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A Christian’s Diary: Was the Lord Jesus God’s Son or God Himself?
By Xie Wen, Japan
January 15, 2018 Monday
Today, after breakfast, I hurried to attend the Bible study meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, someone raised such a question: Was the LordGod’s Son or God Himself? Then we began to debate about this question. Some people said the Lord Jesus Christ is God Himself because the Bible says, “The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). Others said the Lord Jesus Christ was God’s Son because the Bible records that after the Lord Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). I felt both viewpoints were reasonable. But which on earth was right? For this, I fell into confusion …
January 20, 2018 Saturday
This morning, it was sunny. I happened to meet Co-worker Gao whom I hadn’t seen for a long time at Sister Li’s home. He has believed in the Lord for many years and his fellowship was really insightful. So I asked him: “Co-worker Gao, you have worked for the Lord for many years and understood a lot, and I have a question to ask you. All along, we have thought the Lord Jesus Christ was God’s Son. But a little while ago, some co-workers questioned this viewpoint. They thought God was unique and the Lord Jesus was God Himself. What do you think about this question? I’m unclear about it. Please talk about your understanding.”
Sister Li said eagerly: “Right. We discussed about this issue at the last Bible study meeting, but the more we discussed, the more confused we were. Brother, please tell us about it.”
Co-worker Gao nodded with a smile and said: “Thank the Lord. Your question is indeed the one most of us Christians can’t see through. If we really want to figure out this question, first we should know where this viewpoint comes from. Now let’s think for a moment. Does God say anywhere in Genesis that He has a son? Did Jehovah God ever say that He had a son? The answers are ‘no’. From the Old Testament, we can see no one said God had a son in the Age of Law. Since the incarnate Lord Jesus came among man as the Son of man to speak and work, lived together with man, and opened the Age of Grace, people have thought the Lord Jesus was God’s Son, so the notion of Father-Son relationship came into being. Was the Lord Jesus Christ God’s Son or God Himself? It can be said that, this is a question that we believers have always debated about. We sense the contradiction inherent in this issue, but none of us can explain it clearly. The Lord Jesus is God, but He is also God’s Son, so is there also a God the Father? Then, who is God the Father? However, through reading the Bible, we have known that God is unique. Are we even more incapable of explaining it? In reality, over the past two millennia, very few people have recognized that the Lord Jesus Christ is God Himself, and is the appearance of God. Actually, it is clearly recorded in the Bible: ‘Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us’ (John 14:8). At that time, how did the Lord Jesus respond to Philip?”
Sister Li opened the Bible and read: “to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:9-11).
Co-worker Gao gently said: “Here, the Lord Jesus said very clearly, ‘he that has seen me has seen the Father,’ and ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me,’ but He did not say He and God have a Father-Son relationship. Besides, in John 10:30, He also said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ Now, according to the Lord Jesus’ words, can we not be sure that the Lord Jesus is the appearance of God Himself, that there is only one God and that there is no ‘Father-Son relationship’ to speak of?”
Sister Li said with delight: “Mm. The Lord Jesus spoke very clearly, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me’ ‘I and my Father are one.’ So we can completely confirm that the Lord Jesus is God Himself and that the notion of this Father-Son relationship doesn’t exist at all. Through your fellowship, I understand more.”
As hearing Co-worker Gao’s fellowship, I felt it made sense, but I still had some questions. Then I asked: “Your fellowship is correct. This is really the case. The Lord Jesus indeed has never said God and He are Father and Son, but just said, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me,’ and ‘I and my Father are one.’ It proves that the Lord Jesus is God Himself and He isn’t God’s Son. But I still don’t understand: Since the Lord Jesus is God Himself, then why did God’s Spirit state that He was God’s beloved Son? And why did the Lord Jesusthe Father when He prayed? There must be a mystery, right?”
Co-worker Gao nodded and seriously said: “Yeah. There is a mystery in this. The Bible said: ‘The Spirit like a dove descending on him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Mark 1:10-11). It is that God’s Spirit bore witness to God’s incarnation, but it doesn’t mean the Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God’s Spirit. God becomes flesh, that is, God’s spirit is hidden within the flesh and the flesh itself is incapable of feeling the Spirit’s presence. Just as we cannot feel our spirits within us. In addition, although the Lord Jesus was the incarnate God, if God’s Spirit had not spoken and testified to God Himself, He wouldn’t have known He was the incarnation of God. Therefore, it was mentioned in the Bible, ‘neither the Son, but the Father.’ When the Lord Jesus formally performed His ministry, the Holy Spirit began to speak and proclaim, testifying He was God’s incarnation. Only then did the Lord Jesus realize His true identity, and know He had come to do the work of redemption. From the fact that He prayed to God the Father, we can see the humility of Christ. What’s more, when He was to be crucified, He still prayed to God the Father: ‘Nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.’ This means that Christ’s substance is complete obedience to the will of the heavenly Father.”
Sister Li nodded, sighing: “Ah, so it was like that. We have failed to know that before.”
Co-worker Gao continued saying: “There are two passages of words from a spiritual book that explain clearly about this aspect of the truth. Allow me to read them.”
Sister Li and I said with one accord: “Thanks be to the Lord. That’s great.”
Co-worker Gao took out his laptop, turned it on and read in a very serious tone: “When Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father as He prayed, this was done only from the perspective of a created man, only because the Spirit of God had clothed Himself as an ordinary and normal man and had the exterior cover of a created being. Even if within Him was the Spirit of God, His exterior appearance was still that of an ordinary man; in other words, He had become the ‘Son of man’ of which all men, including Jesus Himself, spoke. Given that He is called the Son of man, He is a person (whether man or woman, in any case one with the exterior shell of a human being) born into a normal family of ordinary people. Therefore, Jesus calling God in heaven by the name of Father was the same as how you at first called Him Father; He did so from the perspective of a man of creation. Do you still remember the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught you to memorize? ‘Our Father in heaven….’ He asked all man to call God in heaven by the name of Father. And since He too called Him Father, He did so from the perspective of one who stands on an equal footing with you all. Since you called God in heaven by the name of Father, this shows that Jesus saw Himself to be on equal footing with you, and as a man on earth chosen by God (that is, the Son of God). If you call God ‘Father,’ is this not because you are a created being? However great the authority of Jesus on earth, prior to the crucifixion, He was merely a Son of man, governed by the Holy Spirit (that is, God), and one of the earth’s created beings, for He had yet to complete His work. Therefore, His calling God in heaven Father was solely His humility and obedience. His addressing God (that is, the Spirit in heaven) in such a manner, however, does not prove that He is the Son of the Spirit of God in heaven. Rather, it is simply that His perspective is different….
“There are still those who say, ‘Did not God expressly state that Jesus was His beloved Son?’ ‘Jesus is the beloved Son of God, in whom He is well pleased’ was certainly spoken by God Himself. That was God bearing witness to Himself, but merely from a different perspective, that of the Spirit in heaven bearing witness to His own incarnation. Jesus is His incarnation, not His Son in heaven. Do you understand? Do not the words of Jesus, ‘The Father is in Me and I am in the Father,’ indicate that They are one Spirit? And is it not because of the incarnation that They were separated between heaven and earth? In reality, They are still one; no matter what, it is simply God bearing witness to Himself. Owing to the change in ages, requirements of the work, and the differing stages of His management plan, the name by which man calls Him also differs. When He came to carry out the first stage of work, He could only be called Jehovah, shepherd of the Israelites. In the second stage, the incarnate God could only be called Lord, and Christ. But at that time, the Spirit in heaven stated only that He was the beloved Son of God, and made no mention of His being the only Son of God. This simply did not happen. How could God have an only child? Then would God not have become man? Because He was the incarnation, He was called the beloved Son of God, and, from this, came the relationship between Father and Son. It was simply because of the separation between heaven and earth” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
After reading these words, Co-worker Gao was overcome with emotion: “From this, we can know clearly: When the Lord Jesus began to perform the ministry after being baptized, the Holy Spirit bore witness that He was God’s beloved Son. This was done only from the perspective of the Spirit. But when the Lord Jesus prayed, He called God of heaven Father. This was done only from the perspective of the flesh. But because we didn’t understand this aspect of the truth and didn’t know the way and the perspective of God’s speaking, we arbitrarily explained the Lord’s words according to our own imaginations, thus forming the conception of ‘the Lord Jesus is God’s Son.’”
Hearing these two paragraphs of words and Co-worker Gao’s fellowship, I was deeply moved: As it turns out, the Holy Spirit testified the Lord Jesus was God’s beloved Son, which was done from the perspective of the Spirit; while the Lord Jesus called God of heaven Father, which was done from the perspective of the flesh. But as for me, I didn’t understand this truth and held on to my conceptions. How foolish and ridiculous I was!
I felt very self-reproach, but there was still a question in my heart. So, I curiously asked: “Co-worker Gao, through what you read and fellowshiped, I am even clearer on this aspect. But I still have a question to ask you. Why did God not directly testify the Lord Jesus was God Himself? I believe there’s God’s good will in this. Can you fellowship more with us?”
Co-worker Gao went on to fellowship to us: “That’s a great question that many believers all want to understand. In fact, it has been clearly said in this book. When the Lord Jesus was working amidst human beings, it was actually that God’s Spirit clothed in flesh as a man was working and appearing to humans. Regardless of how the Lord Jesus was speaking and working or praying to God the Father, His substance was divinity, not humanity. God is Spirit, and we can’t see Him. Then what can we see when God becomes clothed in flesh? It is still only flesh that we can see, but we can’t see God’s Spirit. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit had directly borne witness that the incarnate Lord Jesus was God Himself, we humans wouldn’t have accepted it. It was also because, at the time, people didn’t know what it meant for God to be incarnated. In particular, they just came into contact with God’s incarnation and had very little understanding. They never imagined that this regular Son of man would be the embodiment of the Spirit of God, that is, the appearance of God in the flesh. Even though when the Lord Jesus was working, He expressed many words, brought man the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and manifested many signs and wonders, fully revealing God’s authority and power, the followers of the Lord failed to recognize from His word and work that the Lord Jesus was God Himself and was also the appearance of God. We can think back: How did the people at that time call the Lord Jesus?”
Sister Li said right away: “It is recorded in the Bible that: ‘And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets’ (Matthew 16:14).”
Co-worker Gao said definitively: “Yes. There was no one that could realize the Lord Jesus was God Himself at that time. They only acknowledged the Lord Jesus was one of the prophets or Master. Hence, God just worked according to the stature of people at that time, and He didn’t make it hard for them. Due to the understanding of the people at that time, the Holy Spirit could only testify the Lord Jesus was God’s beloved Son, temporarily allowing man to regard the Lord Jesus as God’s Son. This way was more reconciled with the conceptions of man, and was easier to accept. At that time, the Lord Jesus was only doing the work of redemption, so no matter how people called the Lord Jesus, as long as they accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior, their sins would be remitted, and they were thus qualified to enjoy God’s grace. So, God’s Spirit bore witness to the Lord Jesus in this way based on the stature of the people at that time. The Lord Jesus’ word truly came to fruition: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (John 16:12-13). When God’s Spirit puts on the flesh, though we can’t see God’s Spirit, God’s disposition, all that He has and is, His almightiness and wisdom are all expressed through His flesh. From the Lord Jesus Christ’s word and work and the disposition which He expresses, we can be entirely certain that the Lord Jesus is God Himself. The Lord Jesus’ word and work are full of authority and power. God speaks, and it will be accomplished; He commands, and it will stand fast. Once He speaks, His words become reality. Just as one word from the Lord Jesus was enough to forgive man his sinfulness, calm the wind and the sea, bring the dead back to life and so on. From the Lord Jesus’ word and work, we have seen the authority and power of God to hold sovereignty over all things. We have also seen God’s almightiness, wisdom, and wondrous deeds. The Lord Jesus expressed the way in His words, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ He ushered in the Age of Grace, ended the Age of Law, expressed God’s disposition of love and mercy and completed the work of mankind’s redemption. So I ask you, did the Lord Jesus do the work of God Himself?”
Sister Li and I said in unison: “Yeah, right. After your fellowship, I finally understand.”
Then, Co-worker Gao fellowshiped: “The Lord Jesus’ word and work are the direct expression of the Spirit of God. Does it not prove that God’s Spirit directly spoke to and worked for people, appeared to them in the flesh? Could it possibly be that no matter how God’s Spirit speaks and works in the flesh, we can’t see His deeds? Can this external form of the flesh really prevent us from recognizing the divine substance of Christ? Could it be that, when God’s Spirit wears a flesh to speak and do work, no matter how much we experience we would still be unable to recognize God’s appearance and work? If this is the case, then we are far too stupid in our belief. How can we be commended by God?”
At his words, I said in humiliation: “After hearing your fellowship, I’m really ashamed. Having believed in the Lord for so many years and enjoyed much of the Lord’s grace and blessings, I never recognized the Lord Jesus’ divine substance. I didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus is God Himself, just thinking that the Lord Jesus was God’s Son. I never treated Him as God Himself. Only now do I understand no matter whatis, how He is called, in substance God’s incarnation is God Himself.”
Sister Li also said in shame: “That’s right. Despite being believers, we’ve never really known the Lord, and have no knowledge of the mystery of the truth of the incarnation. Thinking back on my many tens of years of faith, it seems as though I believed in the Lord Jesus’ name only, but didn’t understand the Lord Jesus’ divine substance. How spiritually poor, how pitiable, how blind I’ve been.”
Co-worker Gao continued to say: “John 1:1 says, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ The Lord Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). The Lord could express the truth and also bestow life upon man. This just fulfilled the substance of ‘the Word was with God,’ that is, God became flesh, and the Spirit of God and the flesh were one, inseparable from each other. Jesus Christ was God’s incarnate flesh; in other words, it is God in heaven wearing a flesh to come to earth, and is also the Spirit becoming flesh. Definitely speaking, it’s that the formless, invisible, and intangible Spirit (Jehovah) became the Son of man (Jesus) who has a tangible form, and who can be seen and touched by man, their names are different, but they are one. The Lord Jesus said: ‘If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from now on you know him, and have seen him’ (John 14:7). From His words, we can see Jehovah God and the Lord Jesus are one, and both are God Himself, but not Father and Son as man has imagined.”
Through this communication, I gained a lot. The confusion in my heart has finally been rid of. I have understood the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s incarnation, and that He is God Himself. God is unique and Jesus Christ was the embodiment of the Spirit of God, so the idea of the Father and the Son doesn’t exist at all. Now, I am completely enlightened. Thank the Lord for His leadership.
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