Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God? (I)
Grant S. Caldwell
When Christ was here on earth, His work involved the saving of all those who would believe that he was indeed the Son of God. (I Timothy 1: 15 and John 3:16) After he left this earth and went back to the Father, salvation was continued on the basis of belief. "Except ye believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) "Without faith it is impossible to please him." (Hebrews 11: 6) "These things 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." (John 20:31)
Believing in Christ as the Son of God is one of the basic considerations of the faith we hold as dear. It is our firm conviction that without this faith, one will never find himself in the abiding place of God. Therefore, we wish to evaluate the Sonship of Christ and determine if we can just who He really was and is.
Reasons for the Discussion
It is important that we discuss this proposition for several reasons:
1. We cannot know the fact of the Sonship of Jesus except by divine revelation. Human wisdom cannot give adequate testimony to this great and valuable truth. (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12: 3).
2. It is the theme of the New Testament teaching (Acts 2:36; 17:3; 1 Corinthians 2:2). If anyone today wishes to preach the gospel of Christ as they did, he must believe and preach the deity of Jesus. (Galatians 1:8-9; 2 John 9-11)
3. This is the very foundation of the church of the New Testament. (Matthew 16:18) There can be no true church of (i.e. belonging to) Christ, unless there is the scriptural foundation that Christ is the Son of God. Those who would make Peter the foundation of the church deny the very foundation of the Lords church. Paul said there could be no foundation other than Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3: 11)
4. In a passage already cited, John says that the very reason for the writing of the scripture is to show that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (John 20: 3 1) Paid wrote to young Timothy and said, "That from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
5. The entire hope of the human family depends on the acceptance of Christ as the Son of God. In Acts 15:9, we are shown that the heart is purified by faith. Christ said, "He that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark 16:16) Paid said that we are "justified by faith." (Romans 5: 1) Peter said that we should "know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus ... both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36)
This faith is not just an agreement that Jesus existed. This is a fact admitted by all-both friend and foe of Christ. It is not just an admission that he lived in Palestine or that he lived in the first century. It is not even just a belief that he was a religious teacher or the author of Christianity.
In order to be acceptable unto God, this faith must declare Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God. However, this is only the beginning of making one acceptable unto God. The devils believe that much. (James 2:19) The faith we are to have in Christ is to be so determinately strong that it will move us to act in harmony with his will. Without this type of faith, we deny him as Lord -- i.e. ruler or master (See James 2:13-26; Galatians 5:6; Romans 1: 16-17).
Therefore, it is vital that we investigate Christ as the Son of God. We need desperately to know who he really was. If he really was the Son of God, we need to know it in order that we might follow his every command. If he was not the Son of God, he, indeed, was an imposter, a liar, and a blasphemer of the true God of heaven.
Was Jesus Just a Good Man?
One of the most popular of the current ideas about the Christ is that he really was not the Son of God but he was a good man. It is no wonder that some would put the Lord in this particular light because of the bind in which they find themselves when they begin to contemplate spiritual matters.
The problem is that they do not wish to accept Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. On the other hand, they cannot deny the good that this man has done for the whole mankind. To make complete denial of him and his work would show only great ignorance. Thus, in the attempt to "soft soap" their judgment, they have hit upon the idea of only denying his Sonship. Clever, huh?
If these pseudo-religionists were to say that he was in reality that which he claimed to be, they would have to follow him and do exactly as he instructs even to the minute details. But if he was only a good man, we may use his methods and do things in his name if we (as good men) think they are proper and best. If we see something we like better, we are just as much at liberty to try that as he was to try what he did in his day. Are you beginning to see now why such a claim is made by even some preacher today?
If Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, he was not a good man. In John 7:12, we are told that some thought of Christ as a good man. There were others, though, who could not accept this because, as they put it, "He deceiveth the people." If Jesus was not the Son of God, he was one of the biggest liars that ever stepped foot on the face of the earth. He deceived the people into believing that he was.
In a multitude of passages similar to Matthew 16:18, Christ said that the Father had revealed that he was the Son and the one sent to save the world. Now, if he was not that one, he lied, and was not a good man.
Christ was either a good man, or he was not. He was either the Son of God, or he was not. If he was a good man, he was the Son of God. If he was not the Son of God, he was not a good man. If Christ was not the Son of God, he lied when he said he was and in so doing, showed that he was the son of the devil, the father of liars. (John 8:44)
In addition to the fact that he said that he was the Son of God, there is another matter. If Jesus was not the Son of God, he was not a good man because he bound upon men only that which would cause them misery. In I Corinthians 15:19, the apostle Paul said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." If Christ was not what he claimed to be, he could not and will not give what be promised to give eternal life. (John 14:1-3) Thus, all our strivings here are leading us nowhere. Would a good man do that to anyone? All of the anguish and heartache and suffering for nothing??? No, if he was not the Son of God, he was not a good man.
I believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God and I believe he is now. I believe he is the Lord of heaven and earth. Thus, I believe he was a good man and that he told the truth about himself and about me. I am ready to accept the consequences of that. I want to follow him, even in the smallest of matters, for without him I will die. I am ready to defend him and his word to the very best of my ability and suffer all of the heartache and/or physical suffering that might come from it.
Now the only question left at this time is this: Are You??? Will you not today begin to stand for Jesus Christ - The Son of God, and the exalted head of the church? You may do that by turning away from error and obeying the gospel that he died to give. (Matt. 26:28) If you will obey, he will give you life in his eternal abode in heaven. (Matt. 7:21).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 34, pp. 6-7