The Incarnation - The Deity of Christ
Sunday, May 20, 2012 -
Last week we concluded our study of the covenants looking at the New Covenant of Redemption, mediated by Christ Himself (Hebrews 9:15). Because the validity of the covenant depends upon the character of the one making it, it is natural that we now study the Person of Christ. This week we consider His deity (the "Son of God"). Next week we will study His humanity (the "Son of Man"). Both are essential for the New Covenant to be valid.
CHRIST AS THE "SON OF GOD"
1) THE SUPERNATURAL INTRODUCTION AND DECLARATION - The early chapters of Luke unfold with resounding witness that Jesus is the "Son of God". See the angel speaking to Mary (1:35), the words of the Father at Jesus' baptism (3:22), and the fearful stammer of demons themselves (4:41). In all realms of the supernatural the deity and power of Jesus shines forth.
2) THE DECLARATION OF JESUS HIMSELF - The most common title Jesus used for Himself is the "Son of Man" (for reasons we will study next week). There are, however, several passages where Jesus clearly calls Himself the "Son of God"
John 5:25 - “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
John 10:36 - “....do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?”
John 11:4 - “But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
3) THE DECLARATION OF OTHERS - Here references overflow in number. We will consider only a sample: John the Baptist - John 1:34 - “....and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." Nathanael - John 1:49 - “Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’” The disciples in their fishing boat - Matthew 14:33 - “And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’" Simon Peter - Matthew 16:15-17 - “He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” The Apostle Paul - Acts 9:20 - “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’"
4) THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST'S WORKS - Jesus clearly felt that His works among men, taken honestly at face value, were proof enough that He was the divine Son of God - John 5:36 - “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.”
One could talk about how He healed the sick, exercised authority over the laws of nature - Matthew 14:33 - “And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God", or freely offered the forgiveness of sins - Mark 2:5-7 - “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
But the clearest, universal sign of the deity of Christ is His Resurrection from the dead - Romans 1:4 - “....and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord....” This is what condemns the sin of unbelief- Acts 17:30-31 - “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
Only the most stubborn and wilful could help but see the power of God at work here - the power of the Father - Acts 2:32 - “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses”, the power of the Spirit - Romans 8:11 - “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you,”and the power of Jesus Himself - John 2:19 - “Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
5) THE MEANING OF "THE SON OF GOD" - Each part of this title has importance. Consider the following truths:
a) The Son of God - This identity of Christ is absolutely unique. There are no other "sons" of God in this sense. True, all believers are called the "sons of God." We, however, are sons by adoption - sons through the work of Christ - Galatians 3:26 - “....for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Jesus was born the Son of God (Luke 1:35). He is, if we may use the term, Father God’s natural Son, not a son by adoption,
This is why it is so wrong to speak of Christ simply as a great prophet or teacher. These titles may express some truth about Jesus, but they fall tragically short of describing who He is in essence. Notice also that Jesus never became God through some process of deification (ie. Mormonism). See 1 Corinthians 8:6 - “....yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” He was before "all things". He Himself brought them into existence. See also John 1:1-3 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”(One could also study the same truth in Hebrews 1:2, Colossians 1:16, etc.)
b) The Son of God - Christ is distinct from the Father. God did not just "switch hats" and decide to leave heaven and come to earth as the Son. The Father sent the Son (John 3:16). The Son prayed to the Father (Luke 22:42). Jesus was with the Father in distinct communion even before the foundation of the world - John 17:5 - “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”Here Jesus describes a glory He had with the Father, not a glory He had as the Father.
c) The Son of God - The Son is equal to the Father in His deity. He is not less God than the Father. This is most clearly set forth by Paul in Philippians 2:6 - “who,(speaking of Jesus) though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped....” There was nothing out of line with Jesus claiming His own equality with the Father.
6) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS AS THE "SON OF GOD" - Here we consider the very cornerstone of our faith:
a) In Jesus we have the clearest revelation of God - See Hebrews 1:3, John 14:8-9. Man need never again wonder "What is God like?" See the great words in John 1:18 - “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.”
b) In Jesus, redemption becomes a possibility - His mission is tied to His Person right from birth - Matthew 1:21-23 - “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).The Son had to come in flesh and blood. His blood had to be shed for my sins to be forgiven - Hebrews 9:22 - “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
c) Only faith in Jesus as the Son of God brings salvation - Perhaps the clearest expression of this idea in found in John 20:31 - “....but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”To deny Jesus as "God in the flesh" is, in fact, the primary work of the "spirit of anti-Christ" - 1 John 4:3 - “....and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” When this doctrinal line is crossed New Testament Christianity has been abandoned.