Chapter 4 of  Saving Faith

JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD 1

by Bernie Koerselman


 Table of Contents


Jesus Claimed to Be the Son of God

It was a dramatic confrontation.  Jesus had been arrested by the Jews.  They questioned him, trying to find evidence in order to condemn him to death.  But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God:  Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."2

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.  "But I say to all of you:  In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."3
 
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy!  Why do we need any more witnesses?  Look, now you have heard the blasphemy."4

Why did Jesus' admission create such a response?  Because the high priest knew the prophecy of Daniel:

Jesus said he fulfilled that prophecy of Daniel.  And he did.  Jesus told his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."6

 The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Son of God

Does Daniel's description of Jesus sound familiar?  I refer to Jesus being given all authority, glory, and sovereign power, and that he is the supreme ruler who is worshiped by all peoples, nations and men of every language.  That was a description of Jesus as Lord, as we saw in Chapter 2.

Paul declared:  "By his resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ was declared with power to be the Son of God.7

 The Titles Are Equal

The same power, glory, and authority given to Jesus as the Son of God have been given to Jesus as Lord.  That fact doesn't seem surprising because the Son of God and the Lord Jesus are one and the same person.8   The point to note is that the titles are equal as they pertain to the power, glory, and authority given to the Son of God and to Jesus as Lord.

 The Christ Is the Son of God

For centuries the Jews had been expecting their Christ.  Their hope rested on the coming Christ; they knew from Psalm 2 that the Christ would be King and that he is the Son of God.9   The high priest showed his knowledge of the prophecy when he commanded, "Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."10

Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary, showed her knowledge of prophecy when she gave this confession of faith:  "Yes, Lord," she told Jesus, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."11

 The Son of God Is God

The Jews, his enemies, recognized that when Jesus called God his own Father, he was making himself equal with God.12   Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."13

Thomas confessed it when first coming face to face with the resurrected Christ.  He exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"14

The Apostles understood that the Son of God is God.  Peter began his second letter to the believers by speaking of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.15

The Apostle John told the church, "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life."16

 Jesus, the Son of God

It was the Lord's Day.  The Apostle John had found a deserted spot on the Isle of Patmos to worship.  He heard a voice.  John turned to see who was speaking to him.  What he saw caused him to fall to the ground as though dead.

John saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.  His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.17

Who was this awesome person?  He identified himself as the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.18   It was Jesus!
 

PROOFS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD

Proofs from His Enemies

In a courtroom, the most believable favorable testimony is that which comes from the opponent.  If we apply that principle to prove that Jesus is the Son of God, who would be the best witness to ask?  It would be Satan, Christ's greatest enemy.

Surprisingly, Satan showed that he knew Jesus is the Son of God by the way he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness.  Twice he began his temptation of Jesus by saying, "If you are the Son of God,"19  as he tried to provoke Jesus into exercising his power.

The next best witnesses would be Satan's demons.  They gave excellent testimony when Jesus cast them out.  "What do you want with us, Son of God?" the demons shouted.20   Mark recorded that whenever the evil spirits saw Jesus, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."21   Luke wrote that demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!"22

 Testimony from His Friends

The winds raged and the waves crashed over the bow of the boat, threatening to swamp it.  Though they were experienced fishermen, the storm was of such ferocity the men feared for their lives.

Then they remembered Jesus asleep in the stern of the boat.  Not really knowing why, they hurriedly awakened him saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm.

The disciples asked one another, "Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."23

Another time, the disciples, rowing across the lake, were buffeted by headwinds.  Hour after hour they rowed but with no progress.  Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water.  They were fearful, but Jesus invited Peter to come to him on the water.

When Jesus and Peter got in the boat, the disciples worshiped Jesus, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."24

When they saw Jesus could do all things, even calm a deadly storm and defy natural laws by walking on the water, there was no longer doubt.  They knew Jesus is the Son of God with all power and authority, even over nature and natural laws.

 Supernatural Testimony

The angel appeared to Mary to tell her she was selected to be the mother of the Christ.  "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."25

 The Apostle's Testimony

Paul was converted when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus.  After Paul's sight returned, he was baptized.  He began to eat and regained his strength.  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.26

Later in his ministry, Paul gave this testimony:  "The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."27

 SALVATION IS IN THE SON

More than any other New Testament writer, the Apostle John spoke of Jesus as the Son of God.  He said, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work."28

John's testimony about Jesus often related directly to salvation.  He said, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.29   Who is it that overcomes the world?   Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.30   If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God."31

 Believe in the Son

God32  tells us to believe in his Son33  who is the supreme ruler, the King whose kingdom will never be destroyed, whose dominion is everlasting and will never pass away, who has been given glory and sovereign power and all authority in heaven and on earth, who will be worshiped by all peoples, nations and men of every language.34

This describes the Son of God in whom we are to believe in order to have eternal life.  If we believe in God's Son, God promises us eternal life.  But if we reject his Son, we will not see life, for God's wrath will remain on us.35

 Believe in the Name of the Son of God

John tells us:  "This is God's command:  to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us."36

What does it mean to believe in the name of the Son of God?  It means to believe in all his name implies, his authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc., of everything that his name includes.37
 
God's command isn't to simply believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but to believe in all that he is as the Son of God.38

 Salvation Is in the Son of God and in Jesus As Lord

Because the titles are equal,39  the descriptions of how to be saved using the title Son of God or the title Lord, are all true.  We can say, "Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved," and "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."40   Both are true.  We proclaim, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" and "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."41   They are equivalent.

 Believe in Him

We have seen that we must believe in Jesus as the Christ, and as the Son of God, and as Lord in order to have salvation.42   As the Christ, Jesus uniquely fulfilled the prophecies of the coming Anointed One.  Christ includes the other titles; he was prophesied to be the Son of God who is Lord over all.

Footnotes

1  Chapter 4 of the book What the Bible Says About a Saving Faith.
2  Matthew 26:63.
3  Matthew 26:64.  On an earlier occasion Jesus had specifically stated he was the Son of God (John 10:36).
4  Matthew 26:65.
5  Daniel 7:13-14.
6  Matthew 28:18.
7  Romans 1:4.  See also 1 Corinthians 1:9:  God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord is faithful.
8  Paul said that the Son of God, Jesus Christ was preached among the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:19).  Paul explained to the Romans that through the Spirit of holiness Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:4).
9  Psalm 2:2,6-7:  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. . . . "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." . . . I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."
10  Matthew 26:63.  Another example occurred when Nathaniel was brought to Jesus he declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel" (John 1:49).
11  John 11:27.
12  John 5:18. Jesus actually never claimed to be equal to God.  Quite the contrary, he said "The Father is greater than I."  See the article on this web site, "The Trinity", for the biblical evidence that the members of the Trinity are not equal.
13  John 10:30.
14  John 20:28.
15  2 Peter 1:1.
16  1 John 5:20.  Even God testified that his Son is God when he said of his Son, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom" (Hebrews 1:8).
17  Revelation 1:12-16.
18  Revelation 2:18.
19  Matthew 4:3,6.  Though the conditional phrase, "If you are the Son of God," does not positively state that Jesus is the Son of God, up to that time Jesus had not claimed to be the Son of God.  Instead, God, his Father, had spoken from heaven saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."  Satan was doubtless speaking from the knowledge that God himself affirmed that Jesus was his Son.
20  Matthew 8:29.
21  Mark 3:11.
22  Luke 4:41.  Another excellent witness would be someone who killed him.  The centurion in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus saw the earthquake, the hours of darkness, and all that had happened during those hours and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54).
23  Luke 8:24-25.
24  Matthew 14:22-33.
25  Luke 1:35.
26  Acts 9:20.
27  Galatians 2:20.
28  1 John 3:8.
29  1 John 5:12.
30  1 John 5:5.
31  1 John 4:15.  See also John 3:14-15,18, 6:40, and 11:25-26.
32  1 John 5:10  Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
33  See also John 3:14-15,18, 6:40, 11:25-26 and 1 John 3:23.
34  That is what God has testified about his Son.  Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son (1 John 5:10).
35  John 3:36.
36  1 John 3:23.  See also 1 John 5:13:  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
37  Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, page 782.
38  What does it mean to believe in all that he is as the Son of God?  It means to believe in everything about him.  For example, we know that the Son of God is both the Christ and Lord (Romans 1:4).  See Hebrews 1:3:  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
39  The only way in which the titles are not equal (not pertinent to salvation) is that Son of God shows a Father-Son relationship with God the Father.  That relationship shows that the Son of God is also God; the definition of Lord is one that describes one who is God – one with all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
40  John 3:36.
41  1 John 5:12.
42  John 8:24.  Jesus claimed to be Lord, Son of God, and the Christ.  He said those who do not believe he is who he claimed to be will die in their sins.