Sin blinds people to the need of a Savior. The knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ illuminates the grossness of sin, the rebellion against God, and the eternal damnation due every person. As that truth grips a person by the grace of God and turns them to faith and repentance Jesus gives rest to the weary soul. It all begins with Christ.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. – Matthew 11:27 (ESV)
The means of the Father’s gracious disclosure is the Son.
Jesus states the unique relationship between Himself and the heavenly Father.
First, Jesus states His equality with God (“all things have been handed over to me by my Father”).
Second, Jesus states the exclusiveness of His relationship with God. It exists only in the realm determined by the Father and the Son.
Third, Jesus states the point of access to God – access that He appoints.
Combining these truths gives us a splendid perspective of salvation. To know Christ is to know God the Father. Christ is the exact imprint of the Father’s nature, the full disclosure of Himself to mankind.
“Full-disclosure” is a popular term today. Everyone wants everyone else to fully disclose everything, but no one wants to fully disclose themselves. And so our culture is full of authentic hypocrites – people claiming to fully disclose, but who in reality disclose only what they know others want to see. God fully disclosed Himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ displayed the Father’s love, justice, righteousness, mercy, grace, power, compassion, and truth. Because of Christ we know God.
But, no one naturally actually desires this full-disclosure of God. No one seeks after God. Man wants a god that he can control, one that fits his agenda and endorses his choices and lifestyle. Thus, we reject God. And turn our own way.
Christ’s choice of those who turn to Him is not a hard dismissal of others. No, it is a gracious pulling out of people who, apart from His gracious choice, would remain damnably ignorant. The revelation or “apocalypse” of the Father to those chosen by Christ grants access to the vaults of heaven and opens the eyes to the glories of creation – glories designed by God – as the chosen one begins seeing things in their divinely intended purposes.
Only when Christ reveals God and those to whom God is revealed turn to Christ for salvation does true meaning come to life. Every person naturally lives for the things they want and like. Achieving one’s own will constitutes the highest ambition and every conceivable tactic of manipulation aims to remove all obstacles that barricade the path to “my will.” Even the revelation of truth will be dismissed if it fails to move one closer toward his or her own will. This thinking replaces the “Woe” of divine warning with one’s own message of “woe” to any who dare cross their will. The result is an abrasive person wreaking havoc on all around them.
When Christ reveals the Father into the life of such a person, the transformation is radical. The Son’s illumination reveals the closets full of skeletons and the filth of unrestrained selfish priorities. Before the blaze of a holy God, the sinner falls down and cries, “Woe is me!” He realizes that any attempt to clean up his life would be empty because of the depth to which sin penetrates his being. All that he worked for he sees as waste, as the filthy water that one throws out after scrubbing a room abandoned for years.
Turning to the Source of cleansing, God gives him a new heart. And with that heart come new purposes for life. Instead of seeing life as the opportunity to get as much as he can and be as comfortable as he can, a new principle dominates him. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
When Christ reveals the Father, you know. You do not stay the same.