The Son’s Deity
When do you think the Son of God begin to exist? This question has been answered in a different way throughout the history of Christendom. But anyone’s answer to this question reveals his humble understanding or damaging misunderstanding of the person of Christ and the gospel.
The One who gave his life for our redemption was NOT a mere man or even an archangel; He is the eternal Son of God—the Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign LORD of all. Paul Washer, Discovering the Glorious Gospel p. 18
We can only have a proper view of the gospel once we have a proper view of who the Son of God is. The only hope and good news that sinful people have is at stake if the Man who died in the Calvary is not God.
The Baptist Catechism Questions 8 & 9 address the foundation of this doctrine with clear articulation and careful declaration.
Q. Are there more gods than one? A. There is but one only, the living and true God. MONOTHEISM
Deut. 6:4 Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! Jer 10:10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. The earth quakes at His wrath, And the nations cannot endure His indignation.
Q. How many persons are there in the Godhead? A. There are three persons in the godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory.
Eph 2:18 ...for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. John 15:26 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify about Me. Mt. 28:19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit...
Latin: trinitas “three in one”
“He who has tried to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind; but he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul.”
When we say that Jesus is God, we are not saying that He is also the Father or the Holy Spirit. This is not a contradiction since we are not saying that there is one GOD and three Gods at the same time. There is ONLY one God who eternally exists in three divine persons. This is one of a mystery. Jesus Christ is God in the full and complete sense of the term. This may be hard to grasp but the revealed Word of God as our ultimate presupposition and authority that clearly contains this truth teaches us to embrace it.
According to R.C. Sproul (What is the Trinity?), “We use the term mystery to refer to things we do not yet understand. We may believe a mystery is true, but we do not understand why it is true.”
The deity of the Son of God is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.
The Baptist Confession on the Trinity ends with the importance of this doctrine …the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on Him (1689 LBCF 2.3).
This is where the people of God draws true comfort and and true fellowship with God. We draw close to the Father through the Son with the help of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to understand the deity of the Son for the welfare of our soul and it will also save us from heresies-soul damning teaching– that plague the church of Christ throughout history.
He is NOT inferior to the Father – Jehovah’s Witnesses, Subordinationism
He is NOT a created being – Mormonism, Arianism, Seventh-day Adventists
He is NOT an angel – Seventh-day Adventists teach that Michael the Archangel and Jesus are one and the same.
He is NOT the Father nor the Holy Spirit – Sabellianism/Patripassianism/Modalism
He is NOT a demigod – some Jehovah’s Witnesses
ITS BIBILICAL EXPLANATION
John 1:1-4 – THE LOGOS
Logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) plural logoi, in ancient Greek philosophy and early Christian theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. – Britannica
Jesus Christ is the divine Logos. In the beginning was the Word (Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος). Here we see that the Mosaic conception of “beginning” is marked by the first creative act. St. John places himself at the same starting point of time, but before he speaks of any creation he asserts the pre-existence of the Creator (Elicott). He is before creation and is uncreated, eternal, and divine.
…and the Word was with God (καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν). This literally means face to face with God. And it refers to the Son's eternal relationship with the Father. It speaks of unity, equality and distinction. The Father and the Son are two different persons yet one God.
…and the Word was God. The biblical Greek syntax is:
“and God was the Word”
kai theós en ho lógos
We can identify that the subject is “the Word” since it has the definite article “the”. The word “God” is in predicate nominative which means that the predicate “God” has the same meaning or value as the subject of the sentence. So, the Son as to His nature is God. Simply put, He is divine in the complete and full sense of the term.
It is neither “the Word was the God”, which would mean that the Word and God the Father are one person (Sabellianism) nor “the Word was a god“, which would mean that Jesus is a lesser divine being (Arianism).
Martin Luther once said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism; the word order is against Arianism. Daniel B. Wallace writes, “Jesus Christ is God and has all the attributes that the Father has. But He is not the first person of the Trinity. All this is concisely affirmed in καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος” (Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar)
He was with God in the beginning (v. 2). This further explains the 2nd phrase in verse one. When there is none but God, the Son was there as the agent of creation.
Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. This is confirmed in Colossians 1:16 which means that the Son was NOT only in the beginning with God, but He was also doing the works of God as God. And it is so astounding that the existence of all creation depends on the Son. We won't be here without the Son of God. We owe our life and existence to Him.
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. This verse says that life itself is in the Son. In Psalm 36:9, it says that God is the fountain of life.
Philippians 2:6 – HYMN TO CHRIST AS GOD “CARMEN CHRISTI”
who, although He existed in the form of God… The original word behind "existed" denotes the continuance of a previous state or existence. John MacArthur writes that "It stresses the essences of a person's nature, that which is absolutely unalterable, inalienable, and unchangeable" (The Deity of Christ). The Greek word for form is morphe which refers to its essential character. It is an outward manifestation of inward reality. The Son did not merely seem to be God in appearance; rather, He was God in essence or nature.
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. The phrase "equality with God" is a restatement of the phrase "form of God". The word "equality" in Greek is in the plural form that seems to refer to Jesus' deity in every aspect. Again, John MacAthur in the same book says, "The term refers to exact equivalence. In becoming man, Jesus did not in any way forfeit or diminish His absolute equality with God." In the Son, all the fullness (quantity) of deity (quality) dwelled. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). In Christ's humiliation, He did not use His omnipotence and sovereign rule over all things for His own advantage. Here we see the Son's complete submission to the Father's will in accomplishing His task.
John 8:58 – THE GREAT I AM
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus begins His response to the Jews by saying “truly, truly”. By this twofold “Amen”, Jesus is declaring that the next statement that He utters is undoubtedly true and must be accepted without question. He claims preexistence and the personal Name of Israel’s One True God YHWH. The Jews rightly understood that a claim to eternality was a claim to deity and sought to stone Him for blasphemy (Ex 3:14, John 8:24).
You can read for yourself other verses that testifies to the truthfulness of the Son’s deity. The exact imprint of God’s nature and the radiance of God’s glory – Heb 1:3 – the Great God and Savior – Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1,11; God over all – Romans 9:5; The True God – 1 John 5:20; Lord and God – John 20:28
Here’s the point in all this. Why must be the One who died for the salvation of His people be God? This is clearly answered by Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s day 6, question 17:
Q: Why must He at the same time be true God?
A: He must be true God so that by the power of his divine nature he might bear in his human nature the burden of God's wrath, and might obtain for us and restore to us righteousness and life.
If Christ is not God then there is none to bear God’s infinite wrath towards the sinners. Only Christ’s infinite worth for the sinners is enough to pay their debt before the heavenly court. This is our only hope my friend. Christ must be God for GOD’S SATISFACTION AND OUR SECURITY.
Paul Washer applies this truth to heart by saying, “The assurance of our salvation and the fidelity of our gospel depend upon our reverent and wholehearted acceptance of this truth.”
SOLI DEO GLORIA!