Monday, December 5, 2011

Knowing the God of the Bible Part 2

Read Part 1 ... Read part 3 ...

One of the most profound, well-beloved verses of the Bible, in all the world is found in John 3:16 and I'll quote verse 17 too.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Adam walked and talked with God face to face before the fall, but after Sin, no longer could man walk and talk with God face to face for the glory of divinity to look upon was too much for them to bear. Though no man could see the face of God, God allowed some of his prophets to see some of Him, such as His hair, hands, feet, back and garments. For this reason Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a Man among men. He did this so that men, might become acquainted with their Creator and God. He who is in the “express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3) is our “one mediator between God and man.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Christ declared, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27

Christ came to teach human beings what God desires them to know about Himself. In the heavens above, in the earth, in the broad waters of the ocean, we see the handiwork of God. All created things testify to His power, His wisdom and His love. But God saw that a clearer revelation was needed to portray both, His personality and His character.

Jesus came into the world to reveal, so far as could be endured by human sight, the nature and the attributes of the invisible God, “That they might know thee.” (John 17:3) Jesus was “Immanuel”, meaning God with us. Not only to reveal God, did Jesus come, but to pay the price for our redemption. That some day we may once again have communion with the Father face to face. Jesus came so that he could mediate for us. God could not mediate for the sinner who sinned against Himself, nor could the sinner mediate for himself. Jesus who had not sinned nor been sinned against, could mediate. And He loved us so much that He was willing to. Willing to come to this sin-sick world - willing to endure the hatred of men, for our salvation.

However, not only is the love of Christ revealed in John 3:16 but it says that God gave His Son, His only begotten Son. Friends, that's how much God loves us! God was willing to give up everything He possibly could and give up everything that which was dearest to Him, even Jesus, His only begotten Son for our redemption!

Yet, so many Christians will quote that verse, and then turn around and say that Jesus wasn't really, truly the Son of God because He is another god just as God is. However, if Jesus isn't really the Son of God then, there goes the love of God and the plan of salvation all down the drain, for it is in this fact that we see the measure of God's love. It is in this fact that makes it possible for our redemption. What does the Bible really say about Jesus?

How does the Bible describe who Jesus is?

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;” Mark 1:1

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.” 2 Corinthians 1:19

Who did Jesus say that He was?

“Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” John 10:36

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:18

Jesus said that God was His Father. His claims to equality of God were based on His Sonship. This was the highest claim of Jesus.

What did the Father testify regarding Jesus?

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 3:16, 17

“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5

Who did the disciples understand Jesus to be?

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15, 16

Peter expressed the faith of the 12 disciples.

“Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33

Did Satan and his demons know who Jesus was?

“And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.” Luke 4:3

Satan knew that Jesus was and is the Son of God, yet He saught to cast doubt on that fact. He has been ever since his fall, seeking to cause all men to disbelieve that Jesus is the Son of God.

The demoniac of Gadara: “When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.” Luke 8:28

Is there anyone else referred to as the ‘son of God’?

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Luke 3:38

Adam was the son of God by creation (Genesis 5:1). As were also the angels (Job 38:7).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1

We are sons of God by adoption.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

In what special way is Jesus the Son of God?

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

Jesus is the ‘Only begotten Son’. He is not a son by creation, as was Adam or the angels; nor is He a son by adoption, like us; but He is a Begotten Son as John 3:16 tells us and elsewhere.

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

God must have had a Son before He could give Him. For how could He give up His Son if He did not have a Son to give?

In confirmation to Jesus being the literal Son of God, Jesus said:
“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way,
before His works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth;
when there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
before the hills, was I brought forth.
While as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields,
nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens, I was there:
when He set a compass upon the face of the depth:
When He established the clouds above:
when He strengthened the fountains of the deep:
When He gave to the sea his decree,
that the waters should not pass His commandment:
when He appointed the foundations of the earth:
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him:
and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before Him.”
Proverbs 8:22-30

“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” John 8:42

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” John 17:8

How was Jesus begotten of God?

I have not found where God tells us in what manner He had Jesus. All we know, all that we are told is that God really truly did have a literal Son, Jesus Christ. We are told that God is the Father of Jesus and Jesus is the Son of God. But that's all we need to know and believe.

There are many many things in this world that we don't understand and there are many things about God that we don't understand.

We don't know how...
  • God could have spoken the word and this world come into existence.
  • Or an egg and a sperm can be joined together and make a perfect human being.
  • Or how a tiny seed can become a huge tree.
  • Or how our brains work the way they do.
  • Or how the world and the stars and the moon and sun and everything in space is in such order. How they don't crash into each other...
But we see the results. And we believe. Even though we cannot understand the how's and the whys. Then why is it so difficult to believe that God had a literal Son? Why is it so hard, when we are told over and over and over and over again? Is it that difficult to believe in what God has said? Must we call God a liar just because we don't understand how He could have done something?

What did the Son of God inherit?

“Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:4

“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26

The very same life that the Father has, was given to His Son by inheritance.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:1-3

The Son of God is the express image and likeness of His Father. He is so, for He was brought forth (begotten) from the Father.

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” John 3:35

Why does God call Jesus God in Hebrews 1:8? “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

As we have seen so far, Jesus is the literal begotten Son of God, and He inherited and was given all things, even life itself. So the question again, why is Jesus called God? Because Jesus is the Son of God therefore He is God.

For example, King David had a son named Solomon. Was Solomon any less human than David was? Are you less human than your parents are? Aren't you both equal in nature? Has a horse ever begotten a lion, or a cat, a dog, or a bird, a serpent etc? Has a human ever given birth to anything other than another human being? No!

In the same manner, Jesus was equal in nature to His Father because He is of the same substance as His Father. Jesus is fully divine, fully as much God as God is in nature, because He is the Son of God. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” Philippians 2:6 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Colossians 2:9; 1:19

Why did the Jews kill Christ?

“But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.” Matthew 26:63-65

Jesus’ answer “thou hast said” means ‘you have said right/correctly’

“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” John 19:7

They refused to accept Jesus was indeed the Son of God. They knew that such a claim made Him equal with God. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33
Jesus being the Son of God makes Him equal with God, making Him fully divine.

Does that make Jesus worthy of our praise and worship?

“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Hebrews 1:6

Can we truly honor God if we don't honor the Son?

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:23

We honour and worship the Son as much as the Father. They are both of the same divine nature. We pay supreme honour to God when we honour and reverence His Son. If Jesus was not the Son of God and we honor and worship the Son, would we be giving the honor and worship to God that He deserves? No, we couldn't!

As much as Jesus is divine, and God by nature, He is not the only true, Almighty, Supreme God of the Bible, He is the Son of God. In the same manner that you are no less human as your father is yet you will never be your father, and you will never be able to take your father's role or authority as father over your father, so it is with Jesus and His Father. We already saw in part 1 of our study how Jesus has a God.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17

We also see Jesus as a Son, is in submission to His Father's will and authority.
“I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him. John 8:26

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.John 8:28-29

Jesus will be in submission throughout all eternity.

“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28

What is the difference between 'created' and 'begotten'?

The Bible gives us a good examples of the difference between the two.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3

To create is to make something out of nothing. The first chapter of the Bible is a good illustration of things being created; things that were made out of nothing. God did not have to use pre-existing matter to make new things.

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Genesis 3:16

'Begotten', on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is when something comes out of another thing existing before it. Any begotten thing has to have a source from which it stems. This source is not nothing. Anyone and anything who is begotten has come out of a begetter, therefore showing that there are two, involved in the process. It is an obvious fact that the begetter is the source of the begotten thing, of the same substance and nature. A human doesn't create a human for it can not, it begets a human – someone that is of the same substance/nature. A dog does not create another dog, it begets a dog.

We saw earlier how Jesus was begotten of God, and never once said to be created. Satan was created of God and never said to be the begotten of God.

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:13, 15

How important is it for us to understand that Jesus is the real and literal Son of God?

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” 1 John 2:22, 23

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10, 11

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36

Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God. He was begotten of the Father in the ages of eternity past. He was not created out of nothing, as Lucifer was, but was brought forth from the substance of His Father. This is the evidence and proof of His divinity and deity. This was His consistent teaching while here on earth, and this is the testimony of the Scriptures.

The first thing that Paul preached was that Jesus was the Son of God.
“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Acts 9:20

The Gospels were written that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31

The condition for baptism was believing that Jesus is the Son of God
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37

What truth is the foundation of the Christian church?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [the truth that Christ is the Son of the living God] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:16-18

What important question did Jesus ask the blind man?

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” John 9:35-38

Jesus Christ, being the Son of God is the Gospel.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19

What great promise is given to those who believe?

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

If there is only one true God, the Father, who has a begotten Son, Jesus Christ, then what of the Holy Spirit? We'll cover that in the next study.

There is so much we could discuss and study on Jesus. We could talk and study about the faith of Jesus. His life. His priestly ministry. Him as mediator. As our King. And so much more. Those are all good topics to study, but as hymnwriter Elizabeth R. Charles stated:
"It is the truth which is assailed in any age which tests our fidelity. It is to confess we are called, not merely to profess. If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."
This topic on God and on Jesus being the Son of God, is one of the most important topics and one of the truths, if not the one truth most attacked by Satan.

Read Part 1
Read part 3

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