MAN KNOWING GOD THROUGH CHRIST
"Show us the Father, and it suffices us," John 14:8
The restoration of man to God necessarily issues in the restoration to man of the knowledge of God. The original purpose of man's creation was that he should be a being capable of the consciousness of, and in communion, and cooperation with God Himself. To all this he is restored in Christ. As the vital union between God and man is created and maintained by the Spirit, so also is the work of revealing God to man that of the Spirit. He "the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God;" and these
"Things which eye saw not and ear heard not,
And which entered not into the heart of man,
Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love Him;" that is, the things of the love of God in Christ, which man in clouded intelligence was ignorant of, “unto us God revealed them through the Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:9-10) Thus while in Christ God has provided Himself with a Medium of Self-Revelation, Christ is revealed to man by the Spirit. This scheme of revelation must be understood, if there is to be a true appreciation of the revelation itself. The whole perfect system is revealed in the last discourses of Jesus with His disciples, prior to His Passion. When Philip, speaking in larger degree as the mouthpiece of fallen humanity than he knew, said to Jesus "Show us the Father, and it suffices us," (John 14:8) there was neither doubt nor uncertainty in the Lord's reply. He distinctly declared,
"He that hath seen Me,
hath seen the Father." (John 14:9)
This declaration is in perfect harmony with the inspired statement of John that "no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18) There is no way by which man can know God except through Christ. All attempts on the part of man, to formulate a conception of God, or declare a doctrine concerning Him, are futile, except as the conception and doctrine are based upon, and perpetually true to, the Revelation He has made of Himself in Christ.
Recognizing man's inability to know God apart from Himself, the Lord also recognizes that men were unable to understand the revelation of God in Himself, unless it should be explained by that Spirit Who "searches all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:10) He therefore immediately followed Philip's question with THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT, and such teaching concerning Him, as should fit the disciples for His coming and work. From the body of that final teaching, three main statements will be sufficient, as giving the teaching of Christ under this head.
1st. "The Holy Spirit—He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." (John 14:26)
2nd. "The Spirit of truth—He shall bear witness of Me." (John 15:26)
3rd. "The Spirit of truth—He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you." (John 16:13-14)
These words clearly demonstrate two things.
1st, that the work of the Spirit is essentially that of revealing Christ to those in whom He has taken up His abode; and
2nd that man can only know Christ through the Spirit's illumination, as man can only know God through Christ's revelation. By the testimony of 2 or more facts are confirmed (John 8:17).
Any Christology which is not the direct issue of the Spirit's teaching, is false; for the mystery of His Person, and the meaning of His work, are alike inscrutable to the mind of man in its darkened condition, and can only be apprehended as the light of God falls upon them. Through Christ, the Spirit of truth indwells the believer, and through the Spirit of truth therefore Christ becomes the indwelling One; and as He by the Spirit is made known to man, man is restored to the knowledge of God, which he had lost through sin.
Man's knowledge of God through Christ by the Spirit may be contemplated therefore by considering;
1st, the unveiling of Christ by the Spirit;
2nd, the apprehension of Christ through the Spirit;
3rd, the consequent knowledge of God.