************ Sermon on Belgic Confession Article 10 ************
By: Rev. Robert Godfrey
This sermon was preached on August 23, 2009
Belgic Confession Article 10
"The Son of God"
Last Sunday we looked into the Trinity. This Sunday we'll be focusing on one person in the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus Christ is unique from the other persons of the Trinity due to the fact that He is both truly human and truly divine. Article 18 in the Belgic Confession deals with Christ's incarnation, so it takes a closer look at His humanity. Article 19 deals with how Christ's two natures His humanity and divinity relate to one another. But this evening we will be focusing on Article 10, so we will be focusing exclusively on the divinity of Jesus Christ.
So while we know Jesus Christ to be Son of God and Son of Man, tonight we ask the question: How is He the Son of God?
In v. 15 of Colossians chapter one we receive our answer. He is "the Image of the Father, the Firstborn, over all Creation." Here we are told that He bears his Father's image. We are told He is over all Creation. And that He is the Firstborn. Those are the three descriptions of Christ's divinity we will be considering this evening. That Christ is…
I. The Image of His Father.
II. Co-Creator with His Father.
III. Co-Eternal with His Father
I. The Image of His Father.
What does it mean to be the image of something? When something is an exact copy or duplicate it bears the image of the original. When something bears a resemblance of the original, it is said to bear its image, such as a child bearing the image of one of his/her parents.
Here in Colossians we're told that Christ bears the "Image of the Invisible." This is such and amazing statement. The image of the invisible seems to be such a contradiction in terms. An image immediately brings to mind the visible, but this statement of Paul's points away from the visible. It points to what the Belgic confession says:
That Christ is a reflection of God's glory, and that He is Like Him in all things.
A. Reflection of Glory
In Colossians 1:19 we're told that the "fullness of God, dwells in Him." One way in which this takes place is in the reflection of God's glory. Hebrews 1:3 states that "The Son is the radiance of God's glory." When we read these verses we understand who Christ truly is. All the glory of God that we see in scripture is Christ's. All praise and adoration ever ascribed to the Lord is ascribed to Jesus Christ. All this takes place because He is the very reflection of God's Glory. Furthermore, He is like Him in all things.
B. Like Him in All things
Hebrews 1:3 goes on to say that Christ is "the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." The Son is like the Father in all His attributes in His divinity. Just as God the Father is Holy, Just, Loving, Merciful, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, so too the Son as He is divine is Like Him in all these things.
Various descriptions of Christ that we are given in scripture support this claim. They point to His divine qualities to His incomprehensible glory. At His transfiguration, His appearance to Paul, His appearance in Revelation, we see glimpses of glory, of the Divine that are incomprehensible.
Furthermore, in all that Christ says, and all that He does throughout His ministry, He shows His perfect attributes that He shares with His Father in Heaven. Truly He bears the Image of His Father.
II. Co-Creator with His Father
We may also speak of Christ as the Co-Creator with His Father.
A. Remember the Offices
Remember what I said last week about the different offices preformed by the three persons of the Trinity. We see very clearly the distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by three clear offices.
God The Father – holds the office of Creator
God The Son – holds the office of Redeemer
God The Holy Spirit – holds the office of Sanctifier
Remember that we said that the view of these three offices help us to distinguish between the three persons of the Trinity. It helps us to focus on the distinct work of each person in the Trinity. That said…
B. Forget the Offices
Now what I mean by that is that we don't want to take these distinctions too far. We can never completely separate the work of the Father from that of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. To do so is to over-divide the persons and err on the side of making the three persons, three different gods…and even allowing a hierarchy of gods to be created.
We see here in the divinity of Christ where offices over-lap. Here Christ is called the creator. He is the Co-creator with His Father. This statement shows that Christ is indeed truly God.
Colossians 1:16 says, "all things were created by Him and for Him."
John 1:3 says, "through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was
made that has been made."
Hebrews 1:2 tells us that, "in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son,
whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe."
If Christ is the Image of His Father. If Christ is Creator with His Father. Then Certainly It must be said the Jesus Christ, the Son of God is truly God Himself. Finally we see the Son's divinity in the fact that He is also Co-Eternal with His Father.
III. Co-Eternal With His Father
In Colossians chapter one there are a few key phrases that point us to the eternity of Christ. In verse 15 he is called the "firstborn," and in verse 17 we are told "He is before all things." In these two verses I think we find both a question and an answer.
A. Couldn't He Be Created?
Couldn't these two statements mean that Christ is just the first piece of creation? He was created in the image of the Father. He created all else with the Father. But couldn't He then still be created by the Father?
That's what Arius thought. We talked a little bit about Him last week. He denied the view of the Trinity that we affirmed last Sunday evening. He made the statement "There was a time when He (meaning Christ) was not." His view would be condemned by the Nicene Council in 325 A.D.
And indeed this view hasn't ended. Look at today's Jehovah's Witnesses. They hold to a similar view that Christ was the first of all creation, and that by him all else was created.
So this has been and still is a very real question in the church. Couldn't Christ be created? To which we give the emphatic answer…
B. He Couldn't Be Created!
When we look at the statements from vv. 15 and 17 we must do so with the rest of scripture in mind. We must always be letting scripture interpret scripture. And when we see terms like "firstborn" and "before all things" we know that means eternity. We know that because we look elsewhere to passages like Hebrews 7:3 where we read that Christ is:
"Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."
Here we see Christ is like the Alpha and Omega. No beginning and no end. Here we see that He is truly Co-eternal with His Father, just as He bears His Father's image, and is Co-creator with His Father.
So what? So why is any of this important? Many of us have heard this before, why do we need to hear it again. Well, I'd like to leave you with four reasons.
First, The Bible Says So. This may seem a very simple reason, but considering that we've been looking at articles 2-7 of the Belgic Confession and they so stress the importance of scripture, this is a very important reason. The Bible is sufficient for us to know something as amazing as ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.' So it is important for us to understand that.
Second, It Shows Revelation is Completed. What I mean by that is simple. If Christ is truly the Son of God, we're waiting for nothing else. No more prophets need to come. No more apostles are needed. No more scripture will be written. This stands in the face of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and every other religion that would claim continuing revelation. If Christ is Lord, He is the final revelation.
Third, Our Salvation Depends Upon It. If Christ is not very God our faith is in vain. He must be divine for us to have salvation. Hear how the Heidelberg catechism puts it in Question and Answer 17
Why Must He also be true God?
So that by the power of His divinity, He might bear the weight of God's anger in His humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life."
Furthermore, II Corinthians 5:21 states: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
Fourth, and finally, We Worship Him. The article concludes with this point. Because Jesus Christ is the Image of His Father, the Creator, and Eternal God, He is worthy of our praise and adoration.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
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