God the Son
This week we move on to the second section in Article II, concerning God the Son. If ever there is a need for doctrine in the Christian faith, it is at this very point. The faith we call Christianity finds its name from the very one who is its hub, its keystone, its very heart; from Christ Jesus our Lord and our Savior. It is a popular saying among many Christian circles, that doctrine divides. That is the main reason so many denominations, especially the newer ones, are very light on doctrine; they hate confrontation and division. They have adopted that famous line from Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?” Yes, doctrine does divide. That is what it is intended to do. It divides true Christianity from false Christianity, or those belief systems that call themselves Christian. Many groups believe in Jesus, but just as we spoke a couple of weeks ago about the need to define which God, we also need to define which Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons believe in Jesus, but they do not believe that He is God. Islam revers Jesus as one of the great prophets, but not as the only begotten Son of God.
Controversies over who Jesus is have raged ever since He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus asked His disciples “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27) Battling heresy on a number of fronts, the Church nailed down a doctrine of the deity of Christ at the council of Nicea in 325, and the doctrine concerning the dual nature of Jesus at the council of Chalcedon in 451. The so-called Higher criticism in the 19th century, and the Jesus Seminar in the 20th century attempted to take away from, to diminish our Lord and Savior by discrediting the inerrancy of Scripture. Even in our day, Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code has sent shock waves throughout our culture, attempting to cast doubt on the reliable nature of the New Testament concerning the person and work of Jesus.
I do not intend to go line by line through Section B, as I have in the other lessons, because the paragraph is pretty straightforward, reading very much like the historic confessions would read on God the Son. The Scripture cited with this section more than adequately cover the material found therein. The paragraph covers both the person and the work of Jesus Christ. In theological terms this is a division between Christology and Soteriology, or basically a division between who Jesus was, and what Jesus did. In a nutshell, this is the gospel.
Article II, Section B. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6- 21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7- 9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
Christology: Who is Jesus?
Jesus is in a class by Himself. Look what the Section B says about who Jesus is:
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. . . .taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind . . . . fully God, fully man, . . .
In these statements we see that Jesus was:
- Eternal God (John 5:18; 8:58) and the Son of God (John 10:36), and yet, at the same time. . .
- Real flesh and blood, not just in appearance, but in His very nature (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14), and also. . .
- Jesus was not one part God and one part man, but fully God (Colossians 1:19), fully man (John 1:14; Philippians 2:7,8).
Jesus must be these things in order to be able to do what it is He came to do.
Soteriology: What did Jesus do?
This is so much more relevant a question than the trite quip “What would Jesus Do?”. It is far more important to know, understand, and embrace with one’s whole being what Jesus did do. Let’s look at the remainder of Section B:
Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, . . . yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, . . . in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
There are three things that Jesus did while on earth that are essential to salvation:
- Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus obeyed completely and perfectly God’s holy law. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves: satisfy the demands of God’s holy law.
- Jesus died the death of a criminal. He died in such way that signified that He was cursed of God (Galatians 3:13). He bore the wrath of God on the cross in our place.
- Three days later Jesus Christ rose from the dead (Acts 2:24). This signified God’s satisfaction, that the price paid was sufficient to meet God’s righteous justice.
It is all summed up in 2 Corinthians 5:21: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. What a great transaction: our sins laid on Him on the cross; His righteousness (from those thirty-some-odd years of perfect obedience) laid on us who believe.
This section on God the Son goes on to finish the story of Christ’s work after His life, death/burial, and resurrection:
- Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9).
- Jesus is our One Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), effecting reconciliation between us and God (Ephesians 2:16).
- Jesus will come again some day to judge the world and consummate His redemptive work (2 Timothy 4:1).
- Jesus dwells in every believer (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There are so many other particulars that Jesus did that relate to this central message of the gospel: He crushed the head of the serpent, conquered death and hell, established His church, broken our bondage to slavery, vanquished our fear of death, and on the list goes; but all of these are subsumed under the topic of what Christ did in His person and work. The material found in this one paragraph on the doctrine of God the Son is enough to keep us occupied, and wondering, and praising God for the rest of our lives. Let us begin to do so.
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #1 (An Introduction)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #2 (On the Doctrine of Scripture)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #3 (On the Doctrine of God)
Baptist, What Do You Believe? #4 (On God the Father)