December 17, 2012
The Unseen yet Revealed God
No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
Three great truths are found in this verse, truths which are vital for us to grasp. They are truths as well which lead to worship.
The God Who is invisible
“No man hath seen God at any time.” The statement reveals to us the transcendency of God as well as His “unknowableness” apart from revelation. Since we cannot see Him, we cannot attain to the knowledge of God unless He moves to reveal Himself by some means.
His revelation has been progressive. First there was the natural revelation in creation. His power and Godhead are seen. Then, to a nation, He revealed Himself through His Word. His intention was that the nation of Israel serve as a revealer of Him to other nations. The ultimate revelation, flawless and final, as we shall see, is in His Son.
There are references in the Old Testament to men “seeing” God. All of these were occasions when God in grace gave men a partial unfolding of His glory. “There shall no man see Me and live,” was His message to Moses (Ex 33:20).
A Relationship which is Intimate
Please read the verse carefully. It does not refer to a past eternity; that is included. But what is revealed is an unbroken nearness and intimacy between the Father and the Son. “The Only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father” tells us not only that He was with the Father, but that there was a continual moving toward that place of intimacy. The preposition which is used in this verse, eis, suggests movement toward its object. The relationship and intimacy had no beginning and will know no end. He has eternally been the object of His love. The importance of this is highlighted by the next statement. Who would be more qualified to give an accurate and authoritative revelation of the Father’s heart?
A Life which was Interpretive
If you were to visit some historical sights, you would find costumed “interpreters” whose job is to act as though they are living in that time era and thus “interpret” to you something of what life was like then, and an understanding of the events which shaped that time period.
The life of the Lord Jesus was a telling out, an exegesis to use a theological term, a declaration of the invisible God. For those years here upon this earth of ours, the invisible God became visible to the extent that mortal eyes could behold Him. True, His glory was not fully displayed; but His moral perfections and grace were fully revealed.
1. Later in John we will read that Isaiah saw His glory and spake of Him (John 12:38-41). So every revelation of God’s glory has always been through His Son. Look at Hebrews 1:3 as well.
2. Trace the title, “The Only Begotten Son,” and notice how it has nothing to do with “generation” but everything to do with uniqueness and affection.
3. Notice that in John 1 we have the Son in the bosom of the Father; when we arrive at John 13, we see man in the bosom of Christ (13:23,25). Is this something only John can know or is this available to us all?