In the beginning was the Word – Part 2

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Deity of Jesus Christ, Shared Thoughts
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 In part 1, at the end I asked these questions, “So what does this all mean? And what “beginning” is the Holy Spirit referencing here? Plus, exactly how can the Word be both with God and yet be God? Long ago I looked at this verse and ponder these questions and more. Certainly, each written word of this verse is deliberate and true, but exactly how and why they are true was outside the grasp of my meager ability to comprehend.  Nonetheless, I accepted their immediate and obvious implications as accurate, believing them to be the words of God which still needed to be firmly embraced by faith, even if I didn’t understand them.

Today, it is with earnest appreciation that I’m persuaded His Holy Spirit has graciously allowed, as it were, the very fingertips of my understanding to ever so lightly touch the certainty of these words, permitting an ever so-slight awareness of the magnitude of their significance. Consequently, I have been persuaded these words of truth are saturated with profound implications and consequence, of which there is rich evidence to the strength of their authority everywhere,  waiting to be acknowledged by the earnest seeker of Truth.

However, before I get too far into this post, there is a distinction between knowledge and understanding which I believe would be beneficial to briefly discuss first. Certainly there are a variety of things we each may have considerable knowledge of and yet still not possess a comparable understanding about. For an example, we know a vacuum cleaner needs to be plugged in and the switch in the on position if it is going to function and get the job done; but exactly “why” is there power in the wall outlet and “how” it was generated, or “what” exactly is going on inside the vacuum cleaner are simply not necessary pieces of information required by the user in order to get the floor clean.

But yet, what an incredible difference an understanding of how and why something works makes in one’s life. It is like turning on a light in a dark and undiscovered place. Suddenly hidden things become clear and we gain the ability to see further, and even to correctly discern and anticipate possibilities when we begin to understand the concepts of “how” and “why.” Consider these verses–

Proverbs 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let your heart retain My words: keep My commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of My mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep you. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all you’re getting, get understanding.

Psalm 119:144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

As believers we should appreciate that through scripture we can learn knowledge, but even scripture testifies that “wisdom is the principal thing,” which, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, enables us to live and grow in godliness. But even more rewarding than attaining knowledge and wisdom, the getting of understanding is like hitting the mother lode. For knowledge consists of all those details and facts that can be categorized under “who, what, when and where.” The applicable information gets stored up and kept in safe keeping until it is needed to be place in the right answer box.  Wisdom, however, tends to be more of the “when and where” various types of information which are essential and is often seasoned with an appropriate measure of “how.”

Consider the simple example of a hammer and nail; we all know what they are. But just the mere knowledge of the items themselves will not make a person a carpenter; one needs the wisdom of “when” and “where” they are needed, as well as the skill “how” to properly use the one in order to successfully put the other in its place. Sadly, we have all seen projects that people with good intentions have managed to put together; however with just a little use and a short passage of time, it soon becomes undeniable that they lacked the understanding necessary to successfully accomplish what they had envisioned.

Why is it necessary to know stress calculations for loadbearing beams or strength density for various concrete applications? Where are the braces most functional and when are they not necessary? Are tie-downs always necessary? Will the selected finish withstand all the assaults of the environment and be safe to the users and inhabitants? Well, these questions might mean nothing to you at the moment, but to be successful in construction one would need to be able to correctly apply their answers to the variety of conditions and circumstances each particular job may encounter.

Now I know all that has nothing directly to do with John 1:1, but they have everything to do with the importance of understanding “why” and “how” things are safely and successfully accomplished. For “understanding” is like the firm and confident grasp by reason of use whereby the craftsman lays hold of his tool to tackle the task at hand. Likewise, faith when it has matured thru persistency, gains understanding of why and how and thus empowers us to embrace the things God desires in us all the way thru to their completion. Let’s examine the parable below in this light-

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that hears these sayings of Mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Therefore, it is not enough just to “know” how to build the apparent aspects of a house; one must also know the circumstances to which the house is going to be subjected to if they are to “understand” all the necessary preparations that must be made, as well as be aware of all the unseen aspects of the house. They must dig down deep to bedrock in order to provide a solid footing for the house, so that when the external forces anticipated come and are asserted against it, the structural integrity will not compromise and give way to ruin.

Now, it may seem that I’ve been talking about the necessity for our understanding so we can avoid costly occurrences in our lives, but in reality I have actually been laboring thus far to lead us to the infinite fountain of all knowledge, wisdom and understanding, the Word. For it must be recognized as an indisputable fact that God foresaw absolutely everything in infinitesimal detail and categorically knew every good and evil thing that would transpire throughout all eternity. Therefore from the very beginning, God fully knowing and understanding all the circumstances and opposing forces that would occur, accordingly made all the necessary preparation to assure His own purposes and glory. That regardless of foe or event, He can absolutely assure those who love Him, that each and every circumstance and event in their lives was foreseen and therefore can successfully work all things together for their eternal well-being.

I said all that because through the Apostle John the Holy Spirit tells us clear and simple that, “In the beginning was the Word.” Of course, some will still respond, “Ok, but what does that really mean?” To which I would emphatically reply, “Everything.”

But now, so everyone might understand my answer, let’s further examine this “Word” which was in the beginning with God, and was God. The Greek word that was translated to the English “Word” is “Logos.” Though we will look at both words, let’s begin with the popular definition of “Logos.”

Logos – from the Greek word lego ; something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John’s Gospel) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ):–account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.

The first place we see Logos is in Matthew 5:32 with Jesus saying, “That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause [Logos] of fornication, causes her to commit adultery.” The next is in Matthew 5:37, “But let your communication [Logos] be, ‘Yea, yea; Nay, nay:’ for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Later in Matthew 12:36 Jesus warns us, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account [Logos] thereof in the day of judgment.

In the Gospel of Mark it is used first by the leper cleansed by Jesus in 1:44-45, “But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter [Logos], insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city.”

In Luke and John, Logos first appearance is translated “word,” though its second usage in Luke 1:4 is translated differently, “That you might know the certainty of those things [Logos], wherein you have been instructed.”

So we see the various translations of Logos to the English words – cause, communication, account, matter, things, and of course, word. However, the most popular translations have been “saying(s)” and “word(s).” All this clearly reveals the Logos to be not only the cause of something, but also the matter itself to be communicated, that all “might know the certainty of those things” that are revealed unto us. But just how are “those things” revealed unto us? Let’s look at some verses in Isaiah–

28:9 Whom shall He teach knowledge, and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little… 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

First, the question is asked to whom is God willing to teach knowledge and give understanding of His doctrine? The answer is, to those old enough to learn, past the age of weaning and nursing at the breasts of their mothers.  And how will God teach them? He will teach them through His word, by revealing truth to them, “precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

Now let’s look deeper into where this word Logos stems from. It stems from the root Greek word Lego. That right there ought to be causing a flood of revelation into everyone’s mind right now, for how do Lego’s go together and what do kids (and many grownups) do with them?  They build with them Lego by Lego, piece by piece, row by row.  Let’s look at its definition –

 Lego – a primary verb; properly, to “lay” forth, i.e. (figuratively) relate (in words (usually of systematic or set discourse; by implication, to mean:–ask, bid, boast, call, describe, give out, name, put forth, say(-ing, on), shew, speak, tell, utter.

To systematically, or to set discourse with meaning so as to ask or bid another, to boast, call, describe, give out, name, put forth, say(-ing, on), show, speak, tell, utter. Is not all this what we are to be doing with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world? That we, as God’s salt and light to a blind and dying world, are meant to be living our lives with resolve so as to boast (openly show forth) of the very source of the life that is within us? And what other means have we to communicate that life within to those who would inquire of us, what is the reason for this hope that rests within us?

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God… 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

We are instructed to preach the Gospel, which is the proclaiming the mysteries of cross of Christ to men without watering it down. Furthermore, if our preaching is to be a labor of honesty in the work of God, we must preach the cross in its raw, brutal and obligatory format according to Jesus own admonishment. He left men no other way, for if we will not pick up our crosses, as did He, and follow Him in broken gratitude, then as He stated we cannot be His disciples. The Gospel wasn’t designed to please men, but rather to save them. If it is allowed to be compromised in an endeavor to modernize it so as to entice sinners with an easy and appealing cross, the end result is the “gospel” they preach is “of none effect” to save them from their sins.

Preaching the cross of Jesus Christ requires one to faithfully proclaim to the hearers both the reason for, and necessity of the cross, all the while proclaiming the glory of God through it. We must tell no other message than all have sinned and fallen into its bondage without any hope of self-deliverance, and that only through the cross and the name of Jesus Christ can men be saved. For there is no other name or way given in heaven and earth whereby sinners can be saved.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

For from the beginning, before any and all creation, God elected precisely how men were going to be saved. It would not be accomplished through logical persuasion; vainly attempting to reason with the lost and carnally minded using the wisdom of man or his eloquence of speech. No, preaching the cross IS the wisdom of God; that holy men and women would be given the call and obligation to make public proclamation of the mystery that was hid from the foundation of the world. Therefore we must recognize that only through our faith and obedience to preach the cross can we choose to release this power of God capable of saving those who will hear from their sins.

Let’s look at two verses, one from each of the epistles of Peter –

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

The first verse clearly speaks of an election, which most people straightway interprets to be a chosen or predestined person or group of people who should be saved. Of course, the other side of that coin would accordingly indicate that there are those predestined not to be saved, or even permitted the opportunity thereof. Such would imply it is God’s will they be denied the faith required to be save that others freely received by hearing the preaching of the cross. That would make God a “respecter of persons,” which He condemns.

But in our world, we see that not only “people” are “elected” through a decisive voting process, but so are laws that regulate the various aspects, ways and means of every day life. So I ask, have you ever considered this election might not pertaining to “who” would be save, but rather “how,” as in spiritual laws regulating way and means of salvation? So let’s look again at how the first verse closes, “through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Now you who know scripture, is it not true that no one “can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit?” That understanding Jesus is the Christ requires illumination of the Holy Spirit is evident, for when Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus told him “flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven.” Now, what did Jesus do all His ministry prior to the cross? He preached!

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life.

Who will escape condemnation? Those which believe in Jesus as the Christ and obey the Gospel, for no man can be “in Christ Jesus” unless by faith they obediently choose to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” For no man can truly “sanctify,” or make himself holy so as to set himself apart for God without yielding to and obediently following the Spirit as He leads them deeper into all truth. Faith which comes by hearing, comes from the preaching of the cross of Jesus which is the very heart of the word of God. It affords all the hearers equal opportunity to obediently acknowledge both the judgment and will of God in their lives and to be cleansed by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.  Listen to Jesus’ prayer to the Father and His testimony of His disciples–

John 17:6 I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

John 17:8 For I have given to them the words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me… 17 [Therefore] sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth.

Now consider again what Peter said in the above verse from his second epistle, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God.” For the Greek word translated “knowledge” is actually a verb and not a noun which means “recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: (ac-knowledge-ing).” See note the context it is used and how it was translated in Colossians –

2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, even of the Father and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Thus Peter is in perfect agreement with Paul, and it would have been even clearer had the word in 2 Peter 1:2 been likewise translated as “acknowledging God, and Jesus our Lord.” That is actually how Young’s Literal Translation presents it –

(YLT) Grace to you, and peace be multiplied in the acknowledgement of God and of Jesus our Lord!

The significance to be seen is faith in action versus a stagnant faith of mere belief or theology, for true faith is continually active by love.

Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness out of faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well. Who hindered you that you do not obey the truth?

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God for you always, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.

Again, it is “through the Spirit… faith working through [gratitude and] love” that we have “patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” as we “obey the truth.” Peter said it this way –

1 Peter 1:18a – knowing that you were redeemed… 19 with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through Him are believers in God, that raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: 23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abide forever.

This is the Logos of the Gospel, systematically and purposely put forth by God from the beginning. It is the revelation of Truth given for our understanding and place in our hearts as if it were Lego’s, being placed Lego upon Lego, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is why the preaching of the Gospel is to be the sole means and power of God unto salvation. If more “believers” would fully yield to the Holy Spirit with active faith and appropriately embrace the grace which was given to enable them to obey the Gospel, they would discover God’s faithfulness to establish His word in their hearts with understanding. Only then can they truly hope to become the salt and light that Jesus fully expects them to be.

But sadly, the testimony against the modern church is that most who have taken the name of Christ to themselves still prefer being friends with those of the world instead of salt and light to them. Thus they unwittingly reduce themselves into exactly that which the Holy Spirit gave dire warning to the churches through the ages to avoid–

II Timothy 3:1 Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be on us. 2 For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, 4 traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it.

How sad and grievous it is to the Holy Spirit of God and His saints to witness these words being so thoroughly fulfilled in most modern-day “churches” and their “leaders.” Every Sunday across America there are literally thousands of contemporary praise and worship services being led by hired professionals, complete with light and sound personnel providing timely adjustments of the colored lights to help set the mood of the spirit. All this, executed with choreographed precision in an attempt to satisfy their church goers with a “positive” religious-experience by giving them continual reaffirmation of both their self-worth and God’s unconditional love for them just as they are.  All this time, effort and focus on religious staging (instead of prayer and fasting) and so, just as the Holy Spirit warned, there is an undeniable famine in America of the hearing of the Logos of God simply because it is not “seeker friendly” and therefore considered not beneficial to be preached from most pulpits.

The primary goal of most churches leaders is to train and instruct their present church members into becoming “good Christians,” by instilling in them the leaders’ vision of laboring to “convert” other people into their way of thinking. The end of their gospel (which is not The Gospel) is for their members to learn to accept Christ in the same measure they have and to be content with being the same manner of “Christian” they are. Where is the perfecting of holiness in the fear of God? What an absolute failure to grasp the goal of the Gospel! And yet how widespread and rampant this delusion is, to think people can be convinced and trained into becoming a genuine Christian.

The preaching of the Gospel is nothing more and nothing less than the proclamation of God’s Logos, the marvelous seed of all life. It is not part of a program nor a mere exercise of debate whereby whoever has the most convincing argument wins. It is factual reality established “in the beginning” concerning the undeniable “power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.” It is the complete and efficient Word, the Logos, which in its entirety proclaims the absolute glory of God and the power of Jesus’ name through His birth, life, death, and resurrection to save sinners from their sin. 

The Gospel alone brings with it the promise of He who cannot lie to give the power of a godly life to those who acknowledge it with yielded heart, mind, and spirit; the very life and Spirit of Jesus being gently inserted into the heart of the broken and contrite. Those who have so been confronted with the Gospel’s truth and have seen their sins in the blinding light of God’s holiness and righteous judgment, and therefore in their distress have cried out for God’s mercy, these are the ones who experience the power of the Logos unto salvation. These are the ones who are “born again,” whose new lives reinforce the surety of God’s word, that because of Jesus sinners can now become saints and partakers of the divine nature, true men and women of God, holy and acceptable unto Him.

Yet sadly that truth is in sharp contrast with the present reality that most churches readily accept anyone’s casual confession of salvation, blindly ignoring any corrupt fruit of willful sin in the person’s life. These churches are happy to receive them into their fellowship and the more the better, because they can boast they’re having “revival.” But true revivals have never been casual or scheduled events planned in church board member meetings, nor will revival ever be the successful conclusion of religious men convincing non-religious men to think like they do. True revival has always been the result of those who truly believed and therefore lived and faithfully preached the truth in holiness with prayers and fastings, God bearing witness with signs and wonders, the greatest of which has always been the undeniable new birth of the sinner turned believer and saint. Such is the power of the Logos.

I Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:  23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This salvation “was foreordained before the foundation of the world” and has never been the result “of the will of man, but of God.” That is not intended to say man doesn’t have a part or a need to exercise of his own will to pass from death unto salvation, but rather that the will of man, in and  of its own accord, cannot work to the salvation of his soul. For the wages of sin is death, and death can never produce life.  Of His own will salvation was preordained by God before anything was created that He might redeem and bring forth unto Himself all who would believe in the Logos of Truth. For this reason scripture proclaims Jesus to be “the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world.”

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Please do not fail to see the clarity of what is being told to us, that Jesus of Nazareth was, “slain from the foundation of the world,  verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world,  in the beginning was the Word,  before Me there was no God formed neither shall there be after Me,  Yea, before the day was I am He.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world,  even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” These  are all sections of scripture of which Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me and still you will not come to Me that you might have life.”

This concludes Part 2.

Part 3 will be a closer look at what we can gleam from scripture as to what may have been, “In the beginning” when “the Word was with God” in hopes of exposing even more this “power to establish you” as Paul said, “according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” However, Paul did not end there, for he told us it is, “now is made manifest the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, to be made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”

As with Paul, so is my desire, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, even of the Father and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Therefore, let us lay hold of this as a promise given to compel us seek after in faith that we might find, and prayerfully ask that understanding be given unto us that we too might in spirit and truth worship with Paul and boldly proclaim from our own hearts and lips, “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”

 

Live for the Resurrected King!!

 

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