Proof for this Doctrine (continued)
As we mentioned previously (see June 1 issue), our Confession does not offer very elaborate Scriptural proof for the truth confessed in this article. However, because the truth that Jesus Christ is God is a truth that runs through all of Scripture, it is not difficult at all to multiply passages which in one way or another teach this doctrine. To several such passages we called attention at the beginning of our discussion of Article X, in treating the importance of this doctrine. We add a few more proofs at this time.
Christ Himself declares that He is one with the Father; and the term that is used in the original in this connection can only be understood to mean that He is one in Essence with the Father: “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. Throughout Scripture, as we have already noted, He is called God and the Son of God. The passage already cited, from I John 5:20, is important in this connection, because it is sometimes claimed that Christ is never called “the God” in the original; that is, they claim that the name “God” with the article is never applied to Christ (ho Theos, in the Greek). But in I John 5:20 you have a clear example of this: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Moreover, there is implicit proof in the fact that Scripture ascribes divine names, divine virtues, divine works, and divine honors to Christ. This, of course, could never be done except for the fact that Christ is the only begotten Son of God, co-essential and co-eternal with the Father. But many instances of this can be adduced from Scripture.
In the first place, we cite some passages which ascribe to Christ divine names. Already in the Old Testament this is done prophetically. Thus we read in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Jeremiah 23:5, 6 is another such clear prophecy concerning the Christ to come: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Joel 2:32 furnishes similar proof: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the. Lord shall call.” We have already cited several passages from the New Testament, such as Matthew 16:13-18; John 1:1, 14, 17, 18; John 6:67-69; John 20:30, 31; Romans 1:3, 4; Romans 9:5; Galatians 2:20, etc. To these we add Luke 1:34, 35: “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I. know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And in I Timothy 3:16 we read: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
In the second place, there are passages which ascribe to Christ divine attributes, or virtues. Our Confession has already cited and proved from Scripture the attribute of Christ’s eternity, quoting the well-known words of Micah 5:2. Also a passage likeIsaiah 9:6 is proof of His eternal existence. In Revelation 1:8both His eternity and His omnipotence are proved: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” For the attribute of omniscience we cite John 21:17: “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” For the attribute of omnipresence John 3:13furnishes proof: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Philippians 3:21 also speaks of His almighty power: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” The unchangeableness of Christ as the only begotten Son is also taught in a passage like Hebrews 1:10-12: “And, Thou, Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same and thy years shall not fail.”
In the third place, divine works are ascribed to Christ. The Confession already has given proof from Scripture that the work of creation, a divine work, is attributed to Christ. Likewise, the work of providence is, according to Scripture, among the works of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is clear from several passages. We mention, first of all, John 3:35: “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” Luke 10:22 reads: “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, butt the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Cf. also Matt. 11:27. John 17:3 also speaks of Christ’s power of government: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Hebrews 1:3 speaks of Christ’s power to uphold all things: “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.” Colossians 1:17 teaches that “by him all things consist.” Very strikingly Christ demonstrated His power to forgive sins to the scribes and Pharisees, a work which was, according to their own criticism of Jesus, divine, Matthew 9:2-8: “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.” (Confer in this connection Mark 2:7, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?”) And now we continue from Matthew 9: “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” Colossians 3:13 speaks of this same work of forgiveness: “Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Also the divine works of the resurrection and the judgment are ascribed to Christ. A rather lengthy, but significant passage in this respect is found in the gospel according to John 5:17-29: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 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. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doest: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, bath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that-have done good, unto tae resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” It is not our purpose to give a detailed explanation of this entire passage here. But let us note the following:
1) The underlying truth in this entire passage is that Jesus, the Son of man, is the Son of God. This was precisely the issue as far as the Jews were concerned. In fact, this was a greater stumbling block to them than the Sabbath issue, which led up to this discourse of our Lord. But we may add: this was the issue as far as the Lord Jesus Himself was concerned also. One cannot fail to notice the strong emphasis on His Sonship throughout this entire passage.
2) Jesus ascribes to himself the power and the work of the spiritual resurrection of the dead in verses 24, 25, when he speaks of the fact that he that heareth and believeth His Word “hath everlasting life” and “is passed from death unto life,” and when He speaks of the hour that is coming and that now is, in which the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall live.
3) Jesus literally attributes to Himself as the Son the power and the work of the general resurrection of the dead, both of the wicked and the righteous, in the hour that “is coming,” that is, the final hour.
4) Jesus literally speaks of His work of judgment and of His “authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
Finally, we mention the fact that divine honor and worship are paid to Christ. Of Thomas we read inJohn 20:28 that he worships the Lord Jesus after His resurrection: “My Lord and my God.” And Stephen also at the time of his death “calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7:59.
In the light of all the above, how fitting is the closing statement of Article X: “He therefore is that true, eternal, and almighty God, whom we invoke, worship and serve.”