Last month, in part one of this two-part Series, we considered the meaning of God’s oneness, what God revealed about the nature of the Godhead, and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This month we’ll consider the terms “Father And Son,” “The Triune God,” “The Incarnation Of Christ” and “Man’s Salvation.”
Father And Son
No intelligent person would ever think that God took a wife or a mistress. Such a thought would be a terrible blasphemy against God. Every Christian abhors such a thought, for God is not a man like us. The Bible says, “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). In other words, their worship should not be mere rituals and ordinances related to the flesh, or to places and positions, as the context of John 4:19-26 clearly shows.
The sonship of Christ is a spiritual relationship, and not a physical nor procreational one. It denotes oneness in nature and essence. It must be noticed that it was not Christians who called Jesus Christ the Son of God, but it was God Himself who called Jesus His Son:
- When the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, he said to her: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” And he also said to her: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:28-35).
- When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist (known by Arabs as Yahia Ibn Zakarea), the heavens were opened and a voice came from heaven saying, “Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:22; Mk. 1:11; Mt. 3:17).
- About the above incident, John the Baptist said, “I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (Jn. 1:34).
- When Christ took three of His disciples to a high mountain, two prophets, Moses and Elijah, appeared to them: “While He was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.’ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid’” (Mt. 17:1-8; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:35).
There are many other verses in the Bible which declare that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, a sonship that denotes a divine relationship which is above human understanding. This is why the Bible says, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). Thus we see that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, sometimes referred to as the triune God, are all one God. This is a divine truth, and he who denies it makes God a liar. But he who believes it finds in it an eternal joy and blessing as we will now see.
The Triune God And Salvation
As far as man is concerned, it is obvious that the most important thing is for him to receive forgiveness of sins, so that he will go to heaven and not be cast into hell. God said of Himself, that He is “a just God and a Savior” (Isa. 45:21). But how can God be just – that is, holy and righteous and one who must punish sin – and at the same time be a Savior who can deliver man from his sins and their punishment? In other words, how can He be perfectly just, and at the same time perfectly merciful?
Here the human mind is helpless. It does not have an answer. Will God forgive us and thus be merciful and compassionate, or will He punish us and be just but not merciful? It is impossible for men and angels together to find a solution to this dilemma. But God has the answer, and in His answer we see His wisdom and power. We see His love and perfect mercy as well as His perfect justice and holiness.
Human solutions to this question are all defective and lead to man’s damnation, because sin is a very serious matter in God’s sight. Sin is an insult to God because it is disobedience to Him. If you insult an ordinary person, you may be lightly punished. But if you insult a king or a president, your punishment is much more serious. How much worse will it be if you disobey God whether by thought or word or deed? The idea that God will put the good deeds on one side of the scale, and the evil deeds on the other side to determine which is greater is totally wrong.
First of all, it is wrong because good deeds are “required” of man (Mic. 6:8), and they are not a favor to God. Good deeds do not erase offenses, neither in human laws nor in God’s laws. Secondly, such an idea, if true, would require that we know the weight of sin in the sight of God. We would need to know how much a lie weighs, how much each evil thought weighs, how much pride weighs, and finally how much all our innumerable sins weigh together. He who trusts in his good deeds to erase or outweigh his sins will only discover at the end that he is lost forever. What then is the solution to this problem, and how can God be “a just God and a Savior” at the same time? The answer is in the Incarnation of Christ.
The Incarnation Of Christ
We saw that the Holy Bible testifies that Christ is the Son of God, and we explained that this sonship is not a physical sonship, nor a result of procreation, because God is a Spirit. It is a spiritual and divine relationship that surpasses human understanding. But we must remember also that Christ became a perfect man, and said of Himself, “The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28). Thus we see that Christ came not merely to teach and do miracles, though He certainly did both. He came mainly to redeem us by dying on our behalf. This required that He become a Man, so that He could die for us. This is the reason for the Incarnation of Christ. There are two reasons why no one else could have redeemed us.
First, the redeemer has to be someone who never sinned, otherwise he has to bear his own punishment. Christ is the only one who never sinned. All the true prophets were protected from making mistakes in religious teachings and prophecies, but not in their own personal lives. They all sinned. The prophet David said: “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight” (Ps. 51:3,4). But of Christ, the Holy Bible declares that He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb. 7:26). It also tells us He “did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22). Then it says that He “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21), and that “He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin” (1 Jn. 3:5). He is the only Redeemer; all others needed to be redeemed.
Secondly, Christ is not a mere prophet or apostle. He is “God … manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16) – both God and Man. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. The value of His death therefore is unlimited. By His death He can redeem everyone that believes in Him: “He is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2). Christ is both God and Man. And of course, God cannot die. The one who died is the perfect Man, Jesus Christ, who pleased God in everything, and who said that He came “to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).
The death of Christ on our behalf is a definite fact that has at least four infallible proofs. First of all, the prophets spoke of it hundreds of years before Christ came. These prophecies are still in the Old Testament, which is the holy book of the Jews. They neither did nor could remove one word from it. Secondly, Christ told His disciples many times before His death, that the Jews would kill Him and that He would rise on the third day. Thirdly, it was recorded for us by eyewitnesses. Finally, the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, makes it clear that Christ’s death is the only way for man’s salvation.
Now we come to the role of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in man’s salvation. The Bible says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ, to die for us) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Thus we see that the Father loves man and wants him to be saved, and the Son willingly paid the price to attain that salvation. The Holy Spirit awakens man’s conscience and convicts him of his sins (Jn. 16:7-8) so that he will receive Christ as Savior.
Thus God saves man through His love, but not at the expense of His holiness and justice. There is no salvation except that which is offered by God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the only true and living God.
By Anise Behnam
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org