Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:55 pm
The Messenger, February 2, 2012
By RB TOLAR
Special to The Messenger
Last week’s article looked at “The Annointed One,” the Christ, and his role as prophet, priest and king. The catechism also examined how we, as Christians, share in His annointing. Today we examine a controversy over Christ’s sonship, the nature of that sonship, and our own standing as God’s adopted children.
Question 33 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks: Why is He called God’s “only begotten Son,” since we also are children of God? Answer: Because Christ alone is the eternal natural Son of God; but we are children of God by adoption, through grace, for Christ’s sake.
Question 34 asks: Why do you call Him “our LORD?” Answer: Because He has redeemed us, body and soul, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil, and made us His own possession.
The Nicene Creed (echoing John 1:1-3) speaks of Jesus as “begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” Athanasius phrased it thusly: “The begetting of the Logos (‘the Word’) was not an event in time, but an eternal relationship.” This eternal relationship between Father and Son is fully explored in the first chapter of Hebrews, which speaks clearly of Jesus’ divine nature.
But what about us? We are also called God’s children in Scripture (see John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:5-6), but in our natural state, we are certainly neither divine nor eternal.
The passages cited speak of the relationship of the Christian with God as being one of adoption. In Romans 8:17, Paul states that “we are heirs.” In fact, he says, we are “co-heirs with Christ.” Think of it. As a lost person, I was alone in the world, abused and mistreated by my father, the devil (John 8:44, 47). There was nothing in me that would recommend me to the Righteous God, yet, in His mercy, He chose me. I cannot say why. I can only praise Him and love Him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.
“You were bought with a price.” Twice in I Corinthians (6:20; 7:23), Paul reminds us of this important fact. Jesus Christ paid a terrible price for us: not only the physical torments of the cross, but the spiritual and mental agony as He took upon Himself all our sins, virtually descending into hell to suffer the torments of the damned. Think of it. He took my place. How can I help but sing with beloved hymnodist Fanny J. Crosby: “I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song.”
So we call Jesus “LORD” because He has redeemed us. The concept of His Lordship over us is so profound that it requires careful reflection, not only at the moment of our salvation, but each and every day of our lives. Jesus is my king. The implications of that statement are overwhelming. Am I diligent to obey my king? Do I give to Him the honor and glory the king deserves, in all areas of my life?
Augustine prayed, “Command what you will, O LORD, and give what you command.” Yes, please, Jesus.
(If you have questions or would like to comment on this article, you may do so online at http://graceunioncity.com/resources/gcc-in-the-news. Scroll to the bottom of the page to submit your comment.)
Editor’s note: RB Tolar is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Troy. He strongly urges readers to consult the scripture references used in this article “to see if these things are so” (Acts 17:11b).