Reflections – 2024.07

The Apostles Creed (I Believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Son)

Jesus said to them, ‘Who do you say that I am?’

Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
–  Matthew 16:15-16

Last month we considered what it means that Jesus is the Christ.  Simon Peter, in responding to Jesus’ question, also declares that Jesus is “the Son of the living God.” The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says it like this: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:1-3).  So you can see that when we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, we are saying quite a bit about Him … 

In the Apostles Creed, we proclaim not only that Jesus is the Son of God (and all that comes with that), but that He is the only Son of the Father.  It is true that we are, by God’s grace, adopted children of God in Christ.  We are “sons” and “daughters” of God in this way.  But Christ alone is, as the Heidelberg Catechism says, “the eternal, natural Son of God.”  And it is Christ alone, the Son of God, who became man.  Jesus was just like us and at the same time not like us.  The fact that He is the Son of God and yet was willing to humble Himself and be born “in the likeness of men” as the apostle Paul says, and furthermore, that He was willing to die on the cross to save His people, has been the source of much reflection and praise over the last two thousand years! 

 One aspect of that reflection is captured in the Westminster Larger Catechism.  The pastors and theologians who wrote that document sought to answer this question: “Why is it necessary that Jesus should be God?”  They concluded the following: “It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.”  Put simply, we could not (and cannot) save ourselves because we are sinners and our nature as such makes it that we could never stand before God on our own merit.  Only the only Son of God could do that because He is God and so never sinned.  He was (and is) perfect and we are the beneficiaries of that reality.

 God so loved the world that He gave His only Son … Jesus the Christ … that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  May you rejoice that the LORD has blessed you in such a way that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that in Him you have become sons and daughters as well, children of the Father, servants of the King.