“The Word was with God”
John says, “In the beginning was the Word.” He does not say, “In the beginning came the Word, or began the Word, but, “was the Word.” The word translated “was” literally means “was existing.” John is telling us that whenever the beginning was, the Word already was. He is declaring that he who is God our Savior is the eternal One. He is that One who “was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).
“In the beginning was the word.” — No created mind can plunge the depths of this vast ocean or traverse its shoreless breadth. When time and creatures came into being, the Word was. — “In the beginning was the word.” No words could have been chosen by God the Holy Spirit that could more perfectly or more emphatically declare that our Lord Jesus Christ is the absolute, uncreated, eternal God.
“And the Word was with God.” — With those words, John declares that Christ the Word is one with and co-eternal with God. John is declaring the eternal existence of the Word with the Father, his relation and nearness to him, his equality with him, and particularly the distinction of the Word from the Father. He was always with him, is with him and ever will be with him. From all eternity, there was an intimate and ineffable union between the first and second Persons in the blessed Trinity, between Christ the Word, and God the Father. Though John here speaks of the Father and the Son, the same is true of God the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
John seems to be emphasizing, not just the eternality of the Word and the eternal union of the Father and the Son, but the eternal communion of the Divine Persons. The preposition “with” is a preposition of direction and means “toward,” or “face to face with,” suggesting both equality and agreement. The phrase might be translated, “and the Word was toward God.” It expresses the idea of motion.
I am reminded of Micah’s description of our Savior as him whose “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” In perfect union, communion and being with one another the Father and the Son, the Word and God went forth toward us in everlasting mercy and love in the beginning, from eternity! Christ, the Word, was with the Father in the covenant of grace. He was with the Father in the creation of the universe, and is with him in the providential government of the world. He was with him as the Word and Son of God in heaven, while he as man was here on earth. And he is now with him as our Advocate on High (1 John 1:1-2).
There is now, always has been, and always shall be a reciprocal, conscious communion, and the active going out of love between the three Persons of the Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, regarding the Salvation of our souls! Imagine that! — As the three Persons of the eternal Godhead are equal in Divinity, but distinct in personality, so all three of the Divine Persons are equal in grace, but distinct in the operations of grace; and all three are and were and forever shall be moving toward us in grace!
The Fountain of Grace
God the Father is set before us as the Fountain of all grace (Ephesians 1:3-6). It was God the Father who in the covenant of grace proposed redemption, devised the plan and chose the people whom he would save by his almighty grace. He found a way whereby his banished ones could be brought back to him and never expelled from his presence. Then, “in the fulness of time,” he sent his Son to be the Medium or Mediator of grace to his chosen (Galatians 4:4-6).
The Channel of Grace
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the channel of all grace (Ephesians 1:7-12). All grace comes to sinners through Christ the Mediator. In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul tells us fourteen times that everything God requires of sinners, does for sinners and gives to sinners is in Christ. Apart from Christ there is no grace! God will not deal with man, but by Christ. Man cannot deal with God, but by Christ. Christ is the Revelation of God, the incarnation of God and the only way to God. — Are we chosen of God? We are chosen in Christ. — Are we blessed of God? We are blessed in Christ. — Are we predestinated by God? We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ. — Are we adopted as the children of God? We are adopted in Christ. — Are we accepted of God? We are accepted in Christ. — Are we redeemed by God? We are redeemed in Christ. — Are we forgiven by God? We are forgiven in Christ. — Are we justified before God? We are justified in Christ. — Are we sanctified by God? We are sanctified in Christ. — Do we know God? We know him in Christ. — Do we have an inheritance from God? We have it in Christ. — Are we called of God? We are called in Christ.
Do you see this? All grace comes to chosen sinners through Christ, the Word who is from everlasting “with God.” There is no other way the grace of God can reach a sinner. It is the work of Christ upon the cross which has brought grace and justice together in the salvation of sinners. It is through his blood, only through the blood of the cross, that “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).
The Administrator of Grace
The Fountain of all grace is God the Father. The Medium of all grace is God the Son. And God the Holy Spirit is the Administrator of all grace (Ephesians 1:13-14). It is God the Holy Spirit who effectually applies the blood of Christ to chosen, redeemed sinners. He regenerates the dead by omnipotent power (John 6:63). He calls the redeemed with irresistible grace (Psalms 65:4; 110:3; John 16:8-11). He gives faith to the chosen by almighty operations of grace (Ephesians 2:1-9; Colossians 2:12). He seals God’s elect unto everlasting glory.
Redemption was effectually accomplished for God’s elect by Christ at Calvary; and it is effectually applied to all the redeemed by God the Holy Spirit in effectual calling (Hebrews 9:12-14). Without the sovereign, gracious operations of God the Holy Spirit in conversion, no sinner would ever become the beneficiary of grace. He takes the things of Christ and shows them to his people. He quickens those the Father chose. He reclaims those the Son redeemed. And he leads to the Good Shepherd every one of those lost sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down his life (John 10:11).
All three Persons in the Godhead are equally gracious; and all three must be equally praised. In fact, whenever the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are presented together in the Scriptures, it is always in connection with redemption, grace and salvation. I have not found an exception. Whenever one Person in the Trinity is presented alone, the result is judgment; but when all three of the Divine Persons are set before us together, as in John 1:1, the consequence is always mercy, grace, redemption and salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; Revelation 1:4-6). In other words, — The whole Being of God in all his attributes, in all his glory, in the Trinity of his Persons is set for the everlasting salvation of his elect (Jeremiah 32:41; Romans 8:28-32).
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