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THE SON OF GOD.

THE SON OF GOD.

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Published by glennpease
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 29, 2013
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THE SON OF GOD.
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET
 PAUL S CONCEPTION OF CHRIST.THE remarkable doctrine, common to nearly allthe writers of the New Testament, that Christdied in order that through His death might cometo guilty man forgiveness of sins, supplemented as itis by Paul s teaching that the need for this costlymeans of salvation lay in the justice of God, suggestsat once a careful inquiry into the nature of that OneMan through whom comes a salvation designed for allmen. I shall therefore now endeavour to reproducethe conception of Christ embodied in the Epistlesof Paul, in the Fourth Gospel, in the SynoptistGospels, and in other parts of the New Testament.In the opening sentence of the Epistle to theRomans we read that the chief matter of the " Gospelof God " is " His SON . . . who was marked out asSon of God by resurrection from the dead." The word215216 THE SON OF GOD. [PART IV.rendered marked-out or defined implies that by thistitle He was distinguished from others. In Rom.v. 6-10, after appealing to the death of Christ forsinners as a marvellous proof of God s love to them,Paul sums up his argument, that it may be a basisof further argument, in the words, " ye were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." Asimilar appeal, again made a basis of argument, isfound in ch. viii. 32 : " He that spared not His ownSon, but gave Him up on behalf of us all, how shallHe not also with Him give us all things by Hisgrace?" This triumphant argument, and especiallythe contrast implied in the phrase His OWN SON,suggests a father who gives up to peril or death Hisown Son in order to save others who are not Hissons. We have in this passage clear proof thatPaul looked upon Christ as the Son of God in a sensenot shared by other men. Similarly in Rom. viii. 3we read that " God sent His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin." This refers evidently to theIncarnation ; and implies that He who came in humanflesh was already the own Son of God. So Gal. iv. 4 :"when the fulness of the time came, God sent forthHis Son, born of woman, born under law." Thisteaching implies that, just as a man s sons hold arelation to him shared by no others, so Christ holdsa unique relation to God.The title " Son of God " is also given to Christconspicuously in i Cor. i. 9, xv. 28, 2 Cor. i. 19,Gal i. 1 6, ii, 20, Eph. iv. 13, Col. i. 13, i Thess. i. 10.LECT. XXV.] PAUL S CONCEPTION OF CHRIST. 217
 
The term son suggests at once a mode of DERIVATION. Its application to Christ in a unique sensetherefore suggests or implies that He is in some sensederived from the Father, but that His mode of derivation is essentially different from that by which wesprang from the Creator s hands.The Son of God is also the JUDGE OF THE WORLD ;or more accurately the Agent through whom Godwill judge all men. So Rom. ii. 16: "in the daywhen God will judge the secret things of men throughJesus Christ." " Before the judgment-seat of Christ "both Paul and all men " must appear : " 2 Cor. v. 10.In close harmony with this, in the address by Paulat Athens recorded in Acts xvii. 31 we read thatGod " has set a day in which He will judge the worldin righteousness in a Man whom He has marked out ;whereof He has given assurance to all in that Hehas raised Him from the dead." The word renderedmarked-out is the same as that used in precisely thesame connection in Rom. i. 4 : a remarkable coincidence. That in the great Day all men, even thegreatest and . best, will stand to be judged by oneMan, raises Him infinitely above them.In Phil. iii. 21 Paul teaches that by His infinitepower Christ will at His coming change into thelikeness of His own body of glory the bodies of Hisservants. These words imply unmistakably thatChrist will RAISE THE DEAD.That, as Paul teaches in Rom. iii. 26, the deathof one Man renders consistent with the justice of 218 THE SON OF GOD. [PART IV.God the justification of the many who believe Hisword, proves that not only has the justice of Godno charge against Jesus but that in MORAL WORTHHe is EQUAL to the multitudes saved through Him.The same is implied in the statement in Rom. v. 10that, whereas Paul and others were once enemies,they have been " reconciled to God through the deathof His Son." So 2 Cor. v. 18-21 : "God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. . . . Godwas, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself . . .Him who knew no sin He has made on our behalf to be sin." Similar teaching is found in Col. i. 20,Kph. ii. 1 6, and elsewhere. This teaching places aninfinite distance between a race guilty and powerless and Him through whom they who believe Hisword are restored to the favour and the family of God.An important corollary from the doctrine of salvation through the death of Christ is given in Rom.v. 12-19, where CHRIST and ADAM are compared aschannels of influences, in opposite directions, reachingto all mankind. Manifestly Adam occupies a relationto the race altogether unique. He was the one fatherof all men. But Jesus was born in the midst of therace, a Son of Man, Himself a descendant of Adam.Consequently, the unique relation to the race assertedfor Him in this passage, as much superior to thatof Adam as is life to death, must be sought elsewhere than in flesh and blood. It can be foundonly, as already suggested by other lines of teaching,
 
LF.CT. XXV.] PAUL S CONCEPTION OF CHRIST. 219in His unique relation to God. A similar comparisonmeets us again in I Cor. xv. 47, where Paul assertsthat, whereas the first man Adam is " from earth,"the last Adam, the second Man, is "from heaven."This implies that His origin is as much above thatof Adam as is heaven above earth.In the third group of the Epistles of Paul, we readin Col. i. 16, 17 that "in Him were created all thingsin the heavens and upon the earth, the things visibleand the things invisible, whether thrones or lordships or principalities or authorities : all things havebeen created through Him and for Him. And He isbefore all things and in Him all things hold together."These words assert that in the hands of the Son of God sprang into being not only the human race butthe various ranks of angels, that the entire universein its various parts was CREATED BY His AGENCYand for His pleasure, Himself earlier than all andthe bond uniting all into one whole. He is thusearlier and immeasurably greater than the earliestand loftiest in heaven.In Col. i. 1 8 Paul goes on to say (as in Eph. i. 22,iv. 1 6) that the Creator of the universe is also HEADOF THE CHURCH, which is His body. In otherwords, He occupies towards all other human servantsof God a position of incomparable dignity like thatof the head above the other members of a livingbody. In Eph. v. 23, 24 His relation to the Churchis described as that of the r.RIDEGROOM who protectsto the bride who submits. This comparison implies220 THE SON OF GOD. [PART IV.that though most closely united to the Church Heis personally distinct from and superior to it.This picture of absolute superiority is maintainedin all that Paul says about Christ s relation to thespiritual life of His servants. IN THEM HE LIVESand dwells as the animating principle of their life :Rom. viii. 10, Gal. ii. 20, Eph. iii. 17. THEY LIVEIN HIM as their bulwark and home and vitalenvironment: Rom. viii. i, 2 Cor. v. 17, Eph. ii. 6.No conceivable relation of one man to anothercould justify this language. Its use by Paul revealsa conception of Christ infinitely superior to anythoughts of man about man.The above quotations reproduce very poorly theconception of Christ embodied in the letters of Paul.Only by careful and consecutive study of theseletters can we grasp this conception with any approach to completeness. From first to last we findin them no trace of familiarity or of that sense of equality which no human distinctions can altogetherobliterate. But we find everywhere profound reverenceas for a Master whom to serve is highest honour.The same portrait of Christ is presented again inthe EriSTLE TO THE HEBREWS. In Hcb. i. i, 2we read that God who spoke " in the prophets " hasnow spoken " in the Son." In ch. iii. 5, 6 " Christ

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