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God the Son: The Trinitarian Character of Faith (Part 2), from Francis Cheynell

10 February, 2009

francis_cheynellThe faith of Christians delights to exercise itself upon God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God the Son is the object of our faith, John 14:1: ‘Ye believe in God; believe also in me’. Even the very Jews did believe in God; they who are Christians believe in Christ also. For this end the whole Gospel was written that men might be persuaded to believe that ‘Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’ (John 20:31), and that believing this grand point is necessary and effectual unto salvation is presently declared in the very same verse: ‘and that believing ye might have life through his name’:

And this is the record that God hath given to us, eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (see 1 John 5:12-13).

And if God give us an understanding to know this — the knowing of, believing and living in Jesus Christ the Son of God, the true God — [it] will be effectual unto life eternal:

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true — and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

It is for want of spiritual understanding if we do not discern that all our hopes of salvation are built upon the Sonship and Godhead of Jesus; we must believe in Christ as he is the natural and proper Son of God as he is the true God, the self-same God with the Father. We must believe in Christ as he is the natural and proper Son of God, because this is exactly answerable to that dear and fatherly relation of God the Father, of which we have discoursed so largely in this chapter. For as we are encouraged to believe in God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we are encouraged to believe in Christ as the natural Son of God: and therefore I have purposefully insisted on such scriptures as do evidently demonstrate this truth– that we are to believe on the name of the Son of God and to have life through his name (1 John 5:11-13, 20; John 20:31).

We are to believe in Christ as a Mediator, that our faith and hope may be settled in God: ‘who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, that your faith and hope might be in God’ (1 Peter 1:21). Now the great encouragement to believe in Christ as an all-sufficient mediator is this — Jesus Christ is the natural Son of God, and therefore if Christ will but present us to his Father, we are confident that the Son of God, his natural Son, his proper Son, his only begotten will prevail with his Father for us. His relation to God and his interest in God assures us that the intercession of our High Priest will be irresistible, undeniable. Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said unto him, Though art my Son, today have I begotten thee, as he said also in another place, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:5-6). We must for the understanding of this scripture compare three places together: ‘The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand…thou art a priest…’ (Psalm 110:1, 4); The LORD said, Thou art my Son, ask of me…’ (Psalm 2:2, 7-8): Ask what thou wilt, I can deny thee nothing, thou art my Son; it is thy birthright to be a priest, to ask and intercede. Other high priests were men of infirmity, but the Son who is consecrated and perfect forevermore is able by his powerful intercession ‘to save those to the uttermost who come unto God by him’ (Heb 7:25, 28). Nay all the offices of Christ are grounded on his Sonship: his kingly power, Psalm 2 (‘I have set my King’, etc., ‘thou art my Son’, verses 6-7). His prophetic power is grounded on his Sonship also, Matt 17:5 — And behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. I have promised that ye shall be all taught of God [cf. Joel 2], and therefore I send my own natural Son to teach and instruct you. He is the great Prophet and Tutor of the Church: hear ye him, and believe in him, for he is the true Messiah who is to teach you all things, and I have sent him on purpose to instruct you. ‘And this is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent’ (John 6:29)….

We must believe in Christ as God, the self-same God with the Father. When we know Christ to be God, we must glorify him as God by believing in him….When Peter preached to Cornelius, he told him that Jesus Christ was ‘Lord of all’ (Acts 10:36), ‘Judge of all’ (v. 42), and that ‘all the prophets gave witness to him, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins’ (v. 43). I need say no more but this:

He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (2 John 9); Every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11); The Father is glorified in the Son (John 14:13), and the Son is glorified in all those whom the Father has given him (John 17:10). And Christ is to be glorified by their believing in him (v. 23). The Father himself loves them, because they believe in the Son (John 16:27), and ‘he who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father’ (John 5:23).

The great mystery of uniting the soul to Christ by faith (Eph 5:32) and making of it one Spirit with the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 6:17) is a main fundamental of the mystery of godliness.

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