John 1:17
Let us proceed at once to particular instances of the Law given through Moses, and of the grace and truth coming through Jesus Christ. Thus we shall better see how Moses is brought into connection with Christ, and Law into connection with grace and truth. Look, then, at Exodus 20, where the great principles of the Law given through Moses are stated.

I. CONSIDER, THE BASIS OF JEHOVAH'S CLAIM. "I am Jehovah thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The fact of deliverance was indisputable, and just as indisputable the fact that the people had not delivered themselves; and for a while the delivered people hardly knew why they were delivered. Left to themselves, they might have scattered; but there was a compulsion on them all the time - a compulsion into liberty, a compulsion to go through the Bed Sea, a compulsion towards the awful solitudes of Sinai. Then at last Jehovah tells them what he expects. He who has done great things for them wants to know what they will do for him; and, lest they be inattentive, he states, to begin with, the solid basis of his claim. Then turn from Moses to Jesus Christ, and we have but another aspect of the same Jehovah. Jehovah was really gracious in the giving of the Law; but the grace got hidden. In Jesus Christ grace is manifest to all. There is the basis of a claim on you. You have but to look back on the experiences of others, human beings like yourselves - like in infirmity, like in manifold needs, like in the pollution of an evil heart, like in suffering and sorrow, like in sickness and mortality. As Jesus in the flesh actually dealt with men in various positions, so now, in the spirit according to his view of your needs, will he deal with you. Jesus turned no water to blood, smote no cattle with pestilence, bruised no fields With hail, gathered no clouds of locusts, wrapt no land in gross darkness, robbed no parents of their firstborn, overwhelmed no armies in the sea. A little child can see that grace and truth are in Jesus Christ.

II. CONSIDER THE CLAIM OF JEHOVAH ITSELF. Take the first item. "Thou shall have no other gods before me." Look at all that is involved in this claim. It means that we are to worship Jehovah alone, and that, of course, assumes that we are actually worshippers of the one God to begin with. What if we are deluding ourselves with mere outward performances before a name? Do we know what we worship? Labelling the unknown with the name of God does not make it better known. And Moses gave no help in revealing the nature of God. He uttered bare law. But Jesus comes with a grace and truth which are strangely self-revealing. He winds gently into the hearts of men, by every entrance he can find. He quietly accepts as his right the reverence and adoration of every heart willing to render them. No long elucidations are needed to make it plain that he is a gracious Being. We need no formal command to worship him. We are instinctively drawn to our knees in his presence. He carries the essence of his commandments charactered in his gracious face. Thus by considering all the ten commandments, we should get illustrations of the grace and truth in Jesus Christ. The ten commandments, just by themselves, however often repeated, can bring comfort to no human being, only a deeper conviction of one's sin and misery. Jesus brings the Law just as vigorously as Moses; but he brings more than Law. Through his demands there shine forth gloriously grace and truth, favour and reality. Not simply good wishes on the one side, or bare reality on the other. Christ brings a grace that is truthful, and a truth that is gracious. He comes as both the kindest and ablest of physicians. He gives strength before he asks service. Grace and truth flow from him to us, and then in due time grace and truth flow forth from us also. - Y.







The Law was given by Moses.
I. IN THE PERSONS REPRESENTING JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

1. Moses was the servant, Christ the master.

2. Moses was a subject, dependent, Christ was King of kings.

3. Moses was only a man, but Christ was the God-man.

4. Moses was the agent smiting the rock, Christ was the rock smitten.

5. Moses was but the channel of communication between God and His people; Christ is the source of all our mercy.

6. Moses was only the student; in Christ dwelt all the fulness of wisdom.

7. Moses was delegated; Christ spoke in His own name and on His own authority.

II. IN THE CREDENTIALS OF THE WORK OF MOSES AND THOSE OF THE WORK OF CHRIST.

1. The ten plagues were wrought for punishment. The thirty-two miracles of Christ were performed in mercy.

2. The miracles of Moses were a national calamity; those of Christ a national blessing.

3. The miracles of Moses were destructive; those of Christ remedial.

4. Those of Moses were wrought on matter; many of those of Christ on mind or spirit.

5. Those of Moses were wrought by power derived from God; those of Christ by Himself.

III. IN THE FESTIVALS OF JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

1. The former refer to temporal deliverances and to carnal things; the latter commemorate spiritual deliverances, and refer to the heavenly and the Divine. The Passover, e.g., sets forth the emancipation from Egypt; the Lord's Supper of redemption from sin.

2. The Jewish Sabbath, the last day of the week, commemorated the creation of the world; the Christian Sabbath, the first of the week, is the sign of the new creation.

3. The Jewish Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law on Sinai; our Pentecost, the baptism of the Spirit.

IV. ABOUT JUDAISM WE HAVE THE OUTWARD; ABOUT GRACE AND TRUTH WE HAVE THE INWARD.

1. The virtue in the Jewish sacrifices was outwardly derived; the virtue in the Atonement is the inward.

2. Their laws were given amidst the external thundering and lightning of Sinai; ours amid the calmness and quietness peculiar to Christ.

3. The Jews were separated from the world more by outward signs; we are separated by the circumcision of the heart.

V. THE LIFE OF OBEDIENCE GOD REQUIRED FROM THE JEWS WAS EMBODIED IN A CODE OF LAWS; THAT OF THE CHRISTIAN IS IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST.

(S. Jones.)

God's education of the world, class by class — the Law one of the most important lessons ever taught it. Advisable to review these old lessons.

I. THE LAW. Wider and narrower meanings of the word.

1. Political, representing the theocratic idea.

2. The ceremonial, representing the sacrificial.

3. Moral, representing the inculcation of holiness. A remarkable foreshadowing of the Holy Trinity.

II. BY WHOM GIVEN: Moses. Fulness of accounts concerning him. Scenes and dates of his life easily traceable.

1. His outer life.

(1)Education.

(2)Energy.

(3)Patriotism.

2. His inner life.

(1)Meekness, disinterestedness (Exodus 32:20-32).

(2)Prayerfulness.

III. TO WHOM GIVEN

1. Not to the world, but to a peculiar people; this contrary to human practice, and a proof of heavenly origin.

2. To a people specially prepared from the time of Abraham in all the circumstances of their national life and location.

3. To a people who nevertheless failed to keep it in its entirety for a single generation. Hence we see that, while God has always a law, and that law has always been in its great characteristics the same, man has always failed to keep it.

(W. L.)

I. GRACE.

1. The Divine message.

2. The heavenly gift.

3. The supernatural help.

II. TRUTH. This grace, embodied in the life, working outwards from the heart —

III. CAME BY JESUS CHRIST.

1. They could come by no other.

2. From Him they were inseparable. The twofold nature of the Divine Man.

IV. FOR WHOM. Not like the law for a people, but for the world (Matthew 11:28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11).

(W. L.)

I. A COMPARISON.

1. Both men.

2. Both messengers from God.

3. Both bearers of a revelation.

II. A CONTRAST.

1. Moses only man; Christ the Son of God.

2. Moses raised up by God; Christ sent forth from God.

3. Moses the bearer of a revelation outside of himself; Christ the bringer of a revelation in Himself.

4. Moses a lawgiver; Christ a declarer of grace and truth.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

(cf. Galatians 3:6): —

I. The dispensation of NATURAL RELIGIOUS FEELING.

1. The race was in childhood. It acted from impulse. It obeyed no written code of moral regulations. The man chosen as the representative of this period was Abraham. The record of it is the book of Genesis. That writing is the first grand chapter in the biography of man; and its very literary structure — so dramatic in contents, so careless of the rules of art, so like a child's story in its sublime simplicity — answers to the spontaneous period it pictures. "The patriarchal age" we call it. Throughout the whole of this era, reaching from Adam to Joseph, there were beautiful virtues, flowering into the light by the spontaneous energy of nature, but poisoned in many spots by the slime of sensuality. The human stock threw out its forms of life with a certain negligence, as the prodigal force of nature does her forests — as a boy swings his limbs in the open air. Character needed a staunch vertebral column to secure its uprightness.

2. Corresponding to this impulsive religious age of the race, is the natural state of the individual. It is the condition we are born into, and the multitudes never pass beyond it, because they are never renewed or made Christian. Morally, they are children all their lives. Bad dispositions mix with good. Conduct is not brought to the bar of a governmental examination, and judged by an unbending principle. Nature, true enough, is always interesting; and spontaneous products may be beautiful. But man, with his free agency, beset before and behind by evil, is not like a lily growing under God's sun and dew, with no sin to deform its grace or stain its colouring. He has to contend, struggle, resist. He is tried, enticed, besieged. Natural religion might possibly answer in the woods or in some solitary cell. But let the young man travel to the city, and the young woman lend her ears to the flatteries of that silver-tongued sorceress, society; and all this natural piety is like a silken thread held over a blazing furnace.

3. And as the first dispensation ended in a slavery in Egypt, or broods darkly over Pagan nations still, so the lawless motions of every self-guided will end in a servitude to some Pharaoh in the members that cries aloud for emancipation — a settled alienation from the household of the good.

II. Next comes the LEGAL OR JUDICIAL stage.

1. The world's religious experience is concentrated in Judaea, human progress running on through Hebrew channels. Others have wandered off into hopeless idolatries. Now God calls Moses and appoints him the head of the second epoch. A period of law begins. Instinct must be curbed, for it has done mischief enough. Impulse must be controlled by principle, for it has proved itself insufficient. There must be positive commands, ceremonies, and ordinances, coercive restraints, and penalties.

2. So with all of us; there comes a time when we feel that we cannot act by inclination, but must follow law. The principle of duty is that law. Babyhood is passed, and its instincts suffice us no longer. To do as we like would still be pleasant, but it is dangerous and false. We become stewards, and must give account of our stewardship. Life has put its harness upon us, and we must work in it. The beneficence as well as the rectitude of this is apparent. By obeying a law, we acquire superiority to it. Voluntarily submitting to certain rules for a time, our virtue is strengthened and finally becomes independent of them, so that it can go alone. The inebriate binds himself by a pledge, and thus regains his freedom. Let us not despise law, for every day practical proofs are scattered before us that it is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.

III. But there is a THIRD DISPENSATION, and at the head of it one greater than Moses. These outgrew the period of literal commandment. It became a dead profession, a school of foolish questions, a shelter of hypocrisies. The enlarging soul of the race asks a freer, more sincere, more vital nurture, and it comes. If the simple religious instincts of Abraham had been accepted for righteousness; if the law had been given by Moses, grace and truth enter in by Jesus Christ — grace for the heart, truth for the understanding.

1. Christ does not abrogate law, but by His own life and sacrifice first satisfies its conditions. "Think not that I came to destroy, but to fulfil." The Cross does not unbind the cords of accountability, but tightens and strengthens them. Divine laws never looked so sacred as when they took sanctity from the redemption of the Crucified. We must still be under discipline; but the Lawgiver is lost in the Redeemer. The drudgery of obedience is beautified into the privilege of reconciliation. Love has cast out fear. The soul is released from the bondage.

2. Neither of these three stages, whether of the general or the personal progress, denies or cuts off its predecessor. Nature prepares the way for law, making the heart restless by an unsatisfying experiment without it. The Law disciplined wayward, uncultured man, making him ready for Christ. Judaism and Moses looked forward to the Messiah. So, in the heart of childhood, there are expectations of the responsible second stage of manhood; it is too thoughtless yet to look beyond, to the age of mature Christian holiness. But see, again, when that second age of stern command and strict obedience comes, it grows sober and reflective. It feels heavily that it is not sufficient to itself. It must look forward for the consolations of the Cross.

3. Each stage requires fidelity in the preceding. You must have been true to the better impulses of youth, that you may be, to the best advantage, a servant of the law of maturity. You must be faithfully obedient to duty before you are fit to be a subject of grace. Do not imagine you can glide over into the favour of heaven, without first keeping the commandment. Abraham, Moses, Christ; impulse, discipline, faith; nature, law, gospel; instinct, obedience, grace; Mature, Sinai, Calvary; this is that Divine order — not bound by rigid rules of chronological succession, but having the free play and various intershadings of a moral growth — to which we are to conform our lives.

(Bp. Huntington.)

"You never saw a woman sewing without a needle! She would come but poor speed, if she only sewed wi' the thread. So, I think, when we're dealing wi' sinners, we maun aye put in the needle o' the law first; for the fact is, they're sleepin' sound, and they need to be awakened up wi' something sharp. But when we've got the needle of the law fairly in, we may draw as lang a thread as you like o' gospel consolation after it."

(F. Lockhart.)

One of the persecutors, in Queen Mary's days, pursuing a poor Protestant, and searching the house for him, charged an old woman to show him the heretic. She points to a great chest of linen, on the top whereof lay a fair looking-glass. He opens the chest, and asks where the heretic was. She suddenly replied, "Do you not see one? meaning that he was the heretic, and that he might easily see himself in the glass. And thus God's law is the glass that shows us all our spots. Let us hold it right to our intellectual eye; not behind us, as the wicked do, they cast God's word behind them; not beside us, like the rich worldling that called to Christ — not to turn the back of the glass towards us, which is the very trick of all hypocrites; nor, lastly, to look upon ourselves in this glass when we are muffled, masked, or cased, for under those veils we cannot discern our own complexions. But let us see the clear glass before our face, and our open face to the glass, and then we shall soon perceive that the sight of our filthiness is the first step towards cleanliness.

(J. Spencer.)

I. HOW THEY CAME.

1. Let us begin with truth. Truth came by Jesus Christ.(1) The truth of performance in distinction from engagement. You read of the promise made unto the fathers. It was first announced in Paradise, and was renewed from time to time. That promise has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ.(2) The truth of reality in distinction from prefiguration. The Law was a shadow of good things to come. We are in possession of the truth, of Which the paschal lamb, the manna, the rock, the altar, the mercy-seat, etc., were the shadows.(3) The truth of certainty in distinction to error and falsehood. What is heathenism? An assemblage of false gods, temples, sacrifices, hopes, fears: "turned the truth of God into a lie." What is Mohammedanism? A vast improvement on heathenism. Mohammed was a man of great talent; but that his communications from God, that his puerile and depraved notions were Divinely inspired, is a lie. What is Popery? Take her traditions, rites of saints, miracles, infallibility — what are these but lying wonders? What is justification by works? What is antinomianism, but a lie? But the gospel is the truth, and we can point to its incontestible evidences.(4) The truth of importance in distinction from all other truth. Things may be equally true, and yet not equally valuable. There is physical, historical, and moral truth; but I lay my hand on the Bible and say, "This is life eternal."(5) This is truth the most honourable to God, suited to man, most influential, most beneficent; and we do not wonder at Paul saying, "I count all things but loss," for the excellency of it.

2. Grace came by Jesus Christ.(1) Because He revealed it (ver. 18). "Never man spoke as this man." "Grace was poured into His lips," therefore "the common people heard Him gladly."(2) Because He is the effect of it. "God so loved," etc.(3) Because He is the medium of it. Everything worthy of the name flows from His mediation — "promises which are yea and amen through Him"; redemption, which is through His blood.(4) Because He is the exemplifier of it. Look at His Old Testament emblems, and those in the New: a lamb is the image of His Person, a dove of His Spirit. Righteousness and joy and peace is the character of His kingdom.

II. WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THEM NOW THEY ARE COME. We must have something to do with them, or they will have something to do with us. Having come in contact with the gospel you cannot shake it off. It will either be a savour of life or a savour of death.

1. We are to receive them. Not grace without truth or truth without grace. The gospel is truth, and therefore to be received with the firmness of conviction and assent; grace, therefore to be received with cordiality, gratitude, and joy.

2. To exemplify them. Under the agency of the Spirit we are softened from our natural hardness to receive Divine impression, and fashioned into the very character of the gospel so that we realize it, embody it, and render it visible, so that we adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour by showing what it is. Whatever the gospel is we are required to copy it — if light, we are to be illuminated; if salt, we are to be seasoned; if love, we are to be lovely; if holiness, we are to be holy. There are some who are all truth who are not all that grace requires. The perfection of the Christian arises from the harmony and proportion of these excellencies. In your zeal for orthodoxy you must not renounce charity and candour.

3. To extend and diffuse them. Though grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, there are millions who have never heard of the Saviour. But are they to remain ignorant always?

(W. Jay.)

The law threatened, not helped; commanded, not healed; showed, not took away, our feebleness. But it made ready for the Physician, who was to come with grace and truth.

( Augustine.)

The Law was given, but grace came, because the one was sent by a servant, the other was brought by the Son.

(Bp. Wordsworth.)

The words "was given" imply the external and positive institution of the Law; "came" denotes grace and truth appearing historically in the very person of Him who is their essential source (ver. 4), and becoming realized in His life and communicated through Him. Moses may disappear, the Law remains nevertheless; it is only given by him. But take Jesus Christ away, and grace and truth are gone; for these gifts have come by Him, and are closely united to His Person.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

There was first, in the Law, God's claim of right, which man could not meet, and now, in Jesus Christ, God's gift of salvation.

(J. Culross, D. D.)The one could only give the command, but the other supplies motives and strength to keep it. The one could only show in figure, what the other exhibits in fact, the means whereby we may obtain pardon where the command has unhappily been broken.

(G. J. Brown, M. A.)

Grace in opposition to the curse of the moral law; truth in opposition to the figures of the ceremonial law.

(Bp. Reynolds.)Grace comprehends all the perfections of the will; truth all the virtues of the understanding.

(Dr. Preston.)

It is plain that the antithesis cannot be between the false and the true, but only between the imperfect and the perfect, the shadowy and the substantial. So, too, the eternal word is declared to be τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν (John 1:9), not denying thereby that the Baptist was also "a burning and a shining light" (John 5:35), or that the faithful are "lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:14); but only claiming for a greater than all to be "the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Christ declares Himself ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἀληθὶνος (John 6:32), not that the bread which Moses gave was not also "bread of heaven" (Psalm 105:40), but it was such only in a secondary inferior degree; it was not food in the highest sense, inasmuch as it did not nourish up into eternal life those that ate it (John 6:49). He is ἡ ἀμπελος ἡ ἀληθινὴ (John 15:1), not thereby denying that Israel also was God's vine, which we know it was (Psalm 80:8; Jeremiah 2:21), but affirming that none except Himself realized this name, and all which this name implied, to the full (Hosea 10:1; Deuteronomy 32:32). The fact that in John's writings the word ἀληθὶνος is used two and twenty times as against five times in all the rest of the New Testament, is one which we can scarcely dismiss as accidental.

(Archbishop Trench.)

It is at this point that the Apostle for the first-time announces the great name so long expected. In proportion as the history of the mercies of the Word towards humanity unfolds before his view, the spectacle inspires him with terms even more concrete and more human. The Loges of ver. 1 appeared as Light in ver. 5; as Son, ver. 14; and in ver. 17 He is at length called Jesus Christ.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

These great words have stood here in John's Gospel for eighteen hundred years, but I am afraid there are millions of Christian people who have not discovered their glorious meaning. They are still under law, and are still surrounded by the unreal shadows of darkness. About the grace and the truth which have come through Jesus Christ, they know almost nothing. I will begin with what is most obvious. We find ourselves living in a world in which the forces of nature are constant, in which what we describe as natural laws are uniform and invariable. There is an iron rigidity in the constitution of things. We have to discover that constitution. We cannot change it. We have to take account of it in the conduct of life. What we call Nature seems to show no mercy to those who disregard her method. She will give us harvests, but we must pay her price, and her full price. We can have health and strength, but only upon her conditions. Now this relentlessness of nature forms men to think of God sometimes as relentless; for nature, they say, is the revelation of God. We are under law — this is the inference — under law throughout every province of life, and we can never escape the natural consequences of our sins. We must exhaust the penalty in this world or other worlds, we must pay the debt to the uttermost farthing. Christ meets us in nature and contradicts that inference. Nature is only the partial and incomplete revelation of God. Christ reveals the actual truth. You believe that there is no release from the natural consequences of ignorance, of folly, of recklessness, of vice, and that in the full and unqualified sense of the words "What a man soweth that shall he also reap." But the whole story of Christ's life contradicts that belief. If natural laws were supreme, men born blind would remain blind to the end of their days. Christ gave them sight. That is not merely part of the evidence of the gospel. It is a very substantial part of the gospel itself, and a part of the gospel exceptionally necessary in our times. If natural laws were supreme, deaf would remain deaf, the dumb would remain dumb. Christ gave them hearing, speech. The laws of nature are not supreme. In Christ, the gracious power of the Eternal revealed, not to one age only but to all ages, that nature is not supreme, but that God is supreme. Nature may be relentless; God is not. And it was in the natural order itself that Christ by His miracles gave us this great discovery. The universe is a great school for the discipline of the intellect and the virtue of mankind, and it could not be an effective discipline if the natural order were not constant. But to infer that the methods of God are bound by the methods of nature is a false inference. Let me take another illustration of how Christ contradicts what may be called our natural belief in law. We are conscious of fault, perhaps of something that ought to be described by a darker name. It lies upon our conscience, and we cannot escape from it. We say, "No, it is impossible that I should ever escape. The guilt is mine, and if I live for a thousand years it will be mine still." Grace came by Jesus Christ. You think that by an eternal law you must suffer for your sins. The Christian gospel declares that Christ suffered for them. His relations to us — you will discover this, I hope, some day if you have not discovered it yet — are of a kind which made it possible for Him, as it was possible for no one else. But does He deliver from the external and natural consequences of wrong-doing? Not obviously. Perhaps not frequently. If He delivered men from these obviously and frequently, the moral discipline which we are to derive from the constancy of the order of nature would be imperilled. Sometimes, indeed — and far more often than we even suppose — I am inclined to believe that Christ does really deliver us even from the natural consequences of wrong-doing. But even when these remain their whole character is changed. As sins they are forgiven. Then they become simply the natural consequences of what we have done, not the penal consequences. We do not see behind them a God that is punishing us for having done wrong, but a God who has pardoned us, and who is standing by us to discipline us by certain hard conditions of life to a higher perfection. Consequences which were penal as long as we were unforgiven, become simply natural and disciplinary as soon as sin has been remitted. Do you say that if the consequences remain it makes no differ. ence whether they are penal or whether they are natural and disciplinary? You would hardly say that if you knew the difference from experience. But even apart from experience you may get some glimpse of the truth. Here is a man who, as the result of his recklessness and his gross vices, is suffering disease for which there is no cure. He is miserably weak, sometimes he is in great pain. His condition is the natural result of his evil life, and since he brought it on himself by his vices, he feels that it is the penal result of his evil life. Here is another man, suffering from weakness equally prostrating, from pain equally severe, but his weakness and pain came upon him from no fault of his own. They are the result of exposure to damp air acting on some original defect of the constitution, or the result of overwork for the sake of his wife and children, or of accident, or they came upon him on the battlefield when fighting for his country. They are natural consequences of certain past events in the man's history; they are not the penal results of the man's vices. Would not the first man give a great deal to exchange the weakness and the suffering which are penal for the weakness and the suffering which are merely natural? That is what Christ reveals. Law came by Moses, grace came by Jesus Christ. Let me take another illustration. Law, moral law, law as we know it — and I am using the word in its popular sense — begins by imposing duty. The law of consequence begins by imposing duty. The law given to the Jewish people so far forth as it was law begins by imposing duty, and it makes the fulfilment of duty the condition of peace with God and of larger power to do well and of eternal blessedness. All this is of the very essence of what we call law. Grace came by Jesus Christ. He begins in altogether a different way. He does not say "Live righteously, and God will be at peace with you,", but "God is at peace with you, therefore bye righteously." He finds us in our sin. Whenever He really finds us we are conscious of our sin, and so we are ready in our strong belief in that form of law which is familiar to us to say, "God can be no friend of mine as yet; I must amend my ways, I must break off my evil habits, I must master my evil passions, I must become pure, devout, earnest about religion, and then God will be at peace with me." That is law. What Christ says is, "God is already at peace with you, is already your Friend. He will not wait till you have amended your ways before He dismisses the remembrance of your sin. He dismisses it at once, and will help you to mend your ways, will help you to break off evil habits, will help you to master evil passions, will help you to become pure, devout, and earnest about religion." That is grace. People do not see the glory of it, do not see what it means. They think that Christ only came to make some things plainer to the world than they were before. It never occurred to them that it would not have been worth while for the eternal Word of God to become flesh in order to do that. Truth — there is an infinite suggestiveness in the way John puts the contrast between what Moses did and what Christ has done. He does not merely say, "The law was given by Moses, grace came by Jesus Christ." What he says is, "The law was given by Moses, grace came — grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Judaism was evidently wanting in grace; it was wanting in reality too. All its institutions were elementary, visible, material illustrations of the spiritual realities, the very truth of things, which are ours in Christ. Not only grace and truth, reality came by Jesus Christ. And wherever the grace is obscured, the truth, the very reality and substance of the Christian revelation loses its place, and the mere shadows of heavenly things remain. It was so among the Judaising opponents of Paul. You remember how they insisted on the necessity of circumcision if men were to be saved. But, said Paul, circumcision is nothing. It is a shadow, it produces no real change in a man. We Christians have the true thing, of which circumcision is but the shadow, the circumcision of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not of man but of God. I entreat you to dismiss shadows, all shadows. Recognize the truth, the reality that has come by Jesus Christ, and in the truth you will find grace. There is a real sacrifice for sin, the eternal Son of God. There is a real Priest. While we deal with the shadows of sin, the shadows of sacrifices and the shadows of priests may avail for us; but when the sin comes home to us in its reality, be sure of this, that only the sacrifice that is real and the Priest that is real will give us courage and peace. And the glory of what Christ has achieved, and the revelation of grace which has come by Christ, is this, that while Christ has cancelled the old and infirm form of law, Christ creates a righteousness transcending all that law had demanded. Grace comes, grants us to begin with more than man had ever hoped for by perfect obedience, and grace tells man that, by an obedience he would never have been capable of before, he is to retain this great wealth and constantly to augment it. And so in a higher region grace and law blend. The law is not made void — it is established; the righteousness that law demands grace renders possible; and so man is glorified for ever in the eternal glory of God.

(B. W. Dale, M. A.)

Links
John 1:17 NIV
John 1:17 NLT
John 1:17 ESV
John 1:17 NASB
John 1:17 KJV

John 1:17 Bible Apps
John 1:17 Parallel
John 1:17 Biblia Paralela
John 1:17 Chinese Bible
John 1:17 French Bible
John 1:17 German Bible

John 1:17 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 1:16
Top of Page
Top of Page