Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:05

Jesus - His Only Begotten Son

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If you have been following our messages in these weeks you will know we are going over the four most important names and titles of the Saviour of sinners proclaimed to us in the gospel tidings of the Bible. There is one verse in the Bible that also includes all the four main names, and that is Romans 1:3. Very fittingly, as the apostle Paul wants to explain and proclaim the full gospel message for this sinful perishing world, he speaks of it as “the gospel of God….Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord…..” We have thought about the names, Jesus, Christ, and Lord, and now this time we focus on His name or title or description as Son. Most likely many of you have heard that familiar verse of Scripture, John 3:16, which states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son...”  This verse brings out there is no gift greater than this that God could have given.  How good to be reminded of this unspeakable gift also in yet another Christmas season. You are not forgetting it, are you? God gave His only begotten Son to serve as Saviour of sinners!

It is rather striking how often the Scriptures mention this truth about Jesus being God’s Son. For example, just in the verses 7-21 in 1 John 4 Jesus being God’s Son is mentioned at least four times. In a passage which so expands on God being love, you find it saturated with the truth of God giving His only Son to be Saviour for sinners like us. No one can rightly understand the love of God apart from realizing and receiving this gospel truth of Jesus the Saviour being God’s only beloved Son. It is necessary for us truly and repeatedly to emphasize this truth too for it is amazing how often this basic and most blessed truth about Jesus of Nazareth has been discounted and denied in various ways.  In the opening verses of 1 John 4 we are told that to acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son is the mark of true religion while denying that Jesus is the Son of God is the mark of all false religion and of heretical Christianity. The blessed and powerful gospel message is, as expressed in 1 John 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” How true what one commentator said: The whole gospel is at stake if Jesus is not God. 

Jesus is God as revealed in this most-heart-melting and motivating gospel tidings with Jesus Christ the Lord labelled over and over also as Son of God. Yes, as God’s beloved only begotten Son. Let us study this more now in this little series on the Saviour’s most important given names. In connection with Jesus being also God’s Son and so called repeatedly, listen to what the Bible-based Heidelberg Catechism instructs with its one question about this. In Q&A 33 the Catechism asks: Why is Christ called the only begotten Son of God, since we are also the children of God, speaking of Christians of course. And the answer given is: Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God, but we are children, adopted of God, by grace for His sake.

What this Catechism lesson intends to bring out is how special Jesus is as God’s only begotten Son, and how blessed that is for us, even for as many as believe. Thinking of God giving no one less than His only begotten beloved Son to be Saviour, let us feed on and feast on this gospel truth today. Notice with me that Jesus Christ as Saviour is God’s only begotten Son makes clear:

1. the mystery about the Saviour

2. the majesty of the Saviour

3. the marvel of God’s love with the Saviour

4. the magnitude of the Saviour’s work

5. our mandate in view of this Saviour

First then, the mystery with this truth. That Jesus is God’s only begotten Son has an element of divine mystery about it.  Every true Christian will agree with this for who of us can really grasp this and understand that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not only very man, but as very man was also in one Person very God!  We are speaking of the mystery of Jesus’ incarnation, the wonder of His coming in the flesh. Jesus came as God with us, Emmanuel; He is God’s only begotten Son and truly man in one person. This is something beyond our comprehension. Jesus’ perfect equality with God the Father, come in the flesh, born of the virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Who can fathom this? No one!  I can’t explain this awesome truth and we don’t have to either. In 1 Timothy 3:16 the apostle Paul exclaims, “And beyond controversy [meaning without question you might say today], great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.”  Jesus, as God’s Son, being in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, and Who never had to think it robbery to be equal with God. This being true of Jesus, the crucified and risen Saviour of sinners, is a wondrous mystery too great to comprehend and infinitely marvellous just to wonder at.

For sure there is mystery with Jesus being the only begotten Son of God, and if we are healthy Christians we always acknowledge this too.  The early church struggled much in holding to and expressing this wondrous mystery truthfully, and we still benefit today so much from their wrestlings in teaching the truth about this mystery concerning Jesus as confessed in the ecumenical creeds of the early church. Let me say no more about this mystery of the Saviour with His being the only begotten Son of God except to emphasize that this mystery of the Christian gospel is not something that should take away faith in the Saviour.  It should rather lead to real and increasing faith in the Saviour, Jesus Christ. What reasons to trust and follow Jesus as only Saviour with all your heart and soul and mind and strength considering just the fact He is the Saviour who is God’s only begotten beloved Son.  This puts quality and affection and authority and eternal worth and value behind the Saviour just so incomparable to anyone else ever! 

Saying that leads me also to our next point about the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus being called what He is in truth, God’s only begotten Son, how that should increase our respect and awe and adoration for Him. Can you see this with me?  For consider how majestic and grand and glorious is He, Jesus the Saviour, being in fact also God’s only begotten beloved Son from eternity. 

The title, only begotten Son, means truly Jesus was and is God come in the flesh. He is the almighty eternal God come down in human nature and human form. That means, yes, the Son of man, the historical Jesus, born as a baby in Bethlehem and laid in a manger, was really God as well as a human being. It means that Jesus, who grew up as a boy in Nazareth as an ordinary child, sin excepted, was actually God as well as man! How awesome is the fact that in all His life and ministry here on earth in His first thirty years, mostly unknown to us, and then with His three years of public ministry Jesus was here as both truly human and also as truly divine. The Saviour was one with us in His humanity, but at the same time so completely unlike us, not only being without sin in His humanity, but being very God while also being truly man.   

Jesus Christ the Lord is God’s Son come down to this earth in the likeness of men. Yes, and He lived here on this sin-cursed earth for about 33 years, revealing to us God, the God of creation and providence and redemption. Jesus is the revelation of the one only true God in all His fullness!

Indeed, this is the case also when Jesus suffered inexpressible anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, even as the full weight of man’s sin was put on His shoulders, and He would bear the righteous wrath of God for sin on His people’s behalf. The gospel is that Jesus on the cross was not only hanging there as son of man but as Son of God too.  When He was crucified and slain by His enemies, nailed to the accursed tree on the hill of Golgotha, that was Jesus Christ, the eternally beloved of the Father, the only begotten Son of God hanging there! The same is true when Jesus rose from the dead and then ascended to heaven 40 days later, and is now seated at God’s right hand there in spotless holy glory. The once crucified but now forever gloriously exalted Man, Christ Jesus, was and is and forever remains also the only begotten Son of God! When Thomas saw and recognized the resurrected Jesus, we read in John 20 he said in humble awe and adoration, “my Lord and my God” and Jesus accepted that exclamation as most true indeed!

The majesty of the Christian gospel and the supremacy of the Christian faith is that it proclaims not just a human Saviour, but a divine Saviour! You want to know the real and absolute reason why everyone should submit to the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Because it is the gospel from God about the one and only Saviour of sinners Who is also very God! Maybe, dear friends, hearing now loud and clear from the Bible that Jesus the Saviour is the only begotten Son of God, yes, very God Himself as well as very man, it will be the best news you ever heard!  Perhaps it will lead you for a first time even, or afresh, to hear Christ’s voice today, and to trust in Him as your Savior.  Isn’t it such powerful reason and attraction to be drawn to Christ the Saviour?  Jesus Christ the Lord, the only begotten Son of God, HE is the Saviour for sinners like us, you and me. Will you come to Him? Do you come to Him? In John 1:14 the apostle John writes about Jesus the Saviour, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

I have spoken about the mystery of the Saviour being the only begotten Son of God and the majesty of the Saviour as such. Let me now turn to another great related gospel point, namely, the marvel of God’s love in sending His only begotten Son to seek and to save sinners like you and me.  What a marvel that God would send anyone at all to seek and to save rebellious, guilty, underserving, wicked sinners like ourselves who on our own would never even ask for a Saviour. Does that move you way down deep that God should care for this wicked fallen world and show such mercy and compassion that He has worked out a way of salvation and deliverance for lost, corrupted, godless, hell-bound sinners like we are by nature? Please hear this now and be amazed!

God so loved the world, He sent no one less than and no one more infinitely precious to Himself than His only begotten Son to be that one and only Saviour of sinners for us. Yes, the one Whom the Father always loves with a love beyond measure and Who always enjoyed perfect delightful communion with His Son. God gave Him to serve as Saviour of sinners. God gave His one and only precious, darling, beloved Son, always in His Father’s bosom, to save sinners like us. Likewise so Jesus Christ also willingly gave Himself for this task to seek and to save sinners. Words can’t express what a gift of sacrificial love on God the Father’s part and God the Son’s part! No Father ever loved His Son more than God the Father loves His only begotten Son yet He spared not His own Son to save sinners like us. It reminds me again of Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him, also freely give us all things?

Think of what God gave up His Son to bear, paying the equivalent of the eternal punishment for sin in the sinner’s place, and what Jesus Christ all so necessarily and willingly and perfectly suffered to make complete atonement for sin.  Is it not just so astonishing beyond words?

No wonder John wrote in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  What is your response to so gracious and glorious a Saviour Whom God has sent to seek and to save sinners like us?

That God should so love the world that He gave Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, as Saviour doesn’t only tell of the mystery about Jesus and of the majesty of Jesus.  It so very much tells of the marvel of God’s love for sinners with the sending of Jesus, His darling Son, so totally one with the Father too. What?! Will God forsake His only begotten eternally beloved Son to seek and to save wretched sinners like you and me that we might not be forever forsaken and abandoned by God for our sins and sinfulness as we justly deserve?  Yes, this is the blessed good news of the gospel, the gospel of Jesus, the crucified and risen Saviour being none else than God’s own dearly beloved Son from eternity.  Jesus, God’s darling Son, suffered and died as the just for the unjust that sinners like us might not perish in our sins. And the gospel message is, as many as believe and trust this Saviour God shall not perish, but have everlasting life.  Yes, for free and for sure, for Jesus’ sake alone!  Does this gospel knock at your heart and thrill you way down deep? Is it not most heart-melting and motivating gospel tidings, yes, also to you and for you?

But let me move now to our fourth point how that Jesus Christ the Lord being also God’s only begotten Son brings out as well the magnitude of Jesus’ work and worth as Saviour of sinners. That our Saviour is the only begotten Son of God as well as truly the Son of man too just drives home all the more how absolutely solid and enduring is His saving work on sinner’s behalf. Jesus’ once for all sacrifice on behalf of sinners is a divinely worked and humanly accomplished saving work, able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him, even forevermore so because it is the work of God Himself come in the flesh. Therefore, because of this divine basis and quality to it all, now even when all people of all ages all around the world and 10,000 worlds besides should come to Him, whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!  Jesus’ forgiveness of sins for all who come to Him is a divine forgiveness of sins that is everlastingly sure, and His righteousness obtained for sinners like us is of infinite and everlasting perfect divine quality and worth. As Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God are yea, and in him, amen, unto the glory of God by us.” No one therefore ever trusts in Jesus Christ, the God-sent Saviour in vain. No, never, for remember, Jesus is not just another human being, righteous as ever, but He is also in one and the same person the only begotten beloved Son of God.  

God sent His only begotten Son to be the Saviour God come in the flesh because no other remedy was possible for the complete salvation of sinners.  There was and is no other solution, even for God, to save sinners except He send His only begotten Son to be the exact Saviour we need. And God was willing to send Him. And Jesus willingly came, desiring to do the will of His Father. And the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for this very task.  Having sent God’s only begotten beloved Son, do you see with me the magnitude of the gospel message?

Just ponder the boundless immeasurable worth and infinite sureness and splendidness of it no matter from what angle you study it, and be amazed! The perfectness and sureness and fullness and freeness and eternalness of salvation found with the Saviour is inexpressible.  And the salvation found for sinners with the Saviour also being the only begotten Son of God for whoever comes to Him can never be added to, and can never be fathomed, and will never run out! This is the good news of salvation with the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of God serving as the promised Messiah and Saviour of sinners. Who accomplishes something can sometimes really make all the difference in the worth of that something. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, accomplishing salvation on sinner’s behalf makes that salvation infinitely precious and forever sure, even for as many sinners as come to Him in faith and repentance. God is rich to all that call upon Him in Jesus’ name and for His sake. This is the one and only gospel message still.  Doesn’t Jesus Christ being the only begotten Son of God make abundantly clear to you also the magnitude of His Person and work as Saviour, and of His infinite worth and reliable word of promise to whoever will believe?

How well one wrote about the blessedness of Jesus as God-sent Saviour being Son of God and Son of Man, testifying:

 

 

“Dearest of all the names above, My Jesus, and my God,

Who can resist thy heavenly love, Or trifle with thy blood?

 

‘Tis by the merits of thy death, The Father smiles again;

‘Tis by thine interceding breath, The Spirit dwells with men.

 

‘Till God in human flesh I see, My thoughts no comfort find;

The holy, just, and sacred Three Are terrors to my mind.

 

But if Immanuel’s face appear, My hope, my joy begins;

His name forbids my slavish fear, His grace removes my sins.

 

While Jews on their own laws rely, And Greeks of wisdom boast;

I love ‘th’ Incarnate Mystery, And there I fix my trust.” 

 

Is this your response now too, dear friends? Oh, the magnitude of Christ’s person and work as Saviour, being God’s only begotten Son while also truly very man, like us in all things, sin excepted, and humbling himself even to the death of the cross that we might be lifted up and brought even into the intimate family of God the Father. How much reason to say and shout, “HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOR”! Or could it be you hear all this and continue still in cold unbelief, and you marvel only always at so much of this fallen world while rejecting and despising still God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as only Saviour of sinners? 

Does it have to be said here how terribly wicked and wrong it is to discount and turn away from this one and only supreme Saviour of sinners sent from God to seek and to save the lost. In Hebrews 2 the question is asked: How shall any escape who neglect, that is, reject and despise, scorn and scoff, so great salvation as revealed in and with Jesus Christ the Lord Who as Saviour is also God’s only begotten Beloved Son? How terrible the eternal anguish in hell knowing forever you most foolishly and wickedly despised and rejected so great and gracious and glorious Saviour of sinners! Oh, hear then now Christ calling to repent of sin and believe on Him before it is forever too late. Come, sinners, rebels, and transgressors, vile and undeserving, guilty of so much sin and hardened with sin though you are, come to Jesus now, pleading His mercy and grace and salvation also for you.  Isn’t there deliverance still now, complete and free, with Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as Saviour of sinners? Yes, there is.  Come and make no delay. Listen here to what John writes near the end of his gospel account in John 20:30-31. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.”  

I still have one more point, and that is concerning our mandate as confessing Christians with so great a Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is in one person the son of man and the Son of God. What is our mandate and mission as confessing believers and Christian church with so great a gospel message? Is it not that we truly acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and Lord and that we ever live to His praise and honor, seeking in this way also that more and more may come to hear and know of Him?  Let us not be ashamed to confess Jesus Christ is very God and man as Saviour of sinners, indeed, God’s only begotten beloved Son even. Let us glory in this gospel truth and seek to pass on this good news to others as we are given opportunity to do so for it is the heart and riches of the gospel message.

That the Saviour is the only begotten Son of God makes possible our complete salvation and the blessed adoption into the beloved and eternal family of God for sinful people like us, all for free for Jesus’ sake alone by grace through faith in Him. Let us trust Him and love Him and serve Him with everything we have and every day too. Next Sunday, being also Christmas Day and the last Lord’s Day of the year 2016, we will think about Jesus’ first coming when born in Bethlehem.  His birth and life and ministry as Saviour of sinners is so special and sure and wonderful just considering His four main names and titles as told in the gospel of God for us, that gospel concerning his Son,  “Jesus Christ our Lord.”  If you understand these four names then you know it has to be true and it makes a lot of gospel sense that Jesus Christ the Lord, God’s Son, is coming again, and infinitely blessed will all be who are ready for His appearing and woe to all who look not for His coming again as He said.  With Jesus’ first coming how many who should have known better were unmindful of His coming. That is not now true of you too, is it?  God forbid.  O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord, the blessed most reliable gospel tidings for all people even as the angel declared with Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”[Luke 2:10]  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] Amen.  

 

Hans Overduin, Radio Pastor 

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