Question 33 & 34
These questions are concerned with the identity of the Second Person of the Trinity. Who is this Jesus? Jesus Himself asked that question of His disciples (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-22).
Peter’s response – You are the Christ (Mark); the Christ of God (Luke); You are the Christ,the Son of the living God (Matthew).
Identity is essential – Acts 4:1-12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This doctrine in its specifics is that on which all false religions and cults founder – see 1 Corinthians 1:23. The doctrines of who Jesus truly is and what He has accomplished are under fierce assault; we must know the truth so as not to be deceived and so as to guide others properly.
He was divine but not deity (JW’s); he was one of the great prophets (Islam); he was a good teacher (endless list); two out of three people in the world (minimum) have a distorted view of Jesus. That must change or they will perish.
Paul gives a fuller treatment of Christ in concise form in two places: Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:15-20
To have a proper belief about Jesus, what must we believe? We must believe in His deity and position as the only-begotten Son of God; that as He is the Son of God by nature, so we are sons of God by gracious adoption.
As the unique Son of God, Jesus “shares” the attributes of God, His Father; as adopted sons of God we share the benefits of sonship from God, our Father.
B. B. Warfield The language in which Our Lord’s intrinsic Deity is expressed, for example, is probably as strong as any that could be devised. Paul does not say simply, “He was God.” He says, “He was in the form of God,” employing a turn of speech which throws emphasis upon Our Lord’s possession of the specific quality of God. “Form” is a term which expresses the sum of those characterizing qualities which make a thing the precise thing that it is. Thus, the “form” of a sword (in this case mostly matters of external configuration) is all that makes a given piece of metal specifically a sword, rather than, say, a spade. And “the form of God” is the sum of the characteristics which make the being we call “God,” specifically God, rather than some other being – an angel, say, or a man. When our Lord is said to be “in the form of God,” therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God. Paul chooses this manner of expressing himself here instinctively, because, in adducing [advance evidence for] Our Lord as our example of self-abnegation [renunciation of your own interests in favor of the interests of others], his mind is naturally resting, not on the bare fact that He is God, but on the richness and fullness of His being as God.
Jesus is the Son of God according to His divine nature because He has been the Son for all eternity, the natural Son, always in that relationship to His Father. He is the Son of God according to His human nature, begotten of the virgin by God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. His existence as the Son has no beginning – see John 1:1; it was only the Incarnation that had a beginning, His taking on the form of a servant by becoming the God-Man.
We are sons of God by adoption, not by nature or essence, not because we share any of the incommunicable attributes of God (self-existence, holiness, immutability, infinity, eternality, omni’s). We do share in Jesus’ inheritance; He as the firstborn (positionally) receives a “double portion” but we as true children of God also receive a portion of the inheritance. Romans 8:14-17
John Gill He makes them heirs; they are not so by nature, nor do they become such by the works of the law; but God in his rich grace adopts them into his family, begets them again, and freely bestows the inheritance on them: they are heirs of himself; he not only makes them his heirs, but he himself is their inheritance and portion; they are heirs of all things which are his; they share in his love, grace, and mercy; and his wisdom, power, truth, and faithfulness, and indeed, every perfection of his are engaged on their side, and in their favour; all things are theirs who have God to be their God and Father; the Gospel and the ministers of it are theirs; the world and the things of it, life and death, things present and things to come; heaven and happiness, which go by the names of glory, riches of glory, kingdom, eternal life and salvation, are all represented as things to be inherited by the saints.
There’s a bogus idea that’s been floating around for a lot of years now and is directed mainly at “carnal Christians”. It goes something like this: OK, you’ve made Jesus your Savior, now you need to make Him Lord of your life.
The first thing wrong is the order of things, especially precedence, and who’s really in charge. If salvation is of God, then He decides to save us, not the other way round. The same is true for the lord/servant relationship; the servant doesn’t usually decide if there is a relationship or the terms of such. Jesus pretty well defined things when He said “deny self, take up your cross, follow me” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23).
Ursinus To be Lord is to have a right over some thing or person. Christ, therefore, is our Lord and the Lord of all, 1. Because he has dominion over us, and over all things; 2. Because all things are subject to him, and we are bound to serve him, in body and soul, that he may be glorified in us.
He has the right of ownership – He created all things, He re-created us; that means He has the right to do with us as He wishes. He has the right of rulership; that means He has the right to set the rules, direct our behavior, place expectations on us.
The question, then, is not if He is Lord of our life, but if we submit to His Lordship. Do we follow His lead, obey His commands, meet His expectations?
Ursinus When we, therefore, say that we believe in our Lord, we believe, 1. That the Son of God is the Creator of all things, and therefore has a right over all creatures. 2. That he is in a peculiar manner constituted the Lord, the defender and preserver of the church, because he has redeemed it with his blood. 3. That the Son of God is also my Lord, that I am one of his subjects, that I am redeemed by his blood and continually preserved by him, so that I am bound to be grateful to him. And, further, that his dominion over me is such as is calculated to promote my good, and that I am saved by him as a most precious possession, a peculiar purchase, secured at the greatest expense.