Continuing our exposition of John 1:1, this week we are looking further at Jesus as God the Son and Son of God.
Jesus Christ has all the attributes of Godhood
- He is eternal(John 1:1-3 1 John 1:1-4 John 1:15 John 8:58 John 17:5, 24 Hebrews 1:11)
- He is omnipresent (John 3:13 Matthew 18:20 Ephesians 1:23)
- He is omniscient (John 16:30 John 21:17 Colossians 2:3 John 4:29 Luke 6:8)
- He is omnipotent (John 5:19 Hebrews 1:2-3 Matthew 28:18)
- He is immutable (Hebrews 1:12 Hebrews 13:8)
- Jesus Christ is Creator and Sustainer (John 1:3 Colossians 1:15-17 Hebrews 1:3, 10 Psalm 33:6)
- Jesus Christ has the prerogatives of God (Matthew 9:2, 6 Luke 7:47 John 5:25-29 John 6:39 John 11:25-26 John 5:22)
Jesus Christ is identified with Jehovah
- Creator (Psalm 102:24-27 Hebrews 1:10-12
- Seen by Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-4 John 12:41)
- Holy (Isaiah 8:13 1 Peter 3:15)
- Object of faith (Joel 2:32 Romans 10:9, 13)
Jesus appropriates God’s personal Name,“I AM” Consider His “I AM” statements in John
- the Bread of Life (6:35, 41)
- the Light of the world (8:12)
- the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14)
- the Door (10:7, 9)
- the Way the Truth and the Life (14:6)
- the Resurrection and the Life (11:25-26)
- the True Vine (15:1)
The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The title/appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God. (Romans 1:1-3,7 2 John 3)
The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us. (Matthew 1:23 1 John 4:2 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:14 Revelation 1:13 Revelation 1:17)
The Title, Son of God
Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time. (Matthew 1:21-23 2 John 1:3 1 John 3:8 Hebrews 7:3 Hebrews 1:1-13)
Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. (2 John 9 John 1:1 John 1:2 John 1:14 John 1:18 John 1:29 John 1:49 1 John 2:22,23 1 John 4:1-5 Hebrews 12:2
Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all. Hebrews 1:3 1 Peter 3:22 Acts 2:32-36 Romans 14:111 Corinthians 15:24-28
Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.John 5:22,231 Peter 1:8 Revelation 5:6-14 Philippians 2:8,9 Revelation 7:9-10 Revelation 4:8-11
The Lordship Issue in our salvation
Submitting to Christ as Lord goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Christ as Savior. To call this doctrine Lordship salvation is a bit of a misnomer because it implies that anything else is the Gospel. When we are saved from sin it is because we recognize Christ as who He is, Lord and God, we have a change of mind about who we are, what sin is, and our need for a savior, and we confess/say the same things about sin that He does.
John MacArthur: “The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 7:13-23).”
“Lordship salvation” teaches that a true profession of faith will be backed up by evidence of faith.If a person is truly following the Lord, then he or she will obey the Lord’s instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not chosen to follow Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and into righteousness. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22–23; James 2:14–26).
Lordship salvation is not a salvation-by-works doctrine. Advocates of lordship salvation are careful to say that salvation is by grace alone, that believers are saved before their faith ever produces any good works, and that Christians can and do sin. However, true salvation will inevitably lead to a changed life. The saved will be dedicated to their Savior. A true Christian will not feel comfortable living in unconfessed, unforsaken sin.
9 Key Teachings set “lordship salvation” apart from easy-believism:
First, Scripture teaches that the gospel calls sinners to faith joined in oneness with repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9). Repentance is a turning from sin (Acts 3:19; Luke 24:47) that consists not of a human work but of a divinely bestowed grace (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25). It is a change of heart, but genuine repentance will effect a change of behavior as well (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:18-20). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that repentance is simply a synonym for faith and that no turning from sin is required for salvation.
Second, Scripture teaches that salvation is all God’s work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own (Titus 3:5). Even faith is a gift of God, not a work of man (Ephesians 2:1-5, 8). Real faith therefore cannot be defective or short-lived but endures forever (Philippians 1:6; cf. Hebrews 11). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that faith might not last and that a true Christian can completely cease believing.
Third, Scripture teaches that the object of faith is Christ Himself, not a creed or a promise (John 3:16). Faith therefore involves personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). In other words, all true believers follow Jesus (John 10:27-28). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that saving faith is simply being convinced or giving credence to the truth of the gospel and does not include a personal commitment to the person of Christ.
Fourth, Scripture teaches that real faith inevitably produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person (Galatians 2:20). The nature of the Christian is new and different (Romans 6:6). The unbroken pattern of sin and enmity with God will not continue when a person is born again (1 John 3:9-10). Those with genuine faith follow Christ (John 10:27), love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey God’s commandments (1 John 2:3; John 15:14), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God’s Word (John 8:31), keep God’s Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:14). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that although some spiritual fruit is inevitable, that fruit might not be visible to others and Christians can even lapse into a state of permanent spiritual barrenness.
Fifth, Scripture teaches that God’s gift of eternal life includes all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; Romans 8:32), not just a ticket to heaven. In contrast, according to easy-believism, only the judicial aspects of salvation (e.g., justification, adoption, and positional sanctification) are guaranteed for believers in this life; practical sanctification and growth in grace require a post-conversion act of dedication.
Sixth, Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender (Romans 6:17-18; 10:9-10). In other words, Christ does not bestow eternal life on those whose hearts remain set against Him (James 4:6). Surrender to Jesus’ lordship is not an addendum to the biblical terms of salvation; the summons to submission is at the heart of the gospel invitation throughout Scripture. In contrast, easy-believism teaches that submission to Christ’s supreme authority is not germane to the saving transaction.
Seventh, Scripture teaches that those who truly believe will love Christ (1 Peter 1:8-9; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 16:22). They will therefore long to obey Him (John 14:15, 23). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that Christians may fall into a state of lifelong carnality.
Eighth, Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt the reality of one’s faith.
Ninth, Scripture teaches that genuine believers may stumble and fall, but they will persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:8). Those who later turn completely away from the Lord show that they were never truly born again (1 John 2:19). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that a true believer may utterly forsake Christ and come to the point of not believing.
A person who has been delivered from sin by faith in Christ should not desire to remain in a life of sin (Romans 6:2). Of course, spiritual growth can occur quickly or slowly, depending on the person and his circumstances. And the changes may not be evident to everyone at first. Ultimately, God knows who are His sheep, and He will mature each of us according to His perfect time table.
Is it possible to be a Christian and live in lifelong carnality, enjoying the pleasures of sin, and never seeking to glorify the Lord who bought him? Can a sinner spurn the lordship of Christ yet lay claim to Him as Savior? Can someone pray a “sinner’s prayer” and go about his life as if nothing had happened and still call himself a “Christian”? Lordship salvation says “no.” Let us not give unrepentant sinners false hope; rather, let us declare the whole counsel of God: “You must be born again” (John 3:7).