The Eternal Christ
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:1-5)
John’s Gospel is the Gospel of the eternal Christ. These five verses set before us the matchless sublimity of our Lord Jesus Christ in his eternal being and character. We do not have to guess what John’s purpose was in writing. He tells us plainly in the last verse of chapter 20, — “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” His great aim in these 21 chapters is not merely to inform us of historical facts relating to the life of Christ on this earth. John’s purpose is to show us the deity and eternal Godhead of that man who is known the world over as “Jesus of Nazareth,” that we might trust him as God our Savior, and obtain eternal life in him.
The Creator of Time
Here the Apostle shows us our Savior’s relationship to time, to the Godhead, to creation and to men. Our Lord Jesus is not a mere creature of time. He is before all time and the Creator of time. Christ is eternal. John tells us “in the beginning was the Word.” He did not begin to exist when the heavens and the earth were made. He was with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5), possessing from the beginning all the glory that he now possesses as our successful Surety. He was already existing when matter was first created and before time began. He is “before all things” (Colossians 1:17). He is eternal.
Our Eternal Savior
Christ, the Word, was continually in being with God, in perfect union, communion and being with God the Father and God the Spirit. In time he came to be with man; but in the beginning he was with God. The Lord Jesus Christ is God the eternal Son. He is our eternal Surety, “the Surety of a better covenant.” He is our eternal Sacrifice, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The Lord Jesus is our eternal Shepherd and our eternal Savior (2 Timothy 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:3-6).
An Eternal Union
I want you to get the sweet honey found in the honeycomb of our Savior’s glorious eternality. For as long as he has had being, we have had being in him. As soon as he stood forth in the beginning with God, as our Head and
Representative, we stood forth in him, as one with him in an eternal union of grace. We were in him as his seed (Psalm 22:30-31), and in him as his body (Psalm 139:14-18).
God’s elect are the members of Christ’s mystical body, the church, from everlasting. All the members of his body were written in his book, the book of life, when as yet, as regards their actual physical existence, there was none of them. We were given to him in eternity, when he was constituted our covenant Head in the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. Thus, we became, in prospect of our Savior’s incarnation, “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” How tenderly our blessed Redeemer reminded his Father of these covenant transactions, when he said in his great intercessory prayer, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” (John 17:9-10).
Being thus given to Christ, and constituted members of his mystical body, we can no more perish than Christ himself. He is our Head. He possesses all power. He is full of love. And he is all wisdom, replete with all mercy, grace and truth. He will never allow any of his members to fall out of his body, and be lost, and be separated from him forever. Will any man willingly allow his eye, or his hand, or his foot, or even the tip of his little finger to be cut off? If any member of our body perishes, if we lose an arm or a leg, it is because we have no ability to prevent it. But all power in heaven and in earth belongs to Christ. Therefore, not one member of his mystical body, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all,” can perish.
We do not become members of his body when we believe. We were members of his body when he was “in the beginning with God.” When we are quickened and made alive unto God savingly and experimentally, by the regenerating work of the Spirit, we are brought into the realization of this blessed eternal union with Christ; but the union was from everlasting.
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