Dive230608 – God The Son

Welcome and thanks.

Tonight, in our Thursday DIVE, as we seek to go deeper ... we'll be looking at God The Son, the third Person in the Triune God (The Trinity).

By way of reminder ... we recall four conclusions we arrived at about God...

1.  There is only one God.  

2.  God is one Being.  

3.  God is one Being in three Persons.  

4.  The three Persons in the Godhead are distinct, but not separate.  

NOTE:  When used as adjectives, distinct means capable of being perceived very clearly, whereas separate means apart from (the rest).  Distinct is used when you want to say that something is obviously different from other things.

In the instant case, the Father is distinct from the Son, in the sense that He is different from the Son, but He is not separate from the Son.

Tonight, we continue our look at the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, as the second Person in the Godhead.

From the GCI website …

Grace Communion International believes that theology should be rooted in the Bible, especially the New Testament.  We see a reliable theology articulated by Irenaeus, Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzus, and more recently, Karl Barth, Thomas F. Torrance, and many others.  This theology is often referred to as Trinitarian Theology due to its emphasis on the relational nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Here is a summary of our core beliefs:

  1. The Father, Son, and Spirit are one God, united in love for one another.
  2. Jesus Christ, as the Word made flesh, is fully God and fully human.
  3. Jesus accurately reveals the goodness and love of God, and reveals humanity as God intended us to be.
  4. As our Creator, Jesus represented all humanity, and all people benefit from his vicarious humanity: his life, death, resurrection and ascension.
  5. Jesus Christ atoned for all sin and suffered its full consequence.
  6. God has in Christ reconciled all humanity to himself through his son, Jesus (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:14-19)  (However, universal atonement should not be equated with universalism.)
  7. The judgment of God against evil has been executed in Jesus Christ so that all might repent and receive forgiveness and, through the Holy Spirit, share in Christ’s resurrected, eternal life.
  8. People are exhorted to respond to this reconciliation and participate in the life for which we were all created.
  9. Jesus, as the nexus of divinity and humanity, has enabled humanity to parti­cipate in the life and love of the Trinity, which was God’s intent from before the beginning of time.


From the Nicene Creed (325 AD)

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christthe only-begotten Son of Godeternally begotten of the FatherGod from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made. 

For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.  

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilatehe suffered death and was buried.   On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.  

From The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

From The GCI Statement of Beliefs (2009)

The Son of God is the second Person of the triune God, eternally begotten of the Father.  He is the Word and the express image of the Father.  The Father created all things through the Son, and the Son sustains all things by his word.  

He was sent by the Father to be God revealed in the flesh for our salvation, Jesus Christ.  Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, two natures in one Person.  

He is the Son of God and Lord of all, worthy of worship, honor and reverence. 

As the prophesied Savior of humanity, he suffered and died for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven.  

Taking on our broken and alienated humanity, he has included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father, so that in his regeneration of our humanity we share in his sonship, being adopted as God’s own children in the power of the Spirit.  

As our representative and substitute, he stands in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father.  

He will come again in glory as King of kings over all nations.   

What if Jesus Christ is not God?

Before we look at the implications if Jesus Christ is NOT God, let us note what it would mean if there is no resurrection ...

1 Corinthians 15:12-18

The Risen Christ, Our Hope

12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise.  16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futileyou are still in your sins!  18 Then also those who have [c]fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 

Our hope is in our future resurrection ... in the fact that we believe we will be resurrected in the future.

But the resurrection is only a source of hope for us because our resurrection is linked to Christ's resurrection.

And Christ's resurrection is only effective because Jesus Christ is God.

IF Jesus Christ is not God, THEN His resurrection would have been for His benefit alone.

IF Jesus Christ is not God, THEN His resurrection would not have mattered (even if He had somehow managed not to have sinned).

3.1 Who is God the Son?

The Son of God is the second Person of the Trinity, eternally begotten of the Father.

Like the Father, there never was a time when the Son did not exist.

The Son is the eternal Word and the express image of the Father.

The Father created all things through the Son, and the Son sustains all things by his Word.

He was sent by the Father to be Jesus Christ -- God revealed in the flesh -- for our salvation.

  • John 1:1, 10, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • Colossians 1:15-17  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
  • Hebrews 1:1-3    God, who [a]at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,   
  • John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Comment:  Note that the question asks “Who is God the Son?”   The Son is just as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit are.   Jesus is not a lesser God or a created being.  He is fully God.

3.2 What do Christians believe in confessing their faith in Jesus Christ as "God's only Son"?

That without ceasing to be the uncreated Son of God, the eternal Son was sent by God the Father “from above” to do a unique work in the Spirit as a true human being, here “below.”

There is only one eternal Son of God by nature.

We become the adopted children of God by the grace of the only eternal Son of God, sharing in the gift of his sonship.

  • Luke 3:21-22  When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”  
  • Luke 12:49-50  “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!  
  • John 8:23  And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.  


Comment:  While we are sons and daughters of God, we are not eternal like Christ.  His sonship and his work as a human pave the way for our adoption as children ... but we are not sons and daughters in the same way that Christ is the “Son.”   When Jesus became human he didn’t cease to be God.

3.3 How do Christians understand the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?

No one else will ever be God incarnate.

No one else can reconcile God and humanity in his own Person.

No one else can make us sons and daughters of God except the Son of God.

No one else will ever die for the sins of the world, judge all sin, and overcome all evil and the death it brings.

Only Jesus Christ is such a Person.

Only he could do such a work, and he has done it.

Jesus Christ is himself the only true mediator between God and humanity.

  • Isaiah 53:5    But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,  And by His stripes we are healed. 
  • John 1:29    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Colossians 1:15- 20  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.   
  • 1 Timothy 2:5    For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,


Comment:  It’s very important that we understand that it is Christ who is unique and not the Church.  The Church is not the savior or the way to salvation ... Christ is.

3.4 What does the Creed mean when it says that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary"?

First, that being born of a woman, Jesus was truly a human being.

Second, that our Lord's incarnation was a supernatural, holy event, brought about solely by the free divine grace of the Holy Spirit, surpassing any human possibilities.

Third, that from the beginning of his life on earth, Jesus was set apart by his unique origin that joined his divine nature with human nature in the womb of Mary, all for the sake of accomplishing our salvation.

  • Luke 1:31, 35  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus ... 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  
  • Hebrews 2:14  Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil
  • Philippians 2:5-7   Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesuswho, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with Godbut made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  


Comment:  Jesus was a union of human and divine.  As God he took on our humanity in himself.  As God he experienced life as a human being in the way that we do.  He fully experienced the temptation all humans experience.

3.5 What do Christians affirm when they confess their faith in Jesus Christ as their "Lord"?

That having been raised from the dead, Jesus Christ reigns with compassion and justice over all things in heaven and on earth ... especially over those who confess him by faith ... and that by trusting, loving and serving him above all else, we give glory and honor to God.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  
  • Revelation 11:15    Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The [a]kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!
  • Ephesians 1:20-23  which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  
  • Philippians 2:9-11    Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  


Comment:  The term “Confess your faith” means more than just telling people about Christ.  It means being able to tell people in detail what you believe about him and how that affects your values and lifestyle.  To “affirm” means to state without doubt.  When you affirm, you mean it!

3.6 What is the significance of affirming that Jesus Christ is “true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father”?

Only God deserves worship and only God can reveal to us who God is.

Only God can save us from our sins, forgive us, rescue us from all evil and bring about a new heaven and earth.

Only God can make us truly and eternally his beloved children.

Being truly one in being with the Father, Jesus meets these conditions.

As true God, Jesus, the Son incarnate, is the proper object of our worship as the self-revelation of God and the Savior of the world.

  • John 20:28  And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!
  • Matthew 11:27  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him
  • 1 John 4:14    And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.


Comment:  Jesus is just as much God as the Father.  Jesus was not made or created or born in the sense that there was a time that he didn’t exist. (There was never a time when Jesus did not exist.)   Rather, Jesus is eternal, as is the Father.

3.7 What is the significance of affirming that Jesus is also “truly human”?

Being truly human, Jesus entered fully into our fallen situation and overcame it from within.

By his pure obedience of faith in his Father, he lived in unbroken unity with God, even to the point of accepting a violent death.

As sinners at war with grace, this is precisely the kind of life we fail to live.

When we accept him and what he has done for us by faith, Jesus by his Holy Spirit removes the alienation our disobedience causesclothes us with his perfect righteousness,  and restores us to the right relationship with God that he worked out in his humanity and earthly life.

  • Hebrews 2:17-18  Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  18 For (Because) in that He Himself has suffered, being [a]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.  
  • Hebrews 4:15   For (Because) we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • Hebrews 5:8-9   though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,  
  • Romans 5:19    For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.


Comment:  Because Jesus was human he was able to live the sort of life that we are not able to.  Alienation means isolation or distance or separation, but it’s a perceived isolation, because in reality God never stops loving us.  Sin prevents us from accepting it and makes us feel distanced.

3.8 How can Jesus be both truly God and truly human?

The mystery of Jesus Christ's divine-human unity surpasses our understanding; only faith given to us by the Holy Spirit enables us to affirm it.

When the Bible depicts Jesus as someone with divine power, status and authority, it presupposes his humanity.

When the Bible depicts Jesus as someone with human weakness, neediness and mortality, it presupposes his deity.

Though we cannot understand how this could be, we can trust that the God who made heaven and earth and fashioned humanity according to his image revealed in his Son, is free to become God incarnate and thus to be God with us in this wonderful, awe-inspiring way.

  • Mark 1:27  Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this?  For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
  • Mark 4:41  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
  • Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  
  • Luke 22:44  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
  • John 1:1-5, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GodHe was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it . . . 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  
  • Job 5:9  Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number.  


Comment:  In simple terms we can’t really explain this concept.  It’s something that God helps us to accept and believe.  presuppose is to assume that something is already in place.  So, when we talk of Jesus as a man we do it assuming that he is still God and vice versa.

3.9 Was the covenant that God made with Abraham everlasting?


The covenant, made first with Abraham, was extended to Israel, then expanded, confirmed and fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.

By faith in Jesus, Gentiles were welcomed into the covenant with God, thus confirming the promise that through Israel, God's blessing would come to all peoples.

Although, for the most part, Israel has not yet accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the God who has reached out to unbelieving Gentiles will not fail to show mercy to Israel as his people in an everlasting covenant.

  • Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord has appeared [a]of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting loveTherefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  
  • 2 Samuel 23:5  “Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.  For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase? (See Genesis 12:-3; 13:15)
  • Romans 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.


Comment:  The covenant made with Abraham pointed the way to Christ.

Question:  Why does it matter whether the covenant was everlasting or not?

3.10 How did God use Israel to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus?

When God extended the covenant to Israel, God said they would be his people and he would be their salvation.

He also promised that through them all the peoples of the earth would be blessed.

Therefore, no matter how often Israel turned away from God, God still cared for them and acted on their behalf.

God sent them prophets to declare God's Word, priests to lead them in worship and to make sacrifice for the people's sins, and kings to rule justly in the fear of God, upholding the poor and needy, and defending the people from their enemies.

  • Genesis 17:3-4  Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  
  • Exodus 6:4-5   I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.  And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.  
  • Galatians 3:14   that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
  • Jeremiah 30:22   You shall be My people, And I will be your God.’ ”  
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10   But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.  
  • Zechariah 1:6   Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers?   “So they returned and said: ‘Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us.’ ” ’ ” 
  • Leviticus 5:6     and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.
  • Psalm 72:1, 4   Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s Son . . . He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.  


Comment:  God’s faithfulness to Israel despite their faithlessness to him created the society into which Jesus was born.  God also used Israel to create and preserve the scriptures.

Question:  What do we learn about God's character through His covenant relationship with Israel?

(Scroll down to see a possible answer)


He is faithful ... even when we are faithless ...

2 Timothy 2:13  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.  
3.11 Why was the title "Christ" applied to Jesus?

Christ” means “anointed one.”

Israel’s prophets, priests and kings were anointed and their offices culminated in Jesus.

By fulfilling the offices of prophet, priest and king, Jesus transformed them.

In doing so he fulfilled Israel's election for the sake of the world.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:20  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
  • Acts 10:37-38  that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.  
  • Luke 4:17-19   And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”   

Comment:   The term “Christ” was applied to Jesus because he embodied all the characteristics of a king, priest and prophet rolled into one.  He was the longed for Savior and Redeemer Israel had hoped for.

3.12 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of prophet?

Jesus was God's Word to a dying and sinful world; he embodied the love he proclaimed.

His life, death and resurrection became the great “yes” that continues to be spoken despite how often we have said “no” to God.

When we receive this Word by faith, Christ enters our hearts that he may dwell in us forever, and we in him.

  • Acts 3:20, 22   and that He may send [a]Jesus Christ, who was [b]preached to you before . . . For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren.  Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.   (See Matthew 17:1-5) 
  • John 1:18   No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten [a]Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.  
  • Ephesians 3:17-19  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Comment:  The job of a prophet was to speak to the people for God and tell them what he wanted.  Jesus was a prophet because his life sent a message to Israel telling them of God’s love.

Hebrews 1:1-2  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds ....

3.13 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of priest?

As the lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, Jesus was both our priest and sacrifice.

Confronted by our hopelessness in sin and death, he interceded by offering himself in order to reconcile us to God.

Jesus now mediates all the things of God to us and our responses back to God.

He even mediates and leads in our worship.

  • Hebrews 4:14   Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
  • John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Hebrews 2:17   Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
  • Ephesians 1:7   In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Comment:  The role of a priest is different from a prophet.  A priest intercedes for humanity to God i.e. a priest speaks to God on behalf of people.  He presents our case.

1 Timothy 2:5   For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus ....

3.14 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of king?

Jesus was the Lord who took the form of a servant, perfecting royal power in temporal weakness.

With no sword but the sword of righteousness, and no power but the power of God’s holy love, Christ defeated sin, evil and death by reigning from the cross.

He continues to reign at God’s right hand.  He is Lord over all authorities and powers whether earthly or heavenly, natural or human, private or political.

  • John 19:19  Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  
  • Philippians 2:5-8   Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesuswho, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with Godbut [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:25    Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  • John 12:32  And I, if I am [a]lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 
  • Hebrews 1:8   But to the Son He says:Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Comment:  Christ rules very differently from earthly kings.  He is first and foremost a servant.  It’s important that the Church, the body of Christ reflects this type of leadership.

At His first coming, Jesus' "crown" was made of thorns ... and His "throne" was the wooden cross that He was nailed to.

3.15 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Jesus "was crucified under Pontius Pilate"?

First, that Jesus was rejected and abused by the religious and secular rulers of his day.

His lordship was a threat to all evil powers and authorities since his righteousness exposed their injustice.

Jesus’ death at the hands of these authorities provided a display that exposed the guilt of all humanity in all times and places.

Second, and even more importantly, though innocent, Jesus submitted to condemnation by an earthly judge so that through him we, though guilty, might be acquitted before our just heavenly Judge.

  • Luke 18:32  For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.
  • Isaiah 53:3   He is despised and [a]rejected by men, a Man of [b]sorrows and acquainted with [c]grief  and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;  He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.    
  • Psalm 9:9  The Lord also will be a refuge[a] for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  
  • Luke 1:52  He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.  
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  • 2 Timothy 4:8   Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Comment:  Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, at a specific time and place, but the significance of his death extends to all times and places.  Scripture describes it in several ways: he died for us, he died for our sins, and we died with him.

3.16 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Jesus “suffered death and was buried"?

That Jesus died, just like we do, showing that there is no sorrow he has not known, no grief he has not borne, and no price he was unwilling to pay to reconcile us to God.

Jesus’ real death (confirmed by his burial) shows that he has taken on the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death.

Rather than shrinking back, he endured death in order to overcome it.

There is nothing we go through, not even death, that Jesus cannot redeem.

  • Matthew 26:38-39  Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.  Stay here and watch with Me.”  39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  
  • Isaiah 53:5   But He was wounded[a] for our transgressions, He was [b] bruised for our iniquitiesThe chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes[c] we are healed.   
  • Galatians 3:13   Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
  • Hebrews 2:9    But we see Jesus, who was made [a]a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19    that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Comment:  The Creed says he “suffered death and was buried” but the statement is deeper and more profound than many of us imagine.

3.17 Why did Jesus have to suffer as he did?

Because grace is more abundant, and sin more serious, than we suppose. 

However cruelly we may treat one another, all sin is primarily against God. 

God condemns sin, yet never judges apart from grace. 

In giving Jesus to die for us, God took the burden of our sin into himself, where he judged it and removed it once and for all. 

The cross in all its severity reveals an abyss of sin endured and swallowed up by the suffering of divine love.

Undoing sin and its consequences involves great cost to God — the price Jesus paid to make all things right, a price he willingly paid “for the joy that was set before him.”  

  • Psalm 51:4   Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — That You may be found just [a]when You speak, and blameless when You judge.  
  • Romans 8:1, 3-4    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit . . . 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18   For the [a]message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:8   Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
  • Colossians 1:20    and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
  • James 2:13   For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
  • Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Comment:  Sometimes because we are sheltered or don’t experience certain things we don’t often realize the depravity and cruelty that occurs in the world.  But the suffering on the cross lays bare the depth of the pain and agony that Jesus endured to heal.

I’d just add … Sin has consequences other than death.  Sin doesn’t just cause death … Sin causes suffering (pain, sorrow, etc.).  Christ paid for everything that sin causes – suffering, as well as death.

3.18 What does the Creed affirm in saying about Jesus that "on the third day he rose again"?

That our Lord could not be held by evil and the power of death. 

Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus overcame all evil and its ultimate consequence, renewing and restoring human nature to reach God’s intended purposes for all human beings. 

Jesus rose triumphant from the grave in a new, exalted kind of human life. 

In showing his followers the scars on his hands, feet and side, the one who was crucified revealed himself to them as the living Lord and Savior of the world.

  • Acts 2:24  whom God raised up, having [a]loosed the [b]pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  
  • Luke 24:36-40   Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”  37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.  38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?  39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 [a] When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
  • John 20:15-18 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
  • She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

    16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

    She turned and said to [a]Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

    17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

    18 Mary Magdalene came and told the [b]disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.  

  • 1 Corinthians 15:5-8  and that He was seen by [a]Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have [b]fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.   
  • John 20:27    Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Comment:  When the Church Fathers crafted the Creed to say “rose on the third day,” it has a deep level of meaning, much deeper than we initially anticipate.  It’s not just about a physical resurrection.  Some words and phrases carry weight.  For example, the term “marriage.”  Its meaning is much more than just a legal ceremony, it encompasses the impact of the union of two people.  


3.19 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Christ "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father" and that he will “come again in glory”?

Forty days after his bodily resurrection, Jesus was taken up bodily and visibly into heaven to be with the Father.

He did not leave his human nature behind, but remains fully human, though now glorified. 

One with us and with the Father, Jesus is the one mediator between human beings and God. 

As one of us, he continues his intercessions on our behalf. 

Though now visibly hidden from us, Jesus is not cut off from us in the remote past, nor is he in a place from which he cannot reach us. 

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is present to us by grace.

From heaven he reigns with the authority of the Father, protecting us, guiding us, and interceding for us until he returns visibly and bodily to earth in glory. 

We now live between the times of his first and second advents, awaiting his return.  

  • Acts 1:6-11   Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be [a]witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”      Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” 
  • Colossians 3:1    If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
  • 1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
  • Hebrews 7:25  Therefore He is also able to save [a]to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.


Comment:  Look at 1 Timothy 2:5.  You may not have noticed this but the scripture tells us that Jesus is still a man, that is he still retains his humanity even at the right hand of God.  


3.20 What does the Creed mean when it says that Jesus, when he returns in glory, will “judge the living and the dead”?

Scripture teaches that all humans will stand in the general resurrection before the judgment seat of Christ. 

The Judge before whom they will stand is the one who submitted to God’s judgment for our sake. 

By him our sin is identified and judged as evil, and in him it is condemned to obliteration so that we can be separated from our sin and be saved in him from evil’s ultimate destruction. 

That is the grace of God’s judgment in Jesus Christ.

  • John 5:22  For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,   
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
  • Romans 14:10-11    But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of [a]Christ. 11 For it is written:  

    As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”   

3.21 What will be the results of such a judgment?

Standing personally before the One who is their Lord and Savior, everyone will give an answer as to whether they will bow to him willingly and enter the kingdom of God prepared for them, or unwillingly bow and refuse to enter and exist under his gracious lordship forever. 

Thus, there will be a final separation of all those who repent and acknowledge their sin and their need for grace to deliver them from sin and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, and those who refuse to repent and receive God’s grace.  

  • Philippians 2:10-11    that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   
3.22 What will be the spiritual condition of those who refuse to acknowledge their need for forgiveness, refuse to repent and confess their sin, and despise God’s grace for them in Jesus Christ?

All those who refuse will have rejected God’s righteous and merciful judgment in Christ, and the separation of themselves from their sin that is available in Christ.  They will have come to the place of knowingly and deliberately blaspheming or repudiating the Spirit who draws them and extends to them forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God accomplished for them by Jesus according to the Father’s will.  Clinging to their sin in pride, they will condemn God and justify themselves against God, charging God with being evil.

  • Matthew 12:32    Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
  • Hebrews 2:3    how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
  • Hebrews 4:1-2    Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, [a]not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.   
  • Hebrews 6:3-6  And this [a]we will do if God permits.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, [b]if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 
  • Hebrews 10:36-39    For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

    37 “For yet a little while, And He[a] who is coming will come and will not [b]tarry.  38 Now the[c] just shall live by faith;   But if anyone draws back,  My soul has no pleasure in him.”   

    39 But we are not of those who draw back to [d]perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.


Comment:  This describes a situation where a person knowingly and deliberately rejects Christ.  This is not a situation where a person is deceived or confused. This is an informed or consciously chosen decision.


3.23 What will be the ultimate consequences for those who self-righteously repudiate and despise God and all his benefits in Jesus Christ?

Repudiating God’s grace to deliver them from evil, bound to their sin, they will experience the ultimate condemnation of evil.  They will experience this condemnation, not so much because of their sins, but because of their refusal to repent and the rejection of the grace extended to them through the merciful judgment executed upon sin for them in Jesus Christ.  

  • 2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:14   For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.  
  • Acts 17:31  because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
  • Romans 8:38-39  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  
  • 1 John 4:17   Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:12-15    Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.   
  • Acts 10:42  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.


Comment:  While God never stops loving people, it looks like there will be some sort of final separation from God.  This is not driven by God’s desire to punish but the outcome of a final and blanket refusal to acknowledge Christ and the grace that he offers.  If someone freely chooses not to be included, God is not going to force him or her to be so.  


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