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Divinity of Christ

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Divinity of Christ

John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

WHAT astonishing majesty and dignity are displayed in these brief but comprehensive words! The other Evangelists commence their histories at the period of our Savior’s incarnation: but St. John carries us back to eternity itself; and informs us, not only what Christ did and suffered, but who he was. He calls him by a very peculiar name; “The Word;” and, in other places, “The Word of Lifea;” “The Word of Godb.” This name, as applicable to the Messiah, was not altogether unknown to the Jewsc: and it seems peculiarly proper to the Son, because it is by the Son that God has in all ages revealed his mind to man. And perhaps this very explanation of the term was intended to be conveyed to us by St. John, when he says, within a few verses after my text, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of his Father, he hath declared himd.”

But, without dwelling upon matters of conjecture, let us consider,

I.    The testimony here given to the Lord Jesus Christ—

The beloved Apostle, speaking of the Lord Jesus, here declares,

1.   His eternal existence—

“In the beginning was the Word,” even before the creature existed, either in heaven or on earth: and from him every created being derived its existencee. So St. Paul also informs us: “By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things; and by him all things consistf.” Though he was born into the world in time, yet in his divine nature he existed from eternity: “He was the same yesterday, to-day, and foreverg:” “His goings-forth were of old from everlastingh:” “He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the lasti.”

2.   His distinct personality—

From all eternity “he was with God;” “having a glory with him before the worlds were madek;” and having a perfect participation of all that the Father possessed, whether of wisdom and knowledgel, or of authority and powerm. This appears from the council held, as it were, between the Father and the Son, respecting the formation of mann; and man’s consequent expulsion from Paradiseo; and the confounding of the projects of man’s apostate race by changing their language at Babelp. Hence the Lord Jesus is said to have “come forth from Godq,” even “from his bosom,” where had been his everlasting abode. The importance of this truth is marked by the repetition of it by St. John, in the words following my text, “The same was in the beginning with God.”

3.   His proper deity—

“The Word was God,” even “the mighty Godr,” “the great Gods,” “God over all, blessed for evert.” “He was in the form of God; and thought it no robbery to be equal with Godu;” and was therefore rightly “named Emmanuel, God with usx;” and is with truth declared to be “God manifest in the fleshy.”

Now, that this is not a mere speculative subject, I will proceed to shew, by pointing out,

II.   The deep interest we have in it—

On the very face of the question, “Whether our Savior be God, or only a created being?” it cannot fail of appearing a subject of extreme importance. Know, then, that Christ is truly God, as well as man: and on this truth depends,

1.   The efficacy of all that he did and suffered for us on earth—

Had he been only a creature, he could only have done what was his duty to do; and therefore he could have merited nothing at the hands of God: or, at all events, could have merited only for himself. But being God, his whole undertaking was gratuitous; there was no obligation lying upon him, to do any thing, or suffer any thing, for us. What he did and suffered, therefore, may well be put to our account; more especially since it was so concerted between him and his Father, when he undertook to redeem our ruined race. His sufferings, though only for a season, may well be regarded as equivalent to the eternal sufferings of man; and his obedience to the law be justly considered as if all mankind had obeyed it. On both the one and the other his Deity stamps an infinite value; so that, “he having been made sin for us, we may well be made the righteousness of God in himz.”

2.   The efficacy of all that he is yet doing for us in heaven—

There is our adorable Savior seated at the right hand of God; and all judgment is committed to him, that he may complete for his people the work which he began on earth. He is appointed “Head over all things to the Churcha.” But supposing him to be a mere creature, how can he attend to all at once, and supply the necessities of all, in every quarter of the universe, at the same instant of time? But there is no room for such a question as that, seeing he is the omnipresent, omniscient, Almighty God. “Our help is, indeed, laid upon One that is mightyb,” upon One that is Almighty, “in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodilyc.” We need not fear, therefore, however great our necessities; but be fully assured, that “he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by himd.”

Behold then, brethren,

1.   How inconceivably great is the condescension of our God!

I wonder not at the unbelief of those who call in question the Divinity of Christ: for if it were not so fully revealed, as that it is impossible for a truly enlightened man to doubt it, I should be ready to doubt it myself; so inconceivable does it appear, that God should become a man, and make himself the surety and substitute of his own rebellious creatures. But he is God, and therefore can do it: he is God, and therefore cannot be judged by the finite capacity of man. In doing what he has done, he has acted like himself. He is God, and therefore I believe all that he has done for sinful man. Though himself eternal, he has been born in time: though eternally with God, he has come down and tabernacled with man: though himself the true and Living God, he has become a man, yea, and died for man upon the cross. I believe it, because he has revealed it. I believe it, because nothing less than this would have been adequate to my necessities. And were this not true, I should most gladly take my portion for ever under rocks and mountains.

2.   What unbounded consolation has he provided for sinful man!.

This doctrine meets my every want. I have guilt, which nothing less than “the blood of God” can wash awaye. I have corruptions, which none but the Spirit of God can subdue and mortify. I have wants, which none but the all-sufficient God can supply. But, having Jehovah for my friend, my surety, my righteousness, my all, I fear nothing. I hope in him; and believe in him; and glory in him; and make him “all my salvation and all my desire.” Trusting in him, I will defy all my enemiesf: and, “believing in him,” I will anticipate in my soul all the glory and blessedness of heaveng.[1]

 

 

a 1 John 1:1, 2.

b Rev. 19:13.

c See Bishop Pearson on the Creed, pp. 117, 118.

d ver. 18.

e ver. 3.

f Col. 1:16, 17.

g Heb. 13:8.

h Mic. 5:2.

i Rev. 1:8, 11.

k John 17:5.

l Matt. 11:27.

m John 5:17.

n Gen. 1:26.

o Gen. 3:22.

p Gen. 11:7.

q John 16:27, 28.

r Isai. 9:6.

s Tit. 2:13.

t Rom. 9:5.

u Phil. 2:6.

x Matt. 1:23.

y 1 Tim. 3:16.

z 2 Cor. 5:21.

a Eph. 1:22.

b Ps. 89:19.

c Col. 2:9.

d Heb. 7:25.

e Acts 20:28.

f Rom. 8:31.

g 1 Pet. 1:8.

[1] Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Luke XVII to John XII (Vol. 13, pp. 186–189). London: Holdsworth and Ball. (Public Domain)

Divinity of Christ

John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

WHAT astonishing majesty and dignity are displayed in these brief but comprehensive words! The other Evangelists commence their histories at the period of our Savior’s incarnation: but St. John carries us back to eternity itself; and informs us, not only what Christ did and suffered, but who he was. He calls him by a very peculiar name; “The Word;” and, in other places, “The Word of Lifea;” “The Word of Godb.” This name, as applicable to the Messiah, was not altogether unknown to the Jewsc: and it seems peculiarly proper to the Son, because it is by the Son that God has in all ages revealed his mind to man. And perhaps this very explanation of the term was intended to be conveyed to us by St. John, when he says, within a few verses after my text, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of his Father, he hath declared himd.”

But, without dwelling upon matters of conjecture, let us consider,

I.    The testimony here given to the Lord Jesus Christ—

The beloved Apostle, speaking of the Lord Jesus, here declares,

1.   His eternal existence—

“In the beginning was the Word,” even before the creature existed, either in heaven or on earth: and from him every created being derived its existencee. So St. Paul also informs us: “By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things; and by him all things consistf.” Though he was born into the world in time, yet in his divine nature he existed from eternity: “He was the same yesterday, to-day, and foreverg:” “His goings-forth were of old from everlastingh:” “He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the lasti.”

2.   His distinct personality—

From all eternity “he was with God;” “having a glory with him before the worlds were madek;” and having a perfect participation of all that the Father possessed, whether of wisdom and knowledgel, or of authority and powerm. This appears from the council held, as it were, between the Father and the Son, respecting the formation of mann; and man’s consequent expulsion from Paradiseo; and the confounding of the projects of man’s apostate race by changing their language at Babelp. Hence the Lord Jesus is said to have “come forth from Godq,” even “from his bosom,” where had been his everlasting abode. The importance of this truth is marked by the repetition of it by St. John, in the words following my text, “The same was in the beginning with God.”

3.   His proper deity—

“The Word was God,” even “the mighty Godr,” “the great Gods,” “God over all, blessed for evert.” “He was in the form of God; and thought it no robbery to be equal with Godu;” and was therefore rightly “named Emmanuel, God with usx;” and is with truth declared to be “God manifest in the fleshy.”

Now, that this is not a mere speculative subject, I will proceed to shew, by pointing out,

II.   The deep interest we have in it—

On the very face of the question, “Whether our Savior be God, or only a created being?” it cannot fail of appearing a subject of extreme importance. Know, then, that Christ is truly God, as well as man: and on this truth depends,

1.   The efficacy of all that he did and suffered for us on earth—

Had he been only a creature, he could only have done what was his duty to do; and therefore he could have merited nothing at the hands of God: or, at all events, could have merited only for himself. But being God, his whole undertaking was gratuitous; there was no obligation lying upon him, to do any thing, or suffer any thing, for us. What he did and suffered, therefore, may well be put to our account; more especially since it was so concerted between him and his Father, when he undertook to redeem our ruined race. His sufferings, though only for a season, may well be regarded as equivalent to the eternal sufferings of man; and his obedience to the law be justly considered as if all mankind had obeyed it. On both the one and the other his Deity stamps an infinite value; so that, “he having been made sin for us, we may well be made the righteousness of God in himz.”

2.   The efficacy of all that he is yet doing for us in heaven—

There is our adorable Savior seated at the right hand of God; and all judgment is committed to him, that he may complete for his people the work which he began on earth. He is appointed “Head over all things to the Churcha.” But supposing him to be a mere creature, how can he attend to all at once, and supply the necessities of all, in every quarter of the universe, at the same instant of time? But there is no room for such a question as that, seeing he is the omnipresent, omniscient, Almighty God. “Our help is, indeed, laid upon One that is mightyb,” upon One that is Almighty, “in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodilyc.” We need not fear, therefore, however great our necessities; but be fully assured, that “he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by himd.”

Behold then, brethren,

1.   How inconceivably great is the condescension of our God!

I wonder not at the unbelief of those who call in question the Divinity of Christ: for if it were not so fully revealed, as that it is impossible for a truly enlightened man to doubt it, I should be ready to doubt it myself; so inconceivable does it appear, that God should become a man, and make himself the surety and substitute of his own rebellious creatures. But he is God, and therefore can do it: he is God, and therefore cannot be judged by the finite capacity of man. In doing what he has done, he has acted like himself. He is God, and therefore I believe all that he has done for sinful man. Though himself eternal, he has been born in time: though eternally with God, he has come down and tabernacled with man: though himself the true and Living God, he has become a man, yea, and died for man upon the cross. I believe it, because he has revealed it. I believe it, because nothing less than this would have been adequate to my necessities. And were this not true, I should most gladly take my portion for ever under rocks and mountains.

2.   What unbounded consolation has he provided for sinful man!.

This doctrine meets my every want. I have guilt, which nothing less than “the blood of God” can wash awaye. I have corruptions, which none but the Spirit of God can subdue and mortify. I have wants, which none but the all-sufficient God can supply. But, having Jehovah for my friend, my surety, my righteousness, my all, I fear nothing. I hope in him; and believe in him; and glory in him; and make him “all my salvation and all my desire.” Trusting in him, I will defy all my enemiesf: and, “believing in him,” I will anticipate in my soul all the glory and blessedness of heaveng.[1]

 

 

a 1 John 1:1, 2.

b Rev. 19:13.

c See Bishop Pearson on the Creed, pp. 117, 118.

d ver. 18.

e ver. 3.

f Col. 1:16, 17.

g Heb. 13:8.

h Mic. 5:2.

i Rev. 1:8, 11.

k John 17:5.

l Matt. 11:27.

m John 5:17.

n Gen. 1:26.

o Gen. 3:22.

p Gen. 11:7.

q John 16:27, 28.

r Isai. 9:6.

s Tit. 2:13.

t Rom. 9:5.

u Phil. 2:6.

x Matt. 1:23.

y 1 Tim. 3:16.

z 2 Cor. 5:21.

a Eph. 1:22.

b Ps. 89:19.

c Col. 2:9.

d Heb. 7:25.

e Acts 20:28.

f Rom. 8:31.

g 1 Pet. 1:8.

[1] Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Luke XVII to John XII (Vol. 13, pp. 186–189). London: Holdsworth and Ball. (Public Domain)



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