Christ at the Center: The Fulcrum of Biblical Covenantalism –
The Role of Jesus, the Word, as the Ground of Meaning and Significance
As I see it, the identification of Jesus Christ with the New Covenant which actualizes the other eternal covenants, not only secures the promissory stipulations within those covenants, it ensures the vertical personal relationships that have already been established under the covenants.
I want to make sure that we have established a very strong connection in our minds between the Bible, the world, and the personal Savior who is our Lord. Just as the Bible is His, this world is His and we are His; and all these things exist, in the first place, for Him. He is the judge of all of His creation and He shall rule over all of the creation. This world is of Him, for Him, by Him, to Him. If we’re going to have a scriptural doctrine of the Creation it will bear some correlation to Jesus Christ. I don’t say we must “find Him in it,” only that we must relate it to Him.
The same applies then to the doctrine of the Revelation of God. Here the danger of abstraction becomes a very real one. The teaching about the Bible has got to be in accord with the worldview which springs from the Bible. And, as we hope we have begun to make clear, a world and life view that is a truly biblical one will have to be centered in the Person of Christ.
Christ as the Logos
Even a superficial reading of John’s opening verses sets before the reader the absoluteness of his Logos (Greek for word, speech, narrative, account, but as a concept not just a label). The Greeks knew the world had a structure, and they located it in their logos. The Hebrews knew the heavens were made by “the word of God” (Psa. 33:6). John knew the Master he followed for a few short years was this “Word,” was this Logos. Vos writes,
By universal consent the furnishing of life and light to the world belongs to the very essence of the Logos task. – Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation, 63
The Word/Logos concept there is not being used as a way of speaking about impersonal order in the universe. John wishes to put Christ in the right light so that the momentous story he will tell can be better appreciated.
A. The Divine Logos is part of the Godhead:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. – John 1:1-2.
B. As a member of the Triune Godhead He is the Instrument or the Agent of creation and providence:
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. – John 1:3.
C. Since all things were made by Him it is scarcely surprising that John tells us that the Logos is the light and life of men:
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. – John 1:4.
He reveals God, not by simply pointing to general revelation alone, or even to the Law and the Prophets through whom God spoke, but supremely by means of His own incarnation:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. – John 1:14-18
Furthermore it is by the Logos, Jesus of Nazareth, that salvation is offered to sinners and hope shines brightly on our horizon. There can be little doubt that what John is doing at the beginning of his Gospel is putting forth a Christian worldview which finds its core in Christ. As David MacLeod expresses it,
Today…a wide variety of worldviews exist, and John’s prologue is an antidote to all of them. The Gospel of John presents a true understanding of who Jesus is, so that readers may have the proper framework with which to interpret life and reality – that they may know God and walk in the light of His truth. – David J. MacLeod, “The Eternality and Deity of the Word: John 1:1-2,” – Bibliotheca Sacra, 160 (Jan-March), 2003
As the Word made flesh Jesus Christ. the Logos of God can be seen as the Great Explanation or Answer to man’s questions about his world, his place in the world, and to his destiny.
The flip side of this truth is that without Christ the world is a hollow which can be filled with values to suit; all of them entirely inconsequential in the great scheme of things.
Or as Carl Henry put it,
In a day when modern wisdom considers the cosmos devoid of teleology and derives man from purposeless nature, the reality of the self-revealed Logos towers anew as the only intelligible ground and sustaining source of meaning, value and purpose. – Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, 3.171
This is the importance of seeing that the revelation of God is the answer to man’s big questions: Who am I? What am I here for? What is the meaning of this life? What is the connection between me and the world around me? Where am I going? Where did I come from? What is wrong with the world? What is wrong with me?
All of these great basic questions are wrapped up in the revealing Logos. As we are reflective beings, living in a troubled world, we need an explanation for the fallenness and evil that we see, not only all around us, but even within ourselves. But we need to see it from the right place. That place is at the foot of the Cross of Christ. But it is at the foot of the Cross of John’s Christ. John, as the other evangelists in their own ways, tells us all at once in his Prologue about the greatness and the littleness that is humanity. Our Creator became one of us and we responded to Him with a death sentence.
The Resurrection of Christ contains within it the promise of setting all things right. So as followers of the Risen Lord Christ we must insist upon Him being the focus of our worldview. For the Christian the true perspective on life is not manufactured, it is revealed by the Maker.
So revelation is primary – things start with God not with man. This was the great mistake of the Enlightenment, and in fact it continues to be a great mistake of men generally, that they start with man instead of starting outside of man, with man’s Creator. When we start with man, we end up with man, and with all the questions which can’t be answered by us but which must be answered if we are to know what we truly are. God, who is the Creator and the Interpreter of all things, He is the measure of all things.
Parts of this material have appeared previously.