazy, selfish, stupid, weak, didn’t love me, didn’t care for me, etc.). What are your judgments?
Repent of these judgments and ask God to release the person and yourself from the consequences (Matt. 7:1-2).
4. Vows (Matt. 5:33-35): Vows can be like self-cures, promises you told yourself to survive the wound(s), e.g.,“I don’t need or trust anyone,” or “whatever I do, it won’t be enough,” or “all men/women are ______,” etc.
Renounce and repent of these vows, asking God to forgive you and to break them.
5. Effect on You: What effect did the wound have on you (How did you cope)? Addiction, anger, anxiety, codependency, depression, food, isolation, stress, workaholism, etc.?
6. Their Debt: What debt do they owe you? What would they have to do for you to trust them again? Apologize, change their behavior, experience humiliation, justice, make restitution, money, repent, seek your forgiveness, suffer, etc.
Talk to the Lord, asking Him to make you both willing and able to cancel their debt as He has already cancelled yours to Him through Christ (Matt. 18:23-33; Ephes. 4:32).
7. False Beliefs. What false belief or lie is keeping you from forgiving them? Say the following false beliefs below to yourself to see if they feel true. If they do, then meditate on the true beliefs until the false beliefs no longer feel true. There are blank spaces at the end where you can write in the false belief(s) and true belief(s) that are not on the list.
False belief: If I forgive them, they will get off the hook and there will never be any justice.
True belief: Only God knows what is just (Rom. 12:19).
False belief: Forgiveness means I must pretend that nothing ever happened.
True belief: Forgiveness is not denial. You must tell yourself the truth about what they did and how it affected you to really be able to forgive them from the heart (Matt. 18:35; John 8:32).
False belief: If I forgive, I will become vulnerable to them again.
True belief: Just because you forgive them doesn’t mean that they are safe, and you must trust them again (Matt. 18:15-18; Luke 17:3-4).
False belief: My unforgiveness punishes them and is justified because I am right; they will never see their wrong and repent if I let go.
True belief: The truth is, it is God’s mercy and kindness that leads us to repentance. Only He knows what will change them (Rom. 2:4; Ephes. 4:24-32).
8. Forgiveness Prayer (Matt. 6:12, 14-15). If you are ready, insert the name of the person you have chosen to forgive into the following prayer of forgiveness. You may want to say it in your own words but be sure to include all the elements.
Father God, Your Word says that to be forgiven, I must forgive. And so, I come to You in the name of Jesus, in obedience and love, and I bring (name) _____ before You. I cancel _____ debt to me (e.g., apology, change of behavior, humiliation, justice, restitution, money, repent, seek forgiveness, suffer, etc.). I choose to forgive this hurt against me, and I ask that You not hold these sins against _____ on my account. I release _____ from any desire on my part to see _____ punished. In fact, as You have told me to do, I bless _____ in Your Son’s name, Jesus. You know _____ desires, needs, and hurts. You know what would bless _____. And so, I ask that You pour out Your love and healing to _____ and bring _____ Your highest good, because Your name is Good and Love, and You are not willing that any should perish. Now also, Father, please heal my heart and set me free to love _____ as You do. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
9. The Truth sets you free (John 8:36): Pray and ask God to show you this person as He sees them. Ask Him to show you what is true. One of the great mysteries of God is that He loves the perpetrator as much as the victim. Write down any insights God gives to you as you pray.
10. Is there anything God wants you to do to heal this relationship? Check with your counselor or discipleship group before you take any action.
 Adapted from Michael Dye’s The Genesis Process: For Change Groups Books 1 and 2 Individual Workbook (Michael Dye/Double Eagle Industries, 2012), pp. 123-133.
“27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. 28 My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word. 29 Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously.” Psalm 119:27-29
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about shame the past few years. Having grown up with shame-based lies in America and having served as a missionary in a shame-based country for several years, this issue of shame has weighed heavily on my soul. In this devotion I will address shame in a Christian’s life.
It is important to understand that shame is not from God. When God made the first man and woman, they were naked and unashamed before the Lord and one another (Gen. 2:25). Even after Adam and Eve sinned, God did not come to condemn them with shame, He came to cover their sin and shame (Gen. 3:9-21). For example, when Adam told God, “I was afraid because I was naked” (3:10). God replied, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat” (3:11)? God never told Adam and Eve they were naked. This was the natural consequence of their sin. Satan also reveals our shame to us when we sin (true shame) or don’t sin (false shame). His accusations against believers produce shame in their lives. The Devil uses shame to isolate Christians from God and one another. Like a roaring lion who focuses on those who are isolated and weak, Satan focuses on believers who are alone and weak (cf. I Peter 5:8).
Guilt says, “You did something wrong.”Shame says, “You are wrong.” Satan uses shame to condemn us and keep us from drawing near to God and one another.
In my devotions this morning, the Lord led me to revisit some verses I wrote about 3.5 years ago to help me overcome my battle with shame. The Psalmist writes, “Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works” (119:27). We need God to help us “understand” or discern the pattern (“way”) of His commands (“precepts”). Take time to invite God to help you understand how to apply His Word to your deep struggle with shame. The Lord wants us to focus (“meditate”) on the “wonderful works” He is doing deep inside of us rather than on our sin and shame. Shame tends to focus on behavior and external reformation. God’s grace and truth focus on the heart and inward transformation. Before God can change our behavior, He must change our hearts (cf. Mark 7:14-23).
As God leads me to deal more deeply with my shame, I discover that my “soul melts from heaviness” (119:28a). The word “melts” (dalaph) means “to drip or leak because cracks are not mended.” The idea is that our soul is broken and unable to retain what God gives us. Shame keeps us from believing the truth about God’s love and acceptance of us. As a result, our soul is broken and weighed down with the “heaviness” of sadness and shame. And a cycle of shame develops whereby we mess up, confess our sins, and then try harder, only to repeat the same sin because we continue to believe the shame-based lies that fuel our shame. And we stay bound to this cycle of shame. We cannot break this shame cycle until we deal with the wounds that the shame-based lies are attached to. It takes God’s Spirit to heal these wounds to our souls.
Few things are more unbearable than the heaviness of shame. It is a burden that God never intended for people to bear. Yet Satan will use shame to keep us from becoming the people God intended us to be. What is God’s remedy for this weight of shame in a Christian’s life?
“Strengthen me according to Your word” (119:28b). We do not have the strength to overcome this weight of shame on our own. Only God has the power necessary to win this battle. The word “strengthen” (qum) means “to arise or stand up.” In the context, this refers to God giving us the ability to arise from the depths of our sadness and shame by means of His “word.” The strength we need to overcome shame comes from the truth of God’s Word. If we do not make our home in God’s Word (cf. John 8:31-32), we will not win this battle with shame. No amount of determination, willpower, or “trying harder” will overcome the weight of shame. We must invite God’s Word to do that for us. How?
“Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously” (119:29). Shame is based on lies the enemy has attached to past wounds in our lives. Lies that say:
• “I am bad or unworthy.”
• “No one could love me as I am.”
• “I cannot depend on others to help me.”
• “I am defined by my sin and shame.”
We must ask the Lord to expose and remove the pattern (“way”) of lies that keep us enslaved to the weight of shame. And then ask Him to “grant me Your law graciously,” not harshly. The only verse of the Bible where Jesus specifically describes His heart reads, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29). Jesus says His heart is “gentle and lowly” (humble), not harsh and proud. Our pride can lead us to deal harshly with ourselves and others. But Christ invites us to “learn from”Him how to deal gently and humbly with ourselves and others so we “will find rest for” our “souls” in our discipleship relationship with Him. So, ask the Lord Jesus to gently replace the shame-based lies in your soul with His liberating truth. Truths that say:
• “I am loved and cherished by God.” Psalm 27:10
• “I am totally loved by Jesus just as I am.” Romans 5:6, 8
• “I can depend on others to help me through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
• “I am defined by the Light and Love of Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:2, 8
I want to share a “Lies versus Truth” exercise that is adapted from Michael’s Dye, The Genesis Process: For Change Groups Books 1 and 2 Individual Workbook (Michael Dye/Double Eagle Industries, 2012), pp. 222 -228.
With your mentor or with a group of accountability partners, review some of the most common false beliefs or lies listed below and their corresponding truths. There are blank spaces at the end where you can write in the lies you believe and their corresponding truths that are not on the list. Say each lie to yourself and only focus on the ones that FEEL true. You will know if your heart believes it is true because it will feel true. Even if it doesn’t make sense, go with the feeling. Replacing the lies with the truth is how real healing takes place. The truth is a Person, Jesus Christ (John 1:14; 14:6), not a concept or a Book. Jesus can supernaturally speak truth into our limbic system (right brain where lies are inserted) in a way that no one else can because He is full of truth and is the truth (John 1:14; 14:6; Heb. 4:12-13). Faith in Jesus’ truth produces healing, and faith comes from hearing a personal word from God (Rom. 10:17).
For each lie your heart believes, say the lie to Jesus. Ask Jesus to tell you what is true. He may bring to your mind a Scripture with which to replace the lie. Meditate on that truth until the lie does not feel true anymore. Ask Jesus if there is anything else He wants to share with you. Say the lie again and see how true it feels. If it still feels true, you may need to meditate on the truth some more or even ask for help. Pray and ask the Lord to heal and seal off any wounds, demonic influences, and behaviors that the lie created. God may show you that you need to forgive the person who caused this lie to be attached to the wound he or she gave you.
1. God cannot be trusted
God cannot lie and is always faithful (2 Tim. 2:13; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18)
2. God is out of control with His anger
God is slow to anger and gracious (Ps. 145:8)
3. I am alone and unloved
I am cherished and loved by God the Father (Ps. 27:10)
4. God could never love me
God has always loved me (Jer. 31:3)
5. Nobody would love me as I am
God loves me just as I am (Rom. 5:6, 8)
6. I am bad because of what was done to me
I am precious to Jesus because of what was done to Him (Matt. 13:44-45; I Cor. 6:19-20)
7. I am unwanted
I am chosen by God (Ephes. 1:4)
8. God is against me
God is for me, not against me (Rom. 8:31-32)
9. Someone has or will condemn me
In Christ I am free from condemnation (Rom. 8:1, 34)
10. I am going to be separated from the love of Christ because I’m so unworthy
No one and nothing can separate me from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:35, 37-39)
11. I do not have what it takes
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
12. I am defined by my sin and brokenness
I am defined by the light of Jesus Christ (Ephes. 5:8)
13. My past is a hitching post
My past is a guidepost (Ezek. 18:14, 17)
14. I am what I do or what others say about me
I am what God says about me (I John 3:1-2; 5:1)
15. I am a sinner because I sin
I am a saint (one declared righteous by God) who sins (Ephes. 1:1; I John 1:8, 10)
16. My behavior tells me what to believe about myself
My belief about myself determines my behavior (Prov. 23:7)
17. Whatever I do, it will never be good enough
In Christ, I am good enough (2 Cor. 5:21; Ephes. 1:6)
18. I must be perfect to be safe
I am hidden with Christ in God, forever safe and secure (Col. 3:3)
19. I am a disappointment
I am a delight to God (Ps. 17:8; Zeph. 3:17)
20. God won’t be there when I need Him
God is always available to help me (Ps. 121:1-4; Isa. 41:10, 13)
21. I should never be angry, anxious, depressed, or lonely
Anger, anxiety, depression, and loneliness are signals to draw close to God. (Ps. 4:4-5; 42:5; 72:21- 26; 2 Tim. 4:16-17)
22. Failure is the end of the world
Failure is an opportunity to learn (Ps. 37:23-24; Luke 22:31-34; Heb. 12:11)
23. No one understands me
Jesus understands me because He made me (Ps. 139) and walked in my shoes (Heb. 4:15)
24. I could never be forgiven
I am totally forgiven in Christ (Ephes. 1:7; Col. 2:13-14)
25. I am a loser
I am a winner seated next to Christ (Ephes. 1:20-21; 2:5-6)
26. I am a mistake
I am God’s masterpiece (Ephes. 2:10)
26. I cannot change
All things are possible with God (Matt. 19:26)
27. If I am not in control, something bad will happen
When I yield to Christ’s control, I can have peace (John 16:33; Phil. 4:6-7; cf. Isa. 26:3)
28. I cannot cope without alcohol/anxiety/chemicals/food/sex/ shopping
I can cope through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
29. I need people’s affection and approval to be complete
I am complete in Christ, lacking nothing (Col. 2:10)
30. Christians cannot be trusted
I can learn to trust Christians who are safe (John 13:34-35; Gal 6:1-2)
31. I must be liked and loved by everyone
I am likeable and loveable, but not to everyone (Isa. 53:3; John 15:18-19)
32. Sex with a beautiful woman is the greatest sign I am loved
Christ’s dying in my place for all my sin is the greatest sign I am loved (Rom. 5:8; I John 4:9-10)
33. I am worthless
I am worth fighting for (Exod. 14:13-14; 2 Chron. 20:15, 17)
Prayer: Precious Father God, please give me the understanding and discernment to permit Your Word to speak to my deep struggle with shame. Help me focus on the wonderful work You are doing inside of me rather than on my failings and shortcomings. I confess that my soul melts from the heaviness of my sadness and shame. Please strengthen me as only You can with Your Word so I may arise out of this pit of shame. I pray Your Holy Spirit will expose and remove the shame-based lies that keep me bound to this cycle of shame and replace them graciously with Your liberating truths from Your Word so I may become the person You created me to be. Replace my false identity that is based upon shame-based lies with my new identity in Christ that is based upon Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
What is God like? Let’s see what some fifth graders said when their teacher at a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God. God is like BAYER ASPIRIN. He works miracles. God is like a FORD. He’s got a better idea. God is like COKE. He’s the real thing. God is like HALLMARK CARDS. He cares enough to send His very best. God is like TIDE. He gets the stains out that others leave behind. God is like GENERAL ELECTRIC. He brings good things to life. God is like SEARS. He has everything. God is like ALKA-SELTZER. Try Him, you’ll like Him. God is like SCOTCH TAPE. You can’t see Him, but you know He’s there. God is like DELTA. He’s ready when you are. 
In John 1:14-18 we are going to see that God became a man to show us what He is like. In the first five verses of John, we saw that the Word, Jesus Christ, is our Creator God. Thus, when we look at Jesus, we are looking at our Creator God in human flesh. He made you and me to have a relationship with Him. So, what is God like?
GOD IS APPROACHABLE.1:14a: John returns to the use of the “Word” that he introduced in verse 1 when he writes, “And the Word became flesh.” The most amazing fact of history is that the eternal Logos, God Himself (1:1), voluntarily “becameflesh” or a human being without ceasing to be God (1:14a). The word for “flesh” here does not refer to humanity’s sinful flesh or desires (cf. Rom. 8:4-5; Gal. 5:16-17, 19-21), but to Jesus’ sinless human nature (cf. Rom. 1:3; 9:5; 2 Cor. 5:21; I Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:14; 4:15; I Pet. 3:18). 
Unlike Adam and all his descendants before and after Christ who were born as sinners (Rom. 5:12; Ps. 51:5), Christ is the only Person to be born with a sinless human nature. The best explanation I have heard for this is that Jesus had a sinless Father in God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20), whereas all other human beings had a sinful father. The sin nature seems to be passed on through the human father. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (cf. Rom. 5:18).Although Eve sinned first in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6), Adam is held accountable for sin’s entrance into the world.
The Bible also teaches that God visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations” (Exod. 20:5; cf. Deut. 5:9). Generational sins are passed on through the fathers, not the mothers.This implies that the sin nature is transmitted through the fathers, not the mothers or both parents.
Hence, Christ possesses a sinless human nature because He was conceived by God the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary (Matt. 1:20).
When John says “the Word became flesh (1:14a), he is emphasizing that Christ did not merely “appear” like a man; He became an actual man (cf. Phil. 2:5-9).
In John’s day there were false teachers who taught that God could not become a man because all human flesh is inherently evil, and God is inherently good or perfect. Therefore, Jesus only appeared to be a human being.
Swindoll explains: “In our day, the influence of naturalism has so permeated culture that we have trouble accepting the deity of Christ. In John’s day, most people had no problem accepting Christ’s deity. They were more troubled by His humanity. The influence of Plato permeated every aspect of religion and philosophy so that anything tangible came to be seen as inherently evil. The great hope of Greek philosophers was to escape the foul, obnoxious material realm in order to commune with the divine mind, which existed only in the realm of pure ideas. In life, they tried to deny the body as a means of connecting with what they conceived of as god. They saw death as the liberation of the soul (the good aspect of man) from the prison of the body (the evil aspect of man). So, naturally, they recoiled from the notion that God would become anything genuinely physical.
“To preserve the sinlessness of God, philosophers invented all kinds of myths to explain how Christ could appear human without actually having earthly material be a part of His nature. The most common, Docetism, suggested that He only seemed to be tangible, but was in fact a heavenly apparition. The so-called ‘Gnostic Gospels’ tell stories of how Jesus created the illusion of eating food while never actually digesting it or needing to relieve Himself.” 
When John states “the Word became flesh,” his choice of words were very offensive to the false teachers of his day. “Flesh” meant something inherently evil to them. In essence, John is saying that “The Word became meat.”
When John says the eternal Word “dwelt among us” the word translated “dwelt” means “to tabernacle, take up residence.” Just as God’s presence dwelt among the Israelites in the tabernacle (cf. Exod. 25:8-9; 33:7, 11), so He lived among people in the Person of Jesus Christ. King Solomon thought it incredible that God would dwell on the earth (1 Kings 8:27), but that is precisely what He did in Jesus.
While the docetistic false teachers in John’s day were resistant to the truth of Christ’s tangible human nature, John skillfully refuted their heresies with great skill under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In his epistle he spoke of the Word of Life, Jesus Christ, as being “heard… seen with our eyes… looked upon, and our hands have handled.” (I John 1:1). Christ did not merely “appear “to be human. He became a tangible human being Who was “heard… seen…” and touched. To deny that Christ became tangible human flesh was “antichrist” and to be refuted (cf. I John 4:2-3).
“Conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary (see Matt. 1:20), the divine Son of God became a man. He is thus the God-Man—not half man and half God, but one Person with a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. He is deity poured into humanity. He is fully human, so He cried as an infant, but He is fully divine and gave life to His mother! He is fully human so He had to sleep, but He is fully divine and can raise the dead back to life. Our God fully experienced what it is to be human—yet without sinning (see Heb. 4:15). He faced hunger, pain, temptation, grief, hardship, and rejection. You face no category of human experience that your Savior has not endured.” 
Religions seek to know how we as humans can get to God. Yet the Bible tells us that God came to us. The Word became flesh. Why did God become a man? So, we could approach Him and trust Him.
A construction company was once building a road through some mountainous country, using dynamite to build a roadbed. Steve, who worked for the company, was placing the dynamite charges. One day as he was getting ready to detonate a charge, he noticed that several little chipmunks had come out of the underbrush, playing around the hole where he had installed the explosives. Steve, being a tenderhearted guy, didn’t want to see those little chipmunks blown to bits, so he began trying to shew the chipmunks away. Each time however, they just came right back to the location. His supervisor, Charlie, came out to see what was holding up the blasting. Steve, exasperated, explained that those chipmunks would not get out of the danger area. Charlie chuckled, and then used the incident to talk about Jesus Christ.
He explained to Steve that the only way one of them could communicate with those chipmunks, was if one of them became a chipmunk, and yet at the same time, kept all the characteristics of a man.  Chipmunks are afraid of humans because we are twenty times their size. But if you become a chipmunk, they would be able to trust you and relate to you, because you would be able to communicate the great danger caused by the dynamite. This is exactly what God had to do too – He became a man to communicate with the human race what God is really like and to warn them of the incredible danger facing them if they rejected Christ. If God came to us in the fullness of His glory, we would be too frightened of Him to trust Him like a chipmunk would be too scared to trust us.
Jesus became a human being so that you and I could relate to Him and He to us. Therefore, we are to trust Him at all times because He understands us. “Since we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin; Therefore, let us boldly come to the throne of grace.”(Heb. 4:15-16). He voluntarily became one of us so that you and I would believe that our Savior knows how we feel.
Perhaps you have viewed God as some distant impersonal force who does not care about you or your circumstances. You may say to yourself, “How could God let COVID-19 happen? I have lost my income, my health, and my friends! What kind of God is this?” Please understand that the God of the Bible is not some distant dictator who delights in punishing people.
Christian author Max Lucado writes, “From the funeral to the factory to the frustration of a demanding schedule, Jesus Christ understands. When you tell God that you’ve reached your limit, He knows what you mean. When you shake your head at impossible deadlines, He shakes His, too. When your plans are interrupted by people who have other plans, He nods in empathy.He has been there. He knows how you feel… Rejection? He felt it. Temptation? He knew it. Loneliness? He experienced it. Death? He tasted it. And stress? He could write a best-selling book about it. Why did He do it? One reason.So that when you hurt, you will go to Him… and let Him heal you.”
GOD IS FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH. 1:14b: Now we are getting to the heart of this passage. John and the other disciples “beheld” Jesus’ “glory.” They were eyewitnesses to this.
“They saw His glory at the Mount of Transfiguration, in the signs Jesus did, and in His sinless life.” 
Christ’s glory was filled with “grace and truth.” Jesus maintained a perfect balance between these two attributes. Of all the phrases that God could have used to describe Jesus Christ, He chose “grace and truth.” “Grace “ refers to “graciousness, favor, help, or goodwill.” Theologians describe “grace” as God’s unmerited favor or getting what we do not deserve. We do not deserve eternal life, forgiveness, or salvation from hell, but Jesus Christ can freely offer this to us apart from any of our works because of His “grace” (John 4:10-14; Rom. 3:24; 4:4-5; 6:23b; 11:6; Ephes. 2:8-9). In the context, “grace” refers to the graciousness of Christ. 
The word for “truth” means “truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed, reality.”“Truth” is the perfect standard of God’s holiness.Truth says there is a right way, a best way. Grace gives us the encouragement to get there.
In life, some things are true which makes other things false. We do reap what we sow. There are consequences to our actions. Truth is true. It is unbendable and unbreakable and unyielding. Jesus came full of truth. Every word that He spoke was truth. Christ never told a lie. Every action and every thought were true. When Satan came against Jesus tempting Him by perverting the Word of God just a little (Matt. 4:1-11), how did Jesus respond? “It is written in God’s Word. Here’s the truth.” He always countered falsehood with truth.
Near the end of His life before Pilate, Jesus said, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Pilate said to Him, “What is truth” (John 18:37-38)? Then Pilate walked away. That was a big mistake, because the One Who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) was right in front of him. The One Who is and knows all truth is there. So, truth must be included in grace or grace is merely tolerance.
Truth without grace is just as destructive as grace without truth. Truth without grace is unbearable. Only the arrogant, proud hypocrite thinks all he needs is truth, because he thinks he has it all together. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Jesus outlines the perfect life. In the middle of that sermon Jesus says, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Jesus means what He says here. When I read the expectations of God on my life and I hear His call to be perfect, I say, “Lord I can’t do it. Have mercy on me a sinner, because I fall way too short. The bar is too high.” That’s the demand of truth all by itself and it overwhelms us. God says, “I didn’t just come in truth, I came in grace.”
Why are grace and truth so important? As humans, we tend to err on one side or the other of grace and truth. Grace without truth is wishy washy. It is a farce. It is called tolerance. There are no absolutes… no right or wrong… no consequences for our actions. Anything goes, resulting in lives without direction. There is nothing we can know for sure which is tolerance. For grace to be real, it must be based on truth.
For example, grace without truth is like taking your car to the body shop to get rid of the rust. You get the car back and it looks great. But a year later the rust appears again. The mechanic didn’t remove the rust, he just covered it up to make it look good. Eventually, the rust keeps coming back. That’s how it is when you try to ignore truth. You can ignore truth for a while, but it keeps coming back. I can ignore the law of gravity and step off a cliff – and the law of gravity still applies to me. It doesn’t matter what you believe in that case. If you ignore it, it bites you.
Without grace the shepherd says,“That stupid sheep is the one who wandered away. He is on his own now.” But grace causes him to leave the ninety-nine to find that sheep and bring him home so there is rejoicing (Luke 15:1-7).
Without grace the prodigal son stays in the pig pen and never comes home because he knows there is no forgiveness. He’s gone too far without grace. But grace sets him on the road home (Luke 15:11-32).
Without grace the truth demands that Peter who denied Jesus three times be done being an apostle. But Jesus comes to him in grace and says, “Feed My sheep. I’m not done with you yet Peter” (John 21:15-19).
Without grace the wedding feast is over because the family should have planned better, so they did not run out of wine. But Jesus stepped in with grace and transformed the water into wine (John 2:1-11).
Without grace the Samaritan woman, who had been married five times and divorced and was now living with a man who was not her husband, wouldn’t have even received a look much less a word from Jesus (John 4:1-26). But He spoke to her because of His grace, and her life was transformed.
Without grace, Matthew, the tax collector who was ripping everyone off, never gets called to follow Jesus. But Jesus comes to Him and says, “Follow Me” (Matt. 9:9-13).
Without grace, the thief on the cross dies in his sin and goes to hell. But with grace, Jesus says, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).
Praise God that Jesus came not just full of truth, but full of grace. The truth is as a Christian, you are not supposed to worry. But I thank God for His grace because I am so prone to worry.
The truth is God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), but God comes to us in our brokenness and heals us.
The truth is sexual impurity degrades our bodies (I Cor. 6:12-20), but grace comes in and washes us clean.
The truth is that God calls homosexual and lesbian activity an abomination (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27), but God comes in with His grace and changes people.
The truth is God detests gossip and slander (Prov. 6:14, 19; 10:18;). But God comes in with His grace and washes us clean.
The truth is our addictions and yielding to temptations reveal that we don’t have the faith that we should, but God with His grace gives us that strength.
The truth is our attachment to material things is idolatry. But God comes in with His grace and rescues us from the power of things.
The truth is we should never get depressed as Christians – we should choose the joy of the Lord. But many of us struggle with this. But God comes in with His grace and lifts us up. You can take truths and swing them like a sword and do damage. But with grace we see God bring healing.
Do you remember the woman in John 8? The religious leaders were ready to stone her because the law (the truth) said you should (cf. Lev. 20:10). She was caught in the act of adultery, and they came to Jesus saying, “The law says she should die. What do you say, Jesus?” For a few moments, Jesus wrote on the ground, while they pestered Him. Then Jesus stood up and looked them in the eye and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).One by one, starting with the oldest, they all walked away. Jesus kept writing on the ground.
After a while there was no one left except Jesus and the woman. Jesus looked up at her and said, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10). She said, “No one, Lord” (John 8:11a). Here’s the thing. On that day, there was somebody there Who could condemn her… Who could have thrown the first stone… there was someone Who was sinless – Jesus (cf. John 18:38b; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; I Peter 3:18). He could have done it. Instead, Christ said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11b). That is grace and truth.
Grace and truth. Don’t keep living like that. That is a path of destruction. Here is the grace. Here is a new start for you. And here is the truth – there is a better way. I love what Max Lucado says:“God loves you just the way you are [that’s grace], but He refuses to leave you there [that’s truth].“ 
Truth expresses God’s righteous character and demands punishment for all our sins (Rom. 3:9-23). Jesus Christ was a perfect display of God’s truth. He is “the truth” (John 14:6). He was perfect and sinless (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; I Pet. 3:18). Even the political leaders could “find no fault in Him at all”(John 18:38; cf. Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22; John 19:4, 6). God’s judgment of sin fell on Jesus instead of us when He died on the cross in our place (Is. 53:5-6; Matt. 27:45-56; Rom. 5:8; I Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; I Peter 3:18). That is truth.
But grace is seen while Jesus was hanging on the cross. After His enemies physically and verbally abused Him, and nailed Him to a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Did they deserve Christ’s forgiveness. No, none of us do. But grace offers forgiveness freely. Jesus also said to the thief hanging next to Him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Without grace, the thief on that cross dies in his sin and goes to hell.
Christ is full of grace and truth. He has the perfect ability to tell us the awful truth about ourselves, while holding us up by His grace. Because He is full of truth, He was the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin (2 Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 3:18). Because He is full of grace, you can come to Him just as you are, without having to clean up your life first. And because He is full of truth, you can come in complete confidence knowing that He will keep His promise to forgive you and grant you eternal life the moment you believe in Him. Jesus promised, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).
That is grace and that’s truth. Jesus was full of both. Therefore, we are to seek to be gracious and truthful with one another (Ephes. 4:15). We are called to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us (Ephes. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Is there someone in your life that needs not just truth, but grace? Something has come between you and your relationship? They need to hear from you that the past is gone. It has been wiped out. That is the power of grace.
We also see that GOD IS ETERNAL.In addition to the apostle John’s and other disciples’ witness of Jesus,John now records the testimony of John the Baptist (1:15-18). 1:15: We are told that John the Baptist “bore witness” of Jesus. The Greek word translated “bore witness” martureō  is used in a courtroom setting (see comments on 1:7). And it means “to testify, give evidence, or speak the truth.”
When John the Baptist testifies about Jesus, he is not speaking softly. The Bible says he “cried out.” The Greek word translated “cried out” is imitative of a raven’s piercing cry or shriek.  It expresses an urgent scream or shout from someone who has deep emotions about their message. John was extremely passionate regarding what he was about to say. Why? Because he understood Who Jesus is and he also understood his purpose. John the Baptist was “sent from God… to bear witness of the Light,” Jesus Christ (John 1:6-7; 8:12). He understood his identity as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’” (John 1:23; cf. Is. 40:3). John’s purpose was to prepare the people of Israel “that all through him might believe” in their coming Messiah-God for His gift of everlasting life (John 1:7b; 3:36; cf. Acts 19:4). John’s voice was temporary, but his message was eternal.
The Baptist’s message centered around an eternal Person. He cried out, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me’” (1:15b). The word translated “preferred” denotes having greater dignity or rank than another (cf. Gen. 48:20; John 1:30). 
In Bible times, chronological priority meant superiority (those who were born first were considered superior). John is saying that Jesus is superior to him because Christ came before him. John the Baptist recognized the preexistence of the Word, Jesus Christ, as God (John 1:1-2). Even though John the Baptist was born six months prior to Jesus (Luke 1:26, 36), John says “He was before me.”How could John the Baptist say this? He could say this because Jesus was always before John in His preexistent state as God.
In the Old Testament, the Lord God of the universe said, “This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: ‘I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God’” (Is. 44:6; cf. 41:4; 48:12). The God of the universe has no beginning and no end because He is eternal. This is what makes Him uniquely God.
In the last book of the Bible, the exalted Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). The apostle John shares Jesus’ testimony, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last’” (Rev. 1:17; cf. 1:13). At the end of the Book of Revelation the exalted Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13). Make no mistake, the Lord God of the Old Testament is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This is John the Baptist’s message. He is acknowledging Jesus’ superiority as the eternal God with no beginning and no end when He says, “He was before me” (1:15b).
When the Coronavirus was in the news a lot, all of us are confronted with the frailty of humanity. None of us are promised life on earth tomorrow. God used COVID-19 to persuade people to think about what is eternal.
Since Jesus has no beginning and no end, we are to invest our lives in what lasts. What two things on this planet last for eternity? It is not your bank account… cell phone… video games… house… car… job… or your achievements. I have done a lot of funerals, and I have never seen anyone pull a U-Haul behind a hearse. What lasts forever on earth is people (Matt. 25:46) and the Word of God (I Pet. 1:23-24). We have an incredible opportunity to invest in both by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved (Mark 16:15) and then training those who believe in Christ through the discipleship process (Matt. 28:19-20).
With whom are you sharing the gospel and training in discipleship? If we are not evangelizing and then discipling those who believe the gospel, we are failing to invest our lives in what is lasting. But this need not continue. Today, you can decide to invest your life in what lasts forever. Ask God to show you whom He wants you to disciple or be discipled by. He enjoys answering that prayer.
1:16: If John the Baptist is still speaking here, then the “we”refers to all Israelites. The phrase “grace for grace” means “grace after grace.”Like the waves along a beach, one wave of grace after another has been repeatedly manifested in Israel’s history. Everything the nation of Israel had received was based on the grace of Jesus Christ. Israel’s existence today (and ours) is a testimony of God’s grace.
An example of God’s grace in Israel’s history is seen the next verse. 1:17a: When the law was given through Moses, Israel stood in great need of God’s grace. While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Law from God, Israel was down below sinning against the Lord by making a golden calf to worship (Exod. 32:1-6). For such a sin, the Law required only condemnation and judgment. Hence, God’s anger burned against His people (Exod. 32:7-10). But Moses prayed to God and God spared the nation by His grace (Exod. 32:14). A purifying judgment ensued (Exod. 32:15-29).
Moses then sought reassurance that God would forgive and accept the nation as His own. So “the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation’”(Exod. 34:6-7). We see a definite clash between God’s grace and truth here. How can God forgive “iniquity and transgression and sin” and yet “by no means clearing the guilty?” The solution is finally found in Jesus Christ.
1:17b: Through Christ and His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, the dilemma is resolved. Truth expresses God’s righteous character and demands punishment for our sins. Christ was a perfect display of God’s truth. He was perfect and sinless. God’s judgment fell on Jesus instead of us. Grace is seen because of Christ’s death. We can cross over to God by faith in Jesus. God is now free to be gracious to all who receive that grace by faith in Christ.
Out of the “fullness” of His grace, Jesus blesses us with one wave of grace after another (John 1:16). One wave of grace is constantly replaced by a new one each day. “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits.” (Psalm 68:19). Although we may be feeling bombarded with a multitude of challenges these days, God still has an endless variety of ways to bless us.
He may bless us with a friendly smile from a worker at a drive through window or from someone standing in line at a bus stop. And the truth of the matter is if we would smile more, we will encounter more people who are smiling back at us. Jesus’ grace also enriches our lives with natural beauty all around us. It may be in the form of a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day or blossoms on a flowering tree. In the morning it may be a bird’s beautiful song or in the evening it may be the splendor of the moon and the stars. All of God’s creation is there for us to enjoy.
When I look back on my life, the one word that stands out to me is “grace.” By God’s grace He has brought me through disappointment and pain, some of which was caused by others and much of which I brought on myself. At the age of nineteen, by His grace the Lord Jesus saved me from the penalty of all my sins and gave me everlasting life the moment I believed in Him. By His grace I was enabled to serve Him for over three decades. And by His grace He will lead me forward one day at a time.
1:18: John begins by saying, “No one has seen God at any time” (1:18a). You may wonder, “How can this be true when the Bible speaks of people seeing God?” (e.g., Exod. 33:21-23; Isa. 6:1-5; Rev. 1:10-18). Those encounters with God did not reveal the fullness of His glory or His unveiled divine essence. If people saw God’s unveiled glory or divine essence, they would not live (cf. Exod. 33:20).
The only One Who can and has seen God in the fullness of His glory and divine essence without dying, is His Son, Jesus Christ (John 6:46). The reason Jesus could do this is because He also is God. He has the same divine nature as God the Father. For example, when people say of a man named Clarence Smith, “He is the son of John Smith,” they are acknowledging that he has the same human nature as his father. Likewise, when the Bible says that Jesus is “the Son of God” (John 20:31), it is affirming that Jesus has the same divine nature as His Father in heaven.
Therefore, we can discover what God is like by knowing His “only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father” (1:18b). The phrase “only begotten Son” does not mean Jesus had a beginning like a baby that is birthed by his parents, as many false religions teach today. The compound Greek word translated “only begotten” is monogenḗs, which literally means “one (monos) of a kind (genos).” Jesus Christ is the only One of His kind. He is fully God (John 1:1-3) and fully Man (John 1:14). There has never been anyone like Him before or since. This is the message of the gospel of John.
The writer of this gospel, the apostle John, goes to great lengths to show Jesus’ deity (John 1:1, 34, 49; 5:16-47; 6:69; 8:57-59; 10:30-33; 11:27; 20:28; et. al). Jesus was unlike any other Person who has walked on this earth. In the Old Testament, the phrase “I Am” is how God identified Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exod. 3:13-14). “I Am” is also how Jesus identified Himself to the people of Israel. He makes several “I AM” statements in the gospel of John: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), “I am the door” (John 10:9), “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:14), “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6), “I am the true Vine” (15:1). Each one of these staggering statements attested to the fact that Jesus was and is God.
Jesus also claimed to be equal with God and to be God Himself (John 5:17-18; John 10:10-33). This is why His enemies wanted to kill Jesus for blasphemy (Lev. 20:10; cf. John 5:18; 8:59; 10:31-33; 11:8). For example, when Jesus said, “He and the Father are one” (John 10:30), the Jews understood Him to claim to be God. They said, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33).
Did Muhammed, the founder of Islam, Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, or Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah Witnesses, claim to be equal with God? Jesus Christ not only claimed to be God, He proved He was God through His works (John 1-12), the greatest of which was His resurrection from the dead (John 20:1-18; cf. Romans 1:3-4)! Hallelujah, brothers and sisters in Christ! What a precious Lord and Savior we have in Jesus!
John also goes to great lengths to show Jesus’ humanity (John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 12:27; 19:28; et. al). Jesus had brothers and sisters like you and me (John 2:12; 7:3, 5; cf: Mark 6:3). Christ ate food and got thirsty just like you and me (John 19:28; 21:12, 15; cf. Matt. 9:11; 11:19; Mark 2:16; Luke 7:34). He experienced physical fatigue and even slept (John 4:6; cf. Matt. 8:24; Mark 4:38; Luke 8:23). Why? He became a man without ceasing to be God so He could understand what it is like for you and me to have family, food, and fatigue. The God of the Bible is not some distant uncaring deity like the religions of the world. He understands our needs and He came to earth to meet our most fundamental needs to be seen, safe, soothed, and secure.
When John says that Jesus was “in the bosom of the Father” (1:18b), he is referring to Christ’s very close and intimate relationship with God the Father. The word “bosom” refers to the upper part of the chest where a garment naturally folded to form a pocket.  The picture here is that of a son resting his head on the chest of his father, experiencing a very close and intimate relationship with him. Jesus had the closest and most intimate relationship with God the Father. He knows the heart of God the Father better than anyone because His head often rested upon His Father’s chest in eternity past.
Who better to tell others what a Person is like than the One who is closest to that Person and has known Him the longest in an intimate relationship!?! There is no one more qualified to tell us what God is like than the only begotten Son of God who has known God the Father forever in the closest of relationships with Him.
This is why John then says, “He has declared Him” (1:18c). The word “declared” is where we get our English words, “exegete” and “exegesis” from. It means to “set forth in great detail, to expound” or “to lead out, to draw out in narrative, to recount.” In seminary, we learned to “exegete” or explain God’s Word, the Bible. We were taught to “read out” of the Bible God’s intended meaning through a grammatical, historical, and literal interpretation instead of “reading into” the Bible our own biases and assumptions.
God the Son, Jesus Christ, has “exegeted” or “set forth in great deal” what God the Father is like. Jesus is more qualified than anyone else to explain what God the Father is like because He, being God, knows God the Father longer and more intimately than anyone else.
For some of you reading this, it may be very difficult for you to perceive God as your Father because you have been deeply wounded by your own earthly father through his absence or even his abuse towards you. You may detest the thought of God being a Father because your own earthly father caused you a lot of pain. Hence, you want nothing to do with fathers.
Please understand that God the Father is nothing like your absent or abusive father on earth. God wants you to know Him for Who He truly is. And there is no one more qualified to reveal God the Father to you than Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Jesus said, “He who sees Me sees Him [the Father] who sent Me” (John 12:45). He also said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (John 14:7). Christ said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9b) because Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father.
If you want to know God the Father, get to know His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, because He is God in human flesh (John 1:1, 14; Tit. 2:13; I Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:8; I John 5:20). You can begin a relationship with God the Son and God the Father through faith. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
To believe in the Father Who sent Jesus is the same as believing in Jesus because Christ is the perfect reflection of the Father, being God Himself. Therefore, Jesus could say, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me” (John 12:44).
Jesus said, “he who hears My word and believes…” (John 5:24a). Have you heard Jesus’ promise of everlasting life and believed it? If so, Jesus guarantees the person who has heard and believed that he now “has [present tense] everlasting life” (John 5:24b). You do not have to wait until you die to experience everlasting life. If you have heard Jesus’ promise of everlasting life (John 3:16) and believed it, you can now experience His forever life every day of your life on earth and beyond!!!
Christ also guarantees to the one who has heard and believed His promise of eternal life that he “shall not [future tense] comeinto judgment” for his sins in the future (John 5:24c). Why?
Because Jesus was judged on the cross for all our sins when He died, and God the Father was satisfied with Jesus’ full payment for our sins (John 19:30; I John 2:2). Therefore, we will never be eternally punished for our sins if we have heard and believed Jesus’ promise of everlasting life.
Lastly, Jesus promises that the one who has heard and believed His promise of everlasting life “has passed [past tense] from death into life” (John 5:24d). This means that eternal death is behind you, not ahead of you. It is past, not present or future. You are now in the sphere of “life” or relationship with God. When God looks at our life after we believe in Christ, what does He see? He sees only the blood of His Son and His goodness in our lives (Ephes. 1:7; Rev. 1:5; 12:11). In the sphere of “life,” God has no charge against the believer (Rom. 8:33). The believer is “justified” (“declared totally righteous”) of all things based on his or her faith in Christ (Rom. 4:5). All our sin has been covered by the goodness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). We are seen by God as completely holy and perfect because of His grace (Ephes. 1:4). That is why God can let us into His heaven when we die if we have believed in Christ as our Savior.
We can know what God is like by looking at Jesus. He came to make the Father known. Christ is full of grace and truth. He has the perfect ability to tell us the awful truth about ourselves, while holding us up by His grace. Because He is full of truth, He was the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin. Because He is full of grace, you can come to Him just as you are, without having to clean up your life first. And because He is full of truth, you can come in complete confidence knowing that He will keep His promise to forgive you and grant you eternal life the moment you believe in Him. Jesus promised, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Do you believe this?
If someone asks you, “What is God like?” Encourage them to get to know Jesus Christ because to know Him is to know God since Jesus is fully God.
Prayer: Precious Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to explain what God the Father is like so we may have a close and intimate relationship with Him and You. Please help us to see the Father as full of grace and truth like You, Lord. Renew our minds so we may see You both as You truly are – abounding in goodness, grace, love, mercy, and truth. Use us to point the unsaved to You by reflecting Your grace by being gracious to them and Your truth by being truthful with them. May those without eternal life be convinced that Your grace and truth guarantees them everlasting life the moment they believe in You alone, Lord Jesus. Please bring healing to those who have been deeply wounded by their earthly fathers or father figures so they may approach our Father in heaven as a good good Father who infinitely and unconditionally loves them. In Your mighty name we pray, Lord Jesus. Amen.
 Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 914-16; cf. Constable, Dr. Constable’s Notes on John, pp. 36-37 cites Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 1:382-96, 3:33-34, for discussions of Christ’s hypostatic union (the union of His divine and human natures in the Incarnation).
 Constable, Dr. Constable’s Notes on John, pg. 42 cites those who hold to this view: F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition and Notes (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983), pg. 42; Morris, The Gospel According to John, pg. 98; Hodges, “Grace after Grace” Bibliotheca Sacra, pp. 34-45; see also Robertson, A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, Kindle Location 50210 to 50228.
 Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg. 658.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12
Without light, we would be in a mess. We couldn’t see. If the sun were to suddenly burn out, we would have eight minutes of light and heat left, and then Planet Earth would slip into a permanent deep-freeze. In the Pacific Northwest, where it’s overcast most days, many people suffer from light deprivation, which results in mood swings and depression. There is even a scientific name for this problem: “Seasonal Affective Disorder,“ or S.A.D. People suffering from S.A.D. must set up special light panels in their homes and get heavy doses of illumination to be happy campers. We need light. We cannot survive without it.
We need another kind of light, too. Our souls depend on the light of God. In this spiritually darkened world God uses Christians to reflect His light. The Light has always been here. The Light has never gone away. But people who are in sin or despair sit in darkness and cannot see the Light.
In John 1:1-5, we discovered who Jesus Christ is. We saw that He is the eternal God. There has never been a time when Jesus Christ was not God. He is our Creator. He brought all things into existence. He is light and life, that is, He is the only source of eternal life and hope. Beginning in verse 6, John expands upon the idea of Jesus as the Light. In verses 6-13, we will look at three ways people can respond to Christ as the Light. First, we can do what John the Baptist did…
REFLECT JESUS WITH OUR LIFE AND LIPS (1:6-8).1:6: Verse 6 refers to “John” the Baptist. John’s mission originated from heaven, not earth. He was not democratically elected; he was called by God to complete a mission. My friends, if God calls you to do something, you better do it, or you will be miserable running from the Lord. The name, “John” means “God is gracious” or “gift of God.” This ties in with God’s mission for John. What did God send John the Baptist (and us) to do?
1:7a: God called John to be a witness to the Light – Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be a witness? Is witnessing something one is or something one does? Sometimes we think that to be a witness for Christ means “I must live a godly life and that is enough. I don’t ever have to tell anyone how to be saved. They’ll eventually come to Christ on their own.” The Greek word for “witness” as a noun  and a verb  is used in a courtroom setting.  And it refers to speaking the truth. What would happen if you took the witness stand in a court of law and never said anything? The judge would hold you in contempt of the court.
Living the holiest life does not tell people how they can obtain eternal life. No amount of watching your godly life tells me how I can know Christ personally. If you live a holy life, it tells me something has happened to you, but it doesn’t tell me how I can have the same experience or what causes you to live that way. Maybe you are a person of high morals. Perhaps your parents disciplined you as a child. Words are more than just helpful for me to know Christ: they are essential. Sooner or later, someone must talk to me about Jesus for me to know Him personally.
If we live a holy life but never tell people about Jesus, then the world will give us all the credit instead of glorifying the Lord. Silent believers are like beautiful road signs with no words or directions printed on them. They are nice to look at, but they don’t tell you how to get where you need to go. We need a balance. Yes, we need to live the life, but we also need to use our lips to tell people how to have eternal life.
1:7b: The reason John spoke the truth about the Light is “that all through him might believe.” This is the first time John uses the word “believe.” He uses it ninety-eight more times in the gospel of John (see comments on 1:5). Notice it does not say “that all through him might repent” as the Synoptic gospels emphasize about John the Baptist’s preaching (cf. Matt. 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-14). The words “repent” and “repentance” appear nowhere in John’s gospel. This is most significant. One would think that if Christians are to emphasize repentance in evangelism (as many do today), that God would have used these two words often in the only book of the Bible whose primary purpose is to tell non-Christians how to obtain eternal life (John 20:31). But these two words are absent in the gospel of John. Why?
One reason is because when one changes from unbelief to belief, he has changed his mind or repented to possess eternal life. The Greek word for “repent” is metanoeō and it is a compound verb made up of two Greek words. The first is meta, “after,” and the second is noeō, “to perceive, understand or think.” The two together mean “after perceiving, understanding, thinking” or “to change one’s mind.” The Greek word translated “repentance” is metanoia and it is a compound noun made up of meta, “after,” and noēma, “thought.” Together the two mean an “afterthought” or “a change of mind.” 
When metanoeō and metanoia are used in evangelistic contexts, they refer to a lost person changing his mind about whatever is keeping him or her from believing in Christ, and then believing in Him for eternal life. The non-Christian may need to change his mind about the Person of Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38), God (Acts 20:21), idols (Rev. 9:20), sin (Rev. 9:21), or his works (Rev. 16:11; Heb. 6:1) before he can believe in Christ for the gift of salvation. 
For example, in Mark 1:15, Jesus said, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.”Jesus was speaking to Jews who believed that entering God’s promised Messianic kingdom on earth could be earned through good works and that Christ was merely a human teacher. Christ commands them to change their minds or “repent” about whatever is keeping them from believing in the gospel or good news of entering His coming Kingdom on earth. In other words, Christ commands them to stop believing or trusting in their own efforts, and to come to God on His terms by having childlike belief or faith in Jesus alone as their promised Messiah-God Who can freely give them entrance into His coming kingdom on earth (cf. Mark 10:15; Matt. 18:3; Luke 18:17; John 3:5-18). 
Another reason why John never included the words “repent” or “repentance” in the gospel of John is because they are easily misunderstood to mean something like “turning from sins” or “penance” which involve works. If a non-Christian is told to turn from his sins, he is going to ask, “How often must I do this and from what sins must I turn?” The word “believe,” however, communicates such simplicity that it is less likely to be misconstrued to include a works-oriented response.  The word translated “believe” (pisteuō) in the New Testament simply means “to consider or be persuaded something is true and therefore worthy of one’s trust.”
Many people today are greatly confused by the frequent use of the words “repent” or “repentance” in evangelistic invitations. They are perplexed about how God wants them to respond to the good news concerning His Son’s death and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-8).
An example of this confusion is seen in a new couple that came to a church where we were serving in southern Kansas during the 1990’s. As I was preaching verse-by-verse through chapter 3 of the gospel of John about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, I stated, “How is one born again so he can see the kingdom of God?The answer is given in verses 14-16: ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ To be born again you must simply believe in Jesus for everlasting life.”
Afterward, this couple came up to me with tears in their eyes saying they had never heard this put so simply before. They said, “We have been told that to be born again we must do all these other things such as turn from your sins, repent, give your life to God, and obey His commandments, etc. We have been so confused about how to get to heaven. No one has ever told us that to be born again we must simply believe in Jesus for His gift of everlasting life until today.This is so simple, and it is right there in the John chapter 3. Why has no one ever told us this before?”
I am more and more convinced that Christians today need to repent or change their minds about using the words “repent” and “repentance” so often in evangelism and begin to use the words God uses the most – “believe” and “faith” – in evangelism instead. When comparing the number of times “repent” (metanoeō) and “repentance” (metanoia) are used in evangelistic contexts in the New Testament  to the number of times “believe” (pisteuō )  and “faith” (pistis)  are used in evangelistic contexts, the words “believe” and “faith” are used almost seven times more frequently. Yet what we see happening today is Christians using the words “repent” and “repentance” far more than the words God uses most! This is one of the greatest failures of the church today. It not only dishonors our Lord Jesus Christ, but it also makes it more difficult for non-Christians to get right with God because it confuses and distorts the only condition for receiving eternal life from Jesus – believe or have faith in Him alone!!!
Believing in Christ alone is how the apostle John says a lost person obtains eternal life – a never-ending personal relationship with God (John 17:3). John says nothing in his gospel about commitment, confession, obedience, repentance, surrender, turning from sins or being sorry for sins as conditions for eternal life.  Repeatedly the apostle tells us that the sole condition for eternal life is believing in Jesus Christ alone.  So, when we tell others about Jesus, and His death for our sins and His resurrection, we do it with the intent of inviting them to believe in Christ. Until they believe in Christ alone to get them to heaven, they remain in the darkness.
1:8: John was not the Light. Jesus Christ is the Light. John simply pointed people to the Light.
“While John amassed a large, loyal following, he never allowed hisadmirers to mistake the messenger for the message… This means if you lead a discipleship group, it’s not to revolve around you; the members must never doubt it points to our Savior. If you have a pulpit, the pulpit doesn’t revolve around you; it’s a lamp from which the Word shines. And the congregation is not comprised of ‘your people’; they are the flock of God.”
You and I are not the Light! Jesus is the Light. Only Jesus can give people eternal life and change their lives. That is His responsibility. Our responsibility is to “bear witness” to the Light and let Jesus change people.
If you turn the lights off in a room, and you hold a mirror in one hand and another person holds a flashlight, your mirror can reflect the light when you are facing the flashlight. The flashlight represents Jesus Christ Who is the Light. The mirror represents your life. When the flashlight is pointed toward the mirror, the mirror reflects the light to other places and people around you. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are the light of the world only when we reflect Christ (Matthew 5:14-16).
HOW CAN WE REFLECT JESUS TO OTHERS? One way is to KEEP YOUR MIRROR FACING TOWARD THE LIGHT. If a mirror faces the light, it can reflect the light in any direction. But what happens when you turn the mirror away from the light? You can no longer reflect the light. When I turn away from Jesus, I can no longer reflect Him to others. Some people are not facing Jesus. Therefore, they cannot reflect Him to others because they aren’t facing Him. They aren’t walking with Him.
A second way to reflect Jesus to others is to MAKE SURE THAT NOTHING COME BETWEEN YOU AND THE LIGHT. When another person or object comes between you and the person holding the mirror, you can no longer reflect the light of the flashlight. Some people have allowed other people and things to get in between them and the light of Jesus Christ. Some people don’t even know that something is between them and Jesus. We must not let other people or things block the path of our light source. We must stay connected to Christ through His Word and prayer and fellowship with other Christians.
A third way to reflect Jesus to others is to KEEP YOUR MIRROR CLEAN FROM DEBRIS. If you spray Silly String on your mirror, your mirror can no longer reflect the light like it is supposed to. Some people are not cleaning their mirror daily. A dirty mirror is almost as ineffective as letting something come between it and the light.
Some people have allowed so much dirt build up that it is too difficult for them to clean. Jesus can wash anything as white as snow! If you are a Christian and you have sin built up in your life, God instructs you to confess your sin to Him according to I John 1:9. The Greek word translated “confess” means “to say the same thing, to agree.” But with whom do we agree? With God, and rightly so. Anderson notes that confessing our sin means we agree with God’s view of sin – He hates it (Ps. 45:7) and it grieves Him (Ephes. 4:30), so we admit our wrong with the intent of not doing it again.  When we do this, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of the dirt that keeps us from reflecting His light. If you have believed in Christ to get you to heaven, then God wants you to reflect Him with your life and lips. You can learn to do this through the discipleship process (Matt. 28:19-20).
A second way people may respond to the Light of Christ (not recommended) is to REJECT JESUS AS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE (1:9-11). 1:9: Christ, the true Light, shines on every person, making him or her aware of sin and judgment. What are some ways that Christ reveals Himself?
1. THROUGH CREATION. The Bible says, “But ask the animals,and they will teach you… that the hand of the LORD has done this” (Job 12:7, 9 – NIV; cf. Rom. 1:18-20; 2:12-16). For example, the giraffe has the highest blood pressure of all animals given its long neck which necessitates a powerful heart to pump blood all the way to the brain. By rights, the blood flow should blow its brains out when it bends to drink water and it should pass out when it raises its head, making it easy prey for lions. But the lofty animal has special features, including artery walls, bypass valves, as well as pressure-sensing signals that all work together to maintain the proper blood pressure.  Former evolutionist Jobe Martin says, “How could that evolve? He needs all these parts there all the time, or he is dead.” Animals like the giraffe defy Evolution!
At a recent men’s retreat, I was reminded in a video by Pastor Louie Giglio entitled “How great is our God,” of another example of how God has revealed Himself through creation. Pastor Giglio had met a molecular biologist in Texas who shared some amazing findings regarding the creation of our human bodies. He learned that the protein laminin functions as a “glue” or binding agent between each other and other proteins. Some scientists describe it as a kind of glue that holds biological material together. Louie referenced Colossians 1:16-17 which reads, “For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things are created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible… all things have been created through Him and for Him, and in Him all things hold together.” Laminin are shaped with several short arms and one long arm. When this protein is flattened out and observed under a microscope, it is in the shape of a cross (see above picture). Pastor Giglio concluded that we are held together by countless little crosses in our bodies.
2. THROUGH THE BIBLE. Countless lives have been changed by the light of God’s Word. So, Christ has revealed Himself indirectly in the things He has made (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23) and directly through the Bible (Psalm 19:7-14).
1:10:The Creator of the world came into the world and the world did not even know He was here. The world He made ignored Him. When Joe Montana, the hall of fame quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was on the disabled list with a hand injury, he was having lunch with his wife and children at a hotel on Maui. “You poor thing!” the waitress gushed. “How did it happen?” “I broke it playing football,” Montana replied. “Really?” replied the waitress. “Aren’t you a little old to be playing football?”
I am sure it was rather disappointing for Joe Montana not to be recognized, especially when he was in the prime of his football career. How much more so for Jesus! But it gets worse.
1:11: Not only was the Creator ignored by the world in general, but He was also rejected by His own Jewish people. Unlike the world, the nation of Israel knew He was here, but like the world they didn’t care. They turned away from the Light. My friends, don’t make the same mistake. If you reject Christ in this life, you will regret it for all of eternity.
A few years ago, I got a speeding ticket going to discipleship appointments in Des Moines, Iowa. It was embarrassing. But to make matters worse, I didn’t have any proof of auto insurance in the car. It was back at the house. And so, I had to go down to the Polk County Courthouse to appear before the Judge and present proof that I had insurance, or I would have to pay a whopping fine. And so here I am standing in line outside the courtroom waiting to appear before the Judge. Finally, the clerk called us into the courtroom and one by one each of us had to stand before the bench. When my name was called, I went before the judge. She asked me how I pled to the charge that I was speeding. I said, “Guilty.” I knew it. The policewoman knew it that wrote the ticket. So, there was no use denying it. The law required me to pay the penalty. Then she asked if I had proof of insurance. Hence, I presented it before the Judge, and she waived the second fine.
Just as there is a fine for every traffic violation, there is also a penalty for every sin and that is death – eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:15). The fact that God is holy and perfect demands that He must punish sin.
The day is coming when all of us must stand before the Judge of the universe. And if we don’t have the proper spiritual insurance, we are going to pay the price for our own sin in a place called hell or the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). Please understand that the lake of fire is a real place. It is worse than you or I have ever heard it described. And believe me, you don’t want to go there, nor do you want those you care about to go there. No one in hell would wish hell on anyone. The account in Luke 16:23-28 proves that. The rich man in that passage begs Abraham to let Lazarus, who is in such comfort, return to earth and warn his brothers about the place of torment. But he could not.
So here is the problem. We have sinned and deserve to spend eternity separated from God (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). To deal with our problem, God provided a Substitute. That Substitute was Jesus Christ who was 100% perfect (Rom. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; I Pet. 3:18) because He was and is God (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; I John 5:20). He had to take our punishment because one sinner cannot die for another. God allowed His Son to die in our place.
Years ago, residents of Saratoga, Texas, gathered at the community hall for a preschool graduation. Less than an hour into the program, the father of one of the children glanced out the door, and through grayish green skies spotted a funnel approaching with speed and fury. “Tornado!” he shouted. At 8:15 p.m. that force of nature struck the town hall. Later, workers searching through the rubble of the collapsed hall found the man’s body huddled over his daughter. She was alive and unharmed because when the structure fell, it fell on her dad. He died in her place. 
God’s judgment fell on Christ. He became our Substitute. He took our punishment when He died on the cross for our sins. Because He died, we can live forever with the Lord.
Christ paid our sin debt in full (John 19:30). There is nothing left for you to pay. God can now offer eternal life to you as a free gift. That’s why we are told “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Rom. 6:23b). Gifts, though, must be received and there is only one way to receive this gift.
1:12: Although the world and the nation of Israel rejected Christ when He came, individuals can still receive Him. How? Look at the last part of the verse. By believing “in His name.” In New Testament times, a name represented a person. Jesus Christ is the One Who died for our sins and rose again. The moment you believe or trust in Jesus alone to make you God’s child, you are born into God’s family.
Sometimes when I am sharing the gospel with someone they will say, “I’ve always been a Christian.” What they are really saying is, “I’ve never become a Christian.” We are not born Christians; we are born sinners. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Sin originates from the first man God created, Adam, so the whole human race stands guilty before God and needs a Savior.
Please understand that when the Bible says you must receive and believe in Christ, that does not mean you must simply accept Him as a Person like you would accept me as a person. Accepting me as a person will not get you to heaven. Accepting as history that Jesus existed, died, and rose again will not get you to heaven. Some people accept Christ’s death and resurrection as an historical fact but are still trusting in their own works to get them to heaven.
Picture a large boat filled with refugees from Cambodia coming across the Pacific Ocean. It begins taking on water and lifeboats become a necessity. Three passengers find themselves in different situations. The first passenger has no knowledge that lifeboats save and, therefore, never steps into one. The second passenger understands that lifeboats save, but for some reason refuses to step into one. The third passenger not only understands the ability of a lifeboat to save, but steps into the lifeboat and in so doing relies upon it to keep him from drowning.
Which of the three is saved? Yes, the last passenger. He not only had the knowledge, but he uses it. A person is saved when he or she understands the ability Jesus Christ has to save us and acts on that knowledge by trusting Christ alone. You are not saved simply by understanding Christ died and rose from the dead or even accepting His death and resurrection as a fact of history while relying on your own good life to get you to heaven. You become a member of God’s family when as a sinner deserving of hell, you believe or trust Christ alone to get you to heaven.
Verses 10-12 remind me of the incredible love and grace of Jesus Christ. Even though the world did not know Jesus as its Creator (1:10) and His own Jewish people rejected Him (1:11), Christ did not stop loving them. He still offered salvation to individual Gentiles and Jews who would receive Him by believing in His name (1:12). Likewise, when non-Christians initially reject the message of the gospel from us, we must not stop loving them or exposing them to the gospel. Christ never stopped loving me the first time I heard and rejected the gospel, and I am eternally grateful to Him for that! The least I can do is show the same kind of patient love toward unbelievers who need to hear the gospel more than once before they believe it.
Verse 13 explains the source of our birth into God’s family. First it tells us what spiritual birth is not. 1:13a: It is not from our heritage (“not of blood”). Being born and raised in a Christian family does not get you into God’s family any more than being born and raised in a McDonald’s restaurant would make you a hamburger. It is not by blood. 1:13b: Nor does one get into God’s family through determinations (“the will of the flesh”). It is not by determining to live a good life. You cannot make yourself a Christian. You cannot study Christians, act like them, go to their church, sing their songs, and go through all the Christian motions and become a Christian. It is not by positive thinking or clean living that you become a Christian. It is not by will of the flesh. 1:13c: It is not the achievements or willpower of others that makes you a Christian (“the will of man”). No pastor, priest, bishop, pope, relative, or imam can make you a Christian. You do not become a Christian through a ceremony, by reading a creed, by standing up, sitting down, coming to an altar, or getting baptized, or praying toward the east five times a day. Praying for others who are dead or alive does not get them to heaven. None of these things make you a Christian. It is not by the will of others.
So, if getting into God’s family is not the result of human relationships, determinations, or achievements of others, then what is it? It is a work of God (“who were born… of God”) whereby He convinces you that you cannot save yourself, but you must trust totally in Jesus Christ alone to place you into God’s family.
The most important question you could answer is, “What will you do with Jesus Christ?” If you are not a Christian, will you reject Him and face eternity without Him or will you believe in Him alone to place you into God’s family forever, so you can enjoy an eternal relationship with the Lord? And if you are already a Christian, will you choose to reflect Jesus with your life and lips? The choice is yours.
For those of us who already have Jesus in our lives, it is important to talk about being fathered by our heavenly Father. When we received Christ by believing in His name, God became our Father in heaven, and we became His beloved “child” forever (John 1:12; 10:28-29; Matt. 6:9; I John 3:1)!
For some of us, seeing God as our heavenly Father may stir up painful memories, thoughts, or feelings because we did not have a healthy relationship with our earthly father. We may have father wounds that can keep us from seeing God the Father for Who He truly is in the Bible.
We think that God will resemble our fathers or father figures from our childhood (cf. Ps. 50:21). When we were wounded by father figures in our childhood, there may have been shame-based lies or distortions of our view of God attached to those wounds.
Check the following shame-based concepts of God that apply to you: 
____ “The cruel and unpredictable God” is the most extreme distortion of God’s nature and is found among those who received brutal and unpredictable abuse in childhood most often at the hands of their fathers, stepfathers, or father figures. If you are one of the bruised believers who experienced severe physical or sexual abuse as a child, this might be the way you see God and you understandably struggle to trust your Father in heaven.
____ “The demanding and unforgiving God” is often the view that Christian adults have whose parents were rigid and perfectionistic. No matter how hard you try, you can never measure up to the demands of this distorted deity who does not forgive nor forget your sins. When you fail, watch out! His cruel side is manifested. He seems to delight in sending financial disaster or physical disease to emphasize His intolerance of your spiritual failures. Understandably, it is difficult for you to approach Him and experience His forgiveness and love.
____ “The selective and unfair God” is a distorted view of God found among Christian adults who experienced spiritual abuse by parental authorities in childhood. This might be the God you worship if you feel Jesus has revealed Himself more fully to other Christians who, in turn have a deeper relationship with Him than you do. You probably struggle with being a different and less-than Christian.
____ “The distant and unavailable God” may care about His worshipers, but He is off somewhere running the universe and cannot get too involved in their lives. If your parents were physically or emotionally unavailable through prolonged absences, perhaps because of death, divorce, illness, military duty, working overseas, or neglect, you may experience God as eternally distant and unavailable.
____ “The kind but confused God” is a clumsy and powerless deity who is confused by all the chaos in the world. If you had parents who were overwhelmed by uncontrollable chaos in their lives and your family, you may have this view of God.
The key to the healing of our father wounds is to walk through that pain with Jesus in the context of a loving community of Christians with whom you feel safe. God the Holy Spirit along with these loving believers, will help you replace the lies you believe about your heavenly Father with the truth of Who He is.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for calling us to bear witness to the Light – Your perfect Son Jesus Christ – so others can believe in Him alone for His gift of eternal life. Living the holiest life before non-Christians without telling them about Jesus does help them obtain eternal life. We must share the gospel with them and invite them to believe in Christ alone for salvation. Please enable us to use the words You used the most in evangelism – “believe” and “faith” – so more unsaved people can clearly know how You want them to respond to the good news of Your Son’s death and resurrection. Thank You for revealing Yourself to humanity through creation and through the Bible so no one is without excuse. Even though the world did not know Jesus as its Creator and His own Jewish people rejected Him, Christ did not stop loving them. He still offered salvation to individual Gentiles and Jews who would receive Him by believing in His name. Please give us the same love for lost people so we do not stop loving them even if they initially reject the gospel. Please empower us to continue to expose them to Your gospel message. Like some of us, they may need to hear the gospel several times before they believe it. Please heal us of our father wounds so we can see You for Who You truly are – a good and gracious heavenly Father Who delights in His children. In the matchless name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
 Constable, Dr. Constable’sNotes on John, 20123 Edition, pg 28; Archibald Thomas Robertson, A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament [with Bible and Strong’s Numbers Added!], 6 Volumes (E4 Group, 2014 Kindle Edition), Kindle Location 49546 to 49566.
 Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 640-641;
 R. Larry Moyer, Free And Clear: Understanding & Communicating God’s Offer of Eternal Life (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997), pp. 85-97. See also Joseph Dillow’s thorough treatment on repentance in Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny: The Future Reign of The Servant Kings: Fourth Revised Edition (Grace Theology Press, 2018 Kindle Edition), pp. 35-56.
 G. Michael Cocoris, Evangelism: A Biblical Approach (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1984), pp. 69-70.
 Jeff Ropp, The Greatest Need in Evangelism Today is One Word: BELIEVE (Jeff Ropp, 2014), pg. 37.
 These ideas were shared with me by Dr. Earl Radmacher during a phone conversation on June 11, 2011.
 Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 818-819.
 Ropp, The Greatest Need in Evangelism Today, pp. 94-95.