Sunday, April 17, 2016
Over the last couple of posts we have looked at the title "Son of God" and how Jesus Christ is revealed by it. In our explorations thus far, we have looked at the four Gospels of the New Testament, noting that with regard to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, three general conclusions can be drawn about this title:
1. The title "Son of God" reveals His Heavenly Majesty
2. The title "Son of God" revealed His earthly mission
3. The title "Son of God" reveals how we need to experience His life in our own.
The last two posts have focused more so on the first two points as they relate to Jesus Christ portrayed as "The Son of God" in the four Gospels. Today I want us to consider some life applications of this title "Son of God" by observing some key passages from the remainder of the New Testament. The key thought will be in showing how we need to experience the Son of God's life in our own lives.
A quick note on how the major sections of our New Testaments relate to one another and to Jesus the Son of God
It has been well noted that in the Gospels, Jesus Christ is portrayed; in Acts, Jesus Christ is preached; in the Epistles, Jesus Christ is explained and in Revelation, He is prominent. So much has been illuminated to us already from the four Gospels concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What the remaining three sections of the New Testament do is to expound on the life-practical and supernatural realities of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Chiefly, the interest of the remainder of this post will deal with why you and I need to experience His life in our own.
Experiencing the Son of God in our conversion - thoughts from the book of of Acts
Acts 9:19-21 expounds on what took place following the conversion of Saul of Tarsus: "Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” Notice one of the first things Saul of Tarsus (who would later be renamed Paul) began to proclaim: "He is the Son of God". This testimony indicates that the very life of the Eternal Son of God had not only been brought into contact with Saul in His conversion, but that the reality of it came to reside within His heart by means of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Truly if we are to ever appreciate the Heavenly Majesty and earthly ministry of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in all He is and achieved, there must be a dramatic experiencing of His life in our own (consider Romans 1:1-4). The wonderful theologian Lorraine Boettner writes in his book "Studies in Theology", page 153, notes concerning the Son of God's impact on people at salvation: "Christ is the Son of God by nature; we become the sons of God by grace. He is the Son of God in His own right; we become the sons of God by adoption. He has existed thus from eternity; we become sons of God in time as we are regenerated to a new life and have His righteousness imparted to us." Later on Boettner notes: "But it does mean that we have restored to us and perfected (i.e developed) in us that moral and spiritual likeness of God with which we were created but which became lost through sin."
Experiencing the Son of God as our confidence for daily living - some thoughts from the Epistles
When we think of the life of the Son of God pulsating in our own, there is the needed confidence for daily Christian living. As we noted earlier, the New Testament epistles or letters explain Jesus' life and ministry. 2 Corinthians 1:18-20 expounds on how personal experience of the Son of God grants confidence in Him: "But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." Notice how Paul expounds on the confidence that Jesus as the Son of God delivers to the Christian in their prayer life. For sure, He is ascended and glorified - seated at the right hand of the Father. As man He represents us in Heaven (see 1 John 2:1-2). However, as sharing equally in full Deity with the Holy Spirit, His life is transmitted completely to us and in us - henceforth providing confidence for daily Christian living.
The Apostle Paul speaks elsewhere concerning how the life of the Son of God grants confidence in the personal Christian life. Galatians 2:20 for instance reads - "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Not only does experiencing the life of the Son of God increase confidence for the individual believer, but for the corporate life of the local church. Notice what we read about the church's experience of the Son of God (or at least as such experience ought to be a normal reality) in Ephesians 4:13 "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."
So experiencing the life of the Son of God in our own lives is transformative in our conversion and gives confidence for daily Christian living. Now lets notice one final outcome of experiencing the life of the Son of God in our own life...
Experiencing the Son of God clarifies powerful worship - some thoughts from the Epistles and Revelation
The Epistle to the Hebrews urges Christians to consider the Son of God as the focal point of devotion and worship. Hebrews 1:8 speaks of the exaltation of the Son by the Father - "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." Hebrews 7:3 details the Son of God as the believer's High Priest, representing them in Heaven - "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually." The final mention of the title "Son of God" occurs in a context where Jesus Himself is addressing one of the seven churches in Revelation 2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this". The description given by John in the text corresponds to the full-length view of the exalted Jesus found in Revelation 1. Indeed, experiencing the life of the Son of God in our own begins in our conversion, gives confidence in the Christian living and clarifies in a powerful way our worship to Him.