The Dividing Line John 1:1-18
A dividing line signifies many things. As a kid I remember drawing a line with my foot in the dirt. That was a dividing line of turf (whether in sport or serious dispute). It divided me from someone else, and helped in establishing identity as well. Sometimes the dividing lines of history are much more forceful. Consider the dividing line known as the Great Wall of China. Or the most disastrous dividing line: the trench front as part of World War I. To move 100 yards might involve 100,000 or more deaths.
But there is also the dividing line of time. Consider three dates and the dividing line that each established in the lives of millions of people.
- December 7, 1941
- November 22, 1963
- September 11, 2001
Each one conjures up images and sounds of the event. Each became a dividing line in time.
In our text John raises the image of three dividing lines:
The dividing line of eternity
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was already with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2 GW)
We don’t understand eternity; we can’t fathom it, even though we write about it and talk about it. For God, who always existed, it means that the triune God (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit) existed from eternity. In fact, God will exist into eternity unchanging in the future.
Thus, the Son (“the Word”) existed from eternity. But there is a dividing line in the eternity of the past and the eternity of the future. When the Son took on human flesh (incarnation), it marked a line in eternity which changed eternity forever. Instead of the will of sinful humans and the twisted lies of Satan, the future based on that path of destruction.
Eternity was changed by the Light coming in time. “The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it” (John 1:5 GW).
The dividing line of history
The Son taking on human flesh marked another dividing line—in history. From Genesis 3, sin had plagued creation. Relationships were destroyed:
- between God and humans
- within the human (conscience)
- between humans
- between humans and creation
In history the continuing trail of sin leaves damaged people, ruined possibilities, lack of peace and harmony, and the list goes on. God’s intention was not to let sin have the final say, however. His heart’s compassion is to restore people to a relationship with Him and with others.
This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6 HCSB)
When the Son took on flesh it was for this specific purpose to fulfill God’s desire—everyone to be saved. In the flesh Jesus reveals His Father and His glory, which He shared with the Father from eternity.
The Word became flesh and took up residence* among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14-15 HCSB) (*dwelt, lived, tabernacled)
No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son—the One who is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him. (John 1:18 HCSB)
In the flesh, the Son fulfilled everything the Father desired. He provided the basis for justification of all flesh (1 John 2:2). His coming to earth was a dividing line in history. In the western world we even use his birth as the basis of our calendar. History was forever changed, far greater than December 7 or September 11.
The dividing line—in your life
John reminds us that there is a third dividing line—in the life of each person.
He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13 HCSB)
That is, the Son did not come for ephemeral truth or to satisfy philosophic speculation. Rather He came so that each person might receive what God freely gives: forgiveness of sins, restoration, a new life now, and eternal life.
The dividing line in your own personal life comes when God works upon your heart to create faith (Ephesians 2:4-5). The encounter between the righteous, holy, loving God and sinful humans result sin a life changing dividing line. As Paul writes
“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence” (2 Corinthians 5:17 GW).
Bottom line: The Son became flesh for you to restore you to a right relationship with God. That is the dividing line for you.