I believe in Jesus Christ, the only son of God
Introduction – The Trinity
Today, Trinity Sunday is one Sunday of the year set aside for the re-enactment of the Christian faith and contemplation of the mystery of the nature of God as He has revealed himself to man in the Bible. This is given expression in the concept of Trinity – a contraction of “Tri” and “unity” in reference to the unity or oneness of three with respect to God. Although it remains a mystery that cannot be fully understood and rationalised, it is sufficiently taught in the Bible that God is one but three persons. He is the Father, our Creator; the Son, our Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, our Enabler/Sanctifier.
The Uniqueness Of Our Faith
Trinity makes the essential difference between Christianity and other faiths/religions: Polytheists cannot imagine that there can be only one God and monotheists cannot imagine that there can be plurality of one God. They have great difficulty in seeing the Divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit. But “the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit” (Athanasius Creed).
I Believe In Jesus Christ, The Only Son Of God
“I believe in Jesus Christ, His (God’s) only Son, our Lord…” – This is the only article in the Apostles Creed that only Christians can affirm. Some non-Christians may not have much problems believing in “God…, Holy Spirit…, Communion of saints, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of body, etc. Different people believed different things about Jesus, as seen in the response to His question of what people said about Him (Matt. 16:13-14). Even now, some say that He is a Prophet, or a good man or a Rabbi. But “…the word of faith which we preach (is) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:8-9). We confess that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ (Phil 2:11). He is the Only Son of God.
Divinity Of Jesus
The divinity of Jesus is clearly revealed in the Bible variously:
• Bible Asserts/Teaches It
• He is called God (Tit. 2:13; Jn 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; 1Jn 5:20,21)
• Divine attributes are ascribed to Him: Self-existent (Jn 1:4, 14:6); Omnipresent (Mat. 28:20, 18:20); Omniscient (Jn 4:16,6:64, Matt. 17:22-27); Omnipotent (Rev. 1:8, Lk 4:39-55, 7:14, 15, Matt. 8:26,27); Possessing Eternal life (1Jn 5:11,12, 20, Jn 1:4)
• He forgives sins, a prerogative of God (Mark 2:7), gave the Holy Spirit to His disciples (John 19:23) and is the Christ in whom the Messianic hopes were fulfilled (John 4:25,26).
• He is spoken of in different places as Son of God (Gal. 4:4; Mk 1:1,11)
People Recognised It:
• Peter confessed Him as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God’ (Matt. 16:16).
• Thomas acknowledged Him as ‘My Lord and my God’ (John 20:28).
• Martha affirmed that He is “the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 11:27)
• Nathanael acknowledged that He is “the Son of God….the King of Israel” (Jn 1:49)
• Stephen, at the point of death, committed his spirit to Him as the Lord (Acts 7:59).
He Claimed/Indicated It
It is not just others saying it as they might possibly misunderstand Him. Jesus himself claimed to be God.
• He continuously spoke of Himself as one in essence and nature with God (Jn 8:9; 10:30; 12: 45; 14:9; 15:23)
• Jesus declared: “… Before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn 8:58).
• His claims were understood by the Jews, hence their antagonism (Jn 8:59; 10:31,33).
• He claimed to do certain things that can be done only by God such as raising the dead to new life, giving eternal life and sitting on the great throne to judge all men (Jn 5:21-29).
• Instead of pointing men to God like those before Him, he pointed men to himself for their deepest needs. He claimed to be the source of the living water (Jn 4:10-14); bread of life (Jn 6:27, 35); freedom from slavery to sin (Jn 8:34-36); peace (Jn 14:27) and joy (Jn 15:11).
He Is Worshipped
Jesus received worship as God (Matt. 14:33, 28:9, Rev. 5:8-14) and even demanded it (Jn 5:23 cf. Heb. 1:6)
The earliest Christians, even within the framework of Jewish monotheism, worshipped Jesus. That is why Paul expands the Shema to include both God and Christ: “…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Here, claiming that Jesus pre-existed creation, Paul puts Jesus into the most sacred Jewish confession, but still distinguishes the Father and the Son from pagan polytheism.
Jesus is Lord. The Bible is clear about this. He is the only Son of God.
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org
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