The Son - 7 Expressions
The Son – 7 Expressions
Notes of a lecture, March 2015
The Son of God is central to the truth of Christianity and to Christian fellowship (1 John 1:3). It is also the special target of the attacks of the enemy (1 John 2:22.23). But today we want to focus on the positive side: the sending of the Son marks the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal. 4:4) and ‘the end of these days’ (Heb. 1:2); in short it marks the beginning of a new era.
The Lord Jesus is Son in a twofold way:
- He is the Son eternally: God sent the Son (John 3:16), the worlds were made by the Son (Heb. 1:2). This sonship has no beginning. It is an eternally subsisting relationship. As Eternal Son He was not given life but in Him was life (John 1:3). See also Heb. 7:3: ‘without genealogy’.
- He is the Son as Man: Lk 1:35 (cf. Ps. 2:6 and its divine interpretation as fulfilment in time in Acts 13:33)
The Bible considers a number of special expressions in relation to the Son (other than ‘the Son’, ‘His Son’ or ‘Son of God’), which out different glories of this wonderful Person. Let us consider seven of these in turn:
1.His only Son (Gen. 22:1)
- ‘Only son’ occurs 7x in Scripture: 3x in Gen 22 (v.2.12.16) and then in Jer 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zech. 12:10; Luke 7:12 (in connection with grieving for the loss of an only son). This shows the greatness of God’s gift.
- Abraham was asked to offer up Isaac, his only son. Ishmael was also Abraham’s son (Gen. 16:15) but the promises were to come through Isaac (Gen. 21:12). In this sense Isaac was the only son.
- Christ was the only one who could bring redemption. There was no other who could be laid on the altar.
- Note that He was not chosen as eternal Son (there was no other) but as man (Is. 42:1; Psa. 89:3).
2.His own Son (Rom. 8:3.32; Acts 20:28)
- This expression shows that God gave His very own Son. He bore the cost.
- Rom. 8:3 shows that through Him God has condemned sin in the flesh. Having given us His ‘own’ Son we can be sure He will also give us all things (v.32).
- In Acts 20 we learn that it was through the blood of His ‘own Son’ that God acquired the church (Acts 20:28). We should never think of the church as ours – she is God’s. By the price He paid He acquired all rights over it.
- The Only-begotten Son (5x in John’s writings: John 1:14.18; 3:16.18; 1 John 4:9)
- Not related to any thought of beginning in time but what He has always been, even in the past eternity. Always in connection with the eternal Son.
- The expression is used to convey that Christ was absolutely unique, the one and only one of His kind, the only one in whom God could reveal Himself (John 1:14), in whom man could see God and the Father was made known (John 1:18), the One in whom we receive eternal life (John 3:18). Any who do not believe on Him are condemned for eternity (John 3:18). In Him the whole love of God was manifested (1.John 4:9).
4.My beloved Son (7x of Christ in the NT, and once in the parable (Luke 20:13)
- Mt. 3:17 (see Mk.1:11; Luke 3:22) --> the one who stood out from the crowd and in Whom the Father delighted. See 2 Peter 1:17 (Mt. 17; Mk9; Lk 9): He will retain this place in a coming age.
5.The Son of His Love (Col. 1:13)
- He is at the centre of a new sphere (or ‘kingdom’) and gives character to it. We have been translated from the power of darkness into this wonderful sphere.
- We have already received a new nature: enabled to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
6.The Son of the living God
- The living God is able and ready to act and intervene.
- 1 Thess. 1:9: Serve the living God (not dead idols)
- 1 Tim.3:15: the church of the living God --> there is vitality and reality
- Mt. 16:16: the Son of the living God
- He is not revealed by flesh and blood. He is the only foundation for the church (in Mk. 8:29 and Luke 9:20 we only find the 1st half of this confession, and there the church is not mentioned).
- The Son of the Living God went into death, but this was by grace, and He could not be held by death but overcame death. Satan’s stronghold is broken. Hades will not prevail against the church. The church is built on (not failure and weakness) but grace and power!
- 1 Thess. 1:10: We are waiting for Him: the Son of the Living God!
- The Son of the Father (2. John 3)
- Only once in the Bible. The very personal aspect: emphasised in the face of the antichristian attack. The Apostle holds the banner high – to encourage this family to be faithful to Him in at this difficult time.
- Gal. 2:20 : Let us live (daily) by faith in Him, the Son of God who loved me!
PS: I would be grateful for any hints in relation to other expressions that might usefully be added to this list of expressions in relation to the Son of God.