The Declaration of God
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
IT IS A STUNNING FACT THAT GOD HAS MADE HIMSELF KNOWN TO THE HUMAN RACE THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
Having been created in His image, we have a desperate, undeniable need to know the God who is our origin. We may not recognize this need for what it is, but it is there nonetheless. Without the knowledge of our Creator, we die. But sin cuts us off from Him and sets up the direst of predicaments: we must have the knowledge of God or perish, but this is the very knowledge which is impossible for us, in sin and on our own, to acquire.
Yet we were not left in our helpless state; God deigned to move toward us and make Himself known, even in our sinful condition. He has disclosed that which we could never have discovered on our own. “No one could ever have found God; he gave himself away” (Meister Eckhart).
When God disclosed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, that was the completion of a process begun long before. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . . [who is] the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:1-3). “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).
Jesus Christ is God “explained” in human terms. He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). When Philip asked to be shown the Father, Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9). As Augustine of Hippo wrote long ago, “Christ as God is the fatherland where we are going. Christ as man is the way by which we go.”
What if we neglect this declaration of Himself that God has made? Then we die. Ultimately, there is no alternative. Jesus could not have said it more clearly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
“Christ is the aperture through which the immensity and magnificence of God can be seen” (J. B. Phillips).