The Manifestation of the Life

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
We are told that “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” or “the wicked one” (1 John 5:1919And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19) JND); and that we “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all [Jews as well as Gentiles] had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh... and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2-32Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:2‑3)). What a solemn statement as to the condition of man in the world! The whole world lying in the wicked one! Children of disobedience, energized by the prince of this world! By nature the children of wrath! How terrible, and how absolutely hopeless the condition!
Yet this is the condition of the “first man” as described by the Spirit of God, and that too, after four thousand years of testing, with every appliance for his recovery. But there was no recovery for the first man. The ruin was complete and irretrievable. He had fallen under the power of Satan, and his life was blighted and utterly corrupted by sin. Without law, he was lawless; under law, a transgressor; in the presence of grace, in God come down to earth, revealed in the Son, he was a God-hater. Such was the terrible condition of man, in whom the fountain of life was corrupted and ruined.
Blessed be God, another life has been manifested in the very scene where the first was destroyed; a life that subsisted in the Son with the Father from all eternity, and was manifested in Him down here on earth before the eyes of men. “The Word was made 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 1:1414And the Word was made 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)). This was a new beginning for man in grace, and the revelation of a new life for man, a life that was before all worlds, and before all creatures, and a life that Satan could not touch, nor sin corrupt. This new beginning is life revealed in the Person of the eternal Son in manhood down here, and so the Apostle says, in his first epistle, “That which was from the beginning.” It is not the same as “In the beginning” in John’s Gospel, where the eternity of the Word is the subject. “In the beginning was the Word.” The Word existed in the beginning, did not begin to exist then, but existed, and moreover, spoke into existence everything that began to exist.
In the epistle of John, “the beginning” is the beginning of the manifestation of eternal life on earth, in the Person of God’s Son become man. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men here below, and through the veil of flesh His glory shone out before their eyes. They saw Him as an only begotten with a Father, and the fullness of grace and truth was there for man. What a wonderful beginning! He was the “Word of life.” “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:44In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)). “Light” and “life,” “grace and truth,” shone out in Him amid “the darkness” of this world. It was a wonderful display! It was God Himself come down into all the misery and wretchedness of man — God manifested in the flesh. All that God is in light and love, truth and holiness, righteousness and grace, shone out. “The life was manifested,” and in this life there was the display of all that God could be in eternal blessing, for His lost and guilty creatures. The life was manifested in the Person of the eternal Son become man, and dwelling among men, the light of life shone out amid the darkness, and shone for every man, not for Jews only, but for Gentiles as well. It was the brightness of heaven itself let down into the darkness here, and shining for all, just as the sun, the mighty orb of the day, shines for the whole world.
I repeat, it was in the Person of the Son; and when men saw Him, they saw the life. Faith saw the life and rejoiced in its light. The apostles were attracted to its glory, shining out in Him, and became the witnesses to others of that wondrous life. In every word He spoke, in every movement, in every act, they saw the life shining out in its divine nature and character. They heard it, they saw it, they gazed on it, they handled it with their hands. The Apostle who wrote this epistle, could say, “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:22(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 John 1:2)).
Yes, they saw the life, and followed its pathway of light through this dark world. They witnessed its patient ministry of love and mercy, in ten thousand ways relieving from the misery and wretchedness sin had brought in. Then, last of all, and greatest of all, they saw it meeting man’s utmost need in that terrible cross, where all that God is in majesty and lowliness, shone out in the judgment of sin; and all that He is in love and grace shone out in righteous blessing for man. The resurrection witnessed eternal victory over sin and over all the power of Satan.
The clouds of darkness were now broken; God had come out, and the clear light was now shining out in all the glory of grace, witnessing unhindered and unlimited blessing for man. The apostles saw, believed, and possessed. They were made partakers of the life, and brought into fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. The revelation of this life was a revelation of blessing, to them and all who receive their word, bringing into fellowship which lifts the soul above the circumstances of misery and sorrow through which we pass in this world. They saw the life displayed, and not only were quickened with it, but also drank in its spirit and character, as they beheld its outgoings in the blessed Son of God. Partakers of the divine nature, they were also filled with common thoughts, desires, delights, and joys with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ: and this is an established and known relationship, of which Christ is the measure and character. Who can estimate the blessedness of this?
And now the Apostle says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” v. 3. The apostles saw, and have borne witness; we have believed, and enter into fellowship with them. What more could we ask on this side of the glory, than to be brought into a fellowship like this? How unspeakably great the blessing!... Surely this is enough to satisfy and fill the soul. It is by faith we enter into it now; but it is what we shall have in glory.... We are not there yet; but it is all unfolded to us, and faith drinks it in, and the heart and affections are molded by it, and find their home there.
O blessed, precious Savior, how great Thy love to me!
Thou for me, the guilty sinner, hast died upon the tree –
Hast died upon the tree, that I may dwell with Thee:
O my blessed Lord and Savior, Thou art all in all to me.
Thy beauty, O my Savior, is far beyond compare;
Thou art chiefest of ten thousand, than sons of men more fair,
Than sons of men more fair; Thy beauty now I see:
O my blessed Lord and Savior, Thou art all in all to me.
Soon Thou wilt come, my Savior, and take me where Thou art,
To gaze upon Thy glory, and never from Thee part;
And never from Thee part, Thine, ever Thine to be:
O my blessed Lord and Savior, Thou art all in all to me.