Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What is the Life-Changing Result of Believing that Jesus is the Son of God?

When the apostles believed that Jesus was the Son of God, it changed their lives. When the Ethiopian Eunuch was converted, he stated that he believed with all his heart that Jesus was the Son of God, and this meant something to him.

When we as Americans state that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we view it so flippantly that we scarcely even consider what it means, much less consider it life-changing, or even imagine why it would be life-changing to someone. It is just something you hear in Sunday School. It’s just a piece of Christianese that we spout off. “Jesus is the Son of God. Of course I believe that.”

In the New Testament, believing that Jesus is the Son of God is practically synonymous with salvation. Over and over again, John says to believe on the name of the Son of God, and to his mind, that basically brings with it the whole package.

Therefore—Believing that Jesus is the Son of God means something. It comes with something. There is something significant about it. It’s not just a mental state of agreement with the concept of the incarnation.

In order to make the significance of this concept become more clear, let us consider the plain meaning of the words, emphasizing each one and considering its full weight.

Jesus is the Son of God.

Jesus, and no other, is the man who was God himself come to earth. 

Jesus, this man, is the Son of God. 

This man who lived a sinless life, who fulfilled all the prophecies, who healed people, walked on water, and multiplied the loaves and fishes, this is the Son of God. 

This man who chose 12 disciples, lived in humility and selflessness, and did only what the Father was doing, this is the Son of God. 

Who is the Son of God? 

None other than the man who walked through Gethsemane and Calvary, who lay dead in the tomb, and who arose victorious on the third day. 

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the sum total of the package we have to accept when we declare that he is the Son of God. 

Not just anyone is the Son of God. Not just any guy walking the face of the earth has the quality and distinction of being God in the flesh. It is JESUS, and we know who He is, what He did, and what happened to him.

Jesus is the Son of God.

As opposed to the idea that He is not.

Jesus is the Son of God.

Weeding out errors that he is "a" son of God (e.g. Mormonism).

Jesus is the Son of God.

To the disciples who knew his life, walked with him, and saw him eat, breathe, sleep, and sweat, this was the radical concept. 

He could have been just a man. He could have been just a prophet. He could have been just an exceptional individual. 

They had the chance to watch him, in the flesh and blood of his humanity, get jostled in crowds, get hungry, get dirty, and desperately need rest. He could have so easily been “just an exceptional guy.” So to them, as well as to people who never met him, like the Ethiopian Eunuch or you or me, there has to be something about him that tells us that this is not a mere mortal, this is God come in the flesh to visit mankind. 

This elusive something is just visible enough to be seen by those to whom God reveals it, and just hidden enough to keep others from ever seeing it. But once our eyes are opened and we realize that Jesus is God incarnate, it both demands something of us and offers something to us: 
  • If he is God, then we must do as He says. 
  • If He is God, then we must recognize that He is higher than we are. 
  • If He is God, then He has power that man has not. 
  • If He is God, then everything we know about God from the Old Testament is also true about Jesus, and everything we know about Jesus is also true about the God of the Old Testament. 
  • If Jesus is God, then what God said all along about sending a promised Messiah was true, and the Messiah was better than anyone could have ever dreamed, for we were looking for a military conquerer (who might indeed be great, like David or Alexander or Napoleon or Genghis Khan, but who would eventually die and things would go back to the way they were) and God sent us His very own self instead. 
  • If Jesus is God, then He has the power not to merely conquer armies, but to defeat the enemies in the heavenly realms—Satan, death, and sin. 
  • If Jesus is God, then the victory He won is for as long as He lives, which means that the blessing and privilege He bought for us is secure. 
  • If Jesus is God, then when it comes to the matter of bringing us to God, He knows how to do it, what God wants, where God is, and what has to happen for us to get there. 
  • If Jesus is God, then He knows what my problem is and how to solve it. 
  • If Jesus is God, then all the dynamite power and majesty of the Almighty God is His possession.

I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

When we declare that we believe that Jesus is God, it’s like we’re stating, “I’m in. I believe in God, as the Jews believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and I believe that this man, Jesus, is the concrete expression and visible image of God. Therefore, I will respect Jesus like I would respect God, dedicate my life to Jesus like I would dedicate my life to God, and obey Jesus like I would obey God. Everything Jesus wants, goes. Everything He did, everything He accomplished, has the weight and power and significance of an act of God.

"If a man died for me and rose again, what is that to me other than unsurpassed friendship and impressive power? If a man died for me and rose again, how does it help me to avoid my own death? It doesn’t. 

"But if God (!) died for me and rose again, then that is a matter of such cosmic importance I cannot go another moment without falling down before Him in worship and surrender. If God died for me and rose again, then what He was doing cannot have been other than a real solution and a massive expression of His love to me. 

"I believe that this man, Jesus, and all that He did, was the actual intervention of God on my behalf, and I accept it. 

"Incomprehensible magnificence! Breathtaking marvel! That God should come to me and offer me this: His Son, walking in my shoes, breathing air like me, doing God-sized acts during his life, and performing a God-orchestrated rescue in his death. 

"He doesn’t just offer me a charismatic leader, He offers me Himself. 

"He doesn’t just set up a well-run kingdom, He sets up the kingdom of heaven. 

"He doesn’t just indifferently declare my sin canceled and remain distant and aloof, he performs a preposterous act of devoted love in order to satisfy his justice and offer me his mercy at the same time. 

"What Jesus did—was God doing it. What God did for me through the work of Christ was the most beautiful, compelling, preposterous thing I’ve ever heard of, and I believe it is true, and I will walk in the reality of what that brings me. My life is changed. Everything He got for me is mine. Everything He did for me is real. Everything He says to me is true. Everything He is to me is better than gold, better than heaven itself.”

And that is why the declaration that Jesus is the Son of God is life-changing. 

This post is the result of studying all the instances of the phrase "Son of God" in Scripture. If you would like to study this yourself, and reap the unique benefits that God has in store for you, here are the references:

Daniel 3:25; Matthew 4:3, 6, 8:29, 14:33, 16:16, 26:63, 27:40, 43, 54; Mark 1:1, 3:11, 5:7, 15:39; Luke 1:32, 35, 3:38, 4:3, 9, 41, 8:28, 22:70; John 1:34, 49, 3:18, 5:25, 6:67-69, 9:35-37, 10:36, 11:4, 27, 19:7, 20:31; Acts 8:37, 9:20; Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 4:14, 6:6, 7:3, 10:29; 1 John 3:8, 4:15, 5:5, 10, 12, 13, 20; Revelation 2:18.

Further references (not an exact phrase match)
Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; Luke 3:22, 9:35; John 3:16-17; Acts 3:13, 26; Romans 1:9, 5:10, 8:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9, Galatians 4:4, 6; Hebrews 1:8, 1 John 4:9-10, 5:9, 11; 2 John 1:3.

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