[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Dual Nature of our Lord's Sonship


by Matthew

Consistent Free Gracers argue that believing on Jesus for eternal life is quivalent to believing that Jesus is Christ and Son of God and does not necessarilly entail affirming His deity. This position has been bitterly attacked by many.

Lou Martuneac and others have accused Consistent Free Gracers such as myself of caring little for truth. If that were the case, one might expect that we would make our rhetorical case more simple and join those who deny the Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ. While I am sure there are some Consistent Free Gracers who do deny the Eternal Sonship of our Lord, I believe that this doctrine is very important. Nevertheless, while the Bible affirms that Jesus is eternally in a relationship of Sonship to the Father, He is also entered into a new position of Sonship by virtue of the incarnation. Thus, the messianic title 'Son of God' in most cases refers more to our Lord's humanity than to His deity.

Let us compare the title 'Son of God' with the title 'Lord.' A lot of Christians in their rightful eagerness to defend the deity of our Lord make the mistake of exagerrating the importance of the title Lord or kyrios. They make the mistake of assuming that because the term Lord sometimes refers to deity, it always does so. However, the term in some contexts may simply mean a 'ruler' or 'master.'
The term 'Lord' also has a messianic usage. As we see in Acts 2:

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.


Here Jesus is said to have been 'made Lord.' Although Jesus Christ is eternally the Lord God, as a man, He was appointed as Lord, meaning that He is made God's representative of mankind and heir of all things.

Likewise, although the term Son of God is owned by the one who is eternally the Son of God the Father, it is also a messianic term that indicates His status as man.

Adam was said to be the 'Son of God' (Luke 3:38). Jesus is the last Adam, the new representative head of humanity who fulfills God's gift of heirship to Adam. Likewise, Israel as a nation is said to be the son of God (Hosea 11:1). Jesus Christ is the representative of Israel and the heir to God's promises to that nation. Thus, Christ's sonship embraces that same aspect.

It is true that the term 'son of God' is rarely applied to the messiah in first century Jewish literature. Nevertheless, the use of it by some New Testament characters (Martha, Nathaniel) would support the contention that this usage was not unknown.

There are certain passages where the use of Son of God as a messianic term is clear:

Luke 1:32
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:


Here being the Son of God is identified with being heir to the throne of David. This is clearly shown in 1 Chronicles 28:

5 and of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.

6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.


Nathaniel also makes this identification:

John
49 Nathan'a-el answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.


Thus, we must conclude that believing in Jesus as Son of God is not necessarilly a matter of affirming our Lord's deity. So what does it mean to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?

To believe in Christ is to trust in Him. It is to believe that He is able to accomplish that work to which the Father has entrusted Him, namely to give life to lost sinners. We see this in John 11:

John 11
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.


To believe that Jesus guarantees everlasting life is to join with Martha in affirming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

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8 Comments:

  • Excellent Matthew!!!!

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 4:03:00 PM  

  • Yes Matthew I believe many people get caught up in their man-made systems with there checklist theology and it blinds them to the simplicity that is In Christ! Here are a couple of examples that would not fit mans systems of thinking.

    Matthew 5:17,18 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. “For assuredly, I say to you , till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

    Jesus said “DO NOT THINK THAT I CAME TO DESTROY THE LAW! Why did he say that? Many must have thought Jesus was an ANTINOMIAN because He was offering heaven as a gift without the condition of keeping the law.

    And here is another surprise!

    In this context the Jews want Jesus to plainly tell them if He is the Christ or not and when Jesus tells them “I and My Father are one.” Then they pick up stones to stone Him for blasphemy being a man He was making Himself out to be God. But instead of Jesus defending His Deity and proving by scripture that He is God. Jesus proves that He has the right to be called “Son of God” because of His humanity. Other words He is saying I did not blaspheme by saying I was God, because I did not say I was God, but that I am the Son of God.

    John 10:22-36 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do you keep us in doubt? If You are the CHRIST, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. “I and My Father are One.” Then the Jews took up stones AGAIN to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for BLASPHEMY, and because You, being a MAN, make Yourself GOD.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said. “You are gods” ‘? “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; “but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

    Notice the first time they picked up stones to stone Him in John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
    At this time Jesus hid Himself and did not try to defend His Deity. But the second time they try to stone Him Jesus defends His humanity as the “Son of God” and does not try to defend His Deity. I believe that is because that was the way one had to believe in Jesus as the Christ the One who guarantees your eternal destiny. The Christ in the sense that He is the Messiah from the Seed of David the King of Israel.
    Blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 6:06:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your comments, Alvin.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, January 07, 2008 12:06:00 AM  

  • Funny how Rose will get 64 comments on a post and I will get 3. I guess that shows that Rose is a better blogger than I am.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, January 07, 2008 11:19:00 AM  

  • Matt,

    Good study, and timely. I wish you would have expanded it much greater though.

    You wrote:
    ----------
    A lot of Christians in their rightful eagerness to defend the deity of our Lord make the mistake of exagerrating the importance of the title Lord or kyrios
    ----------

    These people do alot more than just that! They are eager to prove alot of things that there really is no evidence for.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, January 07, 2008 1:22:00 PM  

  • I dare say they are, Antonio.

    Thanks.

    If there are some things that I might have said, perhaps you could bring them up in another post?

    I am not sure what else I would have written in this post.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matt

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, January 07, 2008 1:26:00 PM  

  • Maybe you will get 64 comments on this, Matthew.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, January 07, 2008 5:00:00 PM  

  • I doubt it, Rose.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 08, 2008 12:36:00 AM  

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