God the Son


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 God revealed in the flesh for our salvation, Jesus Christ.
  • (John 1:1, 10, 14; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:3; John 3:16)

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; Luke 12:49-50; John 8:23)

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 true 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; John 1:29; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 2:5)

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; Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:5-7)

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; Revelation 11:15; Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11)

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; Matthew 11:27; 1 John 4:14)

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 causes, clothes 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; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:8-9; Romans 5:19)

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 presuppose 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; Mark 4:41; Matthew 28:18; Luke 22:44; John 1:1,2-5,14; Job 5:9)

Was the covenant that God made with Abraham everlasting?

  • Yes. 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; 2 Samuel 23:5; Romans 11:29)

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; Exodus 6:4-5; Galatians 3:14; Jeremiah 30:22; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Zechariah 1:6; Leviticus 5:6; Psalm 72:1, 4)

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; Acts 10:37-38; Luke 4:17-19)

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; John 1:18; Ephesians 3:17)

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; John 1:29; Hebrews 2:17; Ephesians 1:7)

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; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 1:25; John 12:32)

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; Isaiah 53:3; Psalm 9:9; Luke 1:52; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:8)

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; Isaiah 53:5; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:19)

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; Romans 8:1,3-4; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 5:8; Colossians 1:20; James 2:13; Hebrews 12:2)

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; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Luke 24:36-40; John 20:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8; John 20:27)

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; Colossians 3:1; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25)

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; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-11)

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)

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; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 4:1-2; Hebrews 6:3-6; Hebrews 10:36-39)

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; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Acts 17:31; Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 4:17; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Acts 10:42)


From The GCI Statement of Beliefs:

  • 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.


Concerning our union with Jesus Christ

  • Addressing the topic of the Son of God will often lead to questions concerning Jesus’ union with the Father (and the Spirit), and Jesus’ union with humanity. Here are some notes concerning three types of union that will help you answer these questions:

1.  The union of the three divine Persons (the ontological union)

  • The Nicene Creed addresses the union of the Son of God with the Father by saying that the Son is “of one Being with the Father.” That phrase, which in Greek is homoousios to Patri, is of great consequence in the Creed and thus in the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Homoousios means of one being (or of one substance).
  • In saying that Jesus is of one being with the Father, the Creed is declaring that both the Father and the Son (Jesus) are God (and later creeds say the same for the Spirit).
  • In short, the three Persons of the Trinity share the one Being of God. Theologians call this union of the Godhead the ontological union (a union pertaining to God’s Being).

2.  The union of God and humanity in Jesus Christ (the hypostatic union)

  • A fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith is the Incarnation. Through the Incarnation, the eternal Son of God maintained his eternal divine nature while assuming to himself our human nature. In doing so, the Son of God remained fully one with God (divine) while becoming fully human.
  • In this way, through the union of the two natures in the one Person of the eternal Son of God, God was joined to humanity in Jesus Christ. This union is referred to by theologians as the hypostatic union.
  • Because of the hypostatic union and all it means, GCI declares that all are included (and the related phrase, you’re included). By these phrases we mean that in and through Jesus Christ, God has reconciled all humanity to himself. God is not estranged from humanity; he has included all people in his love and life.
  • In and through the humanity of Jesus, God has set humankind on a new footing with himself. Jesus is the Head of all humanity and on that basis alone, we are to “be reconciled” to God, that is, we are to live out or live into that gift of reconciliation with God already given in Christ
  • (Eph. 1:10; Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:22; 45-47; 2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Does the hypostatic union mean that God and humanity have, in Christ, been fused into a common or shared being?

    • In the Incarnation, God did not turn into a man, nor was humanity converted into God (or some sort of divine being). In Jesus, the two natures (divine and human) remain distinct — they are not fused or confused with one another. Nor did the unity of the two natures in Jesus result in a third kind of being that was neither God nor human. Rather than an impersonal fusion of being, the hypostatic union is a dynamic and personal unity — the perfect harmonization of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ.

What happened to human nature as the result of the hypostatic union?

    • Our human nature, under the conditions of the fall (i.e. our fallen human nature), was assumed and then turned around, renewed and regenerated in Jesus, step-by-step through the course of his entire human life — from conception, through life, death, resurrection and ascension.
    • Jesus’ whole life was thus salvific (of saving value), culminating in the cross and resurrection as he lived a life of faithful obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in perfect holy and loving communion with the Father.
    • This could happen only in the Son of God who remained what he was (divine) while assuming to himself also what was ours — our human nature.
    • Thus, our whole salvation was complete and finished in Jesus Christ
    • (Titus 3:5; Luke 2:52; Heb. 5:8; 2:11; John 17:19; 1 Cor. 1:30).

3.  The union of God with believers (the spiritual union)

  • Because of the regeneration of human nature in Jesus, who is the new Head of humanity, the Holy Spirit is able to minister in a new and deeper way in the lives of all people so that they might share in the new human nature forged for them in Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Spirit thus works out in us what Christ has accomplished for us.
  • By the Holy Spirit, we can share in the Son’s relationship of sonship with the Father, and so by grace become God’s adopted children who live in communion with the Father through the Son (Ephesians 2:15).
  • In the New Testament, our personally receiving and sharing in the Son’s communion with the Father is called union with Christ, or being in Christ, or being in the Lord. Through that union (which in GCI we refer to as the spiritual union) believers, in and by the Holy Spirit, share in what was accomplished by Jesus in the hypostatic union.
  • The Holy Spirit thus acts and ministers on the basis of the hypostatic union to establish the spiritual union by which individuals personally respond and freely receive the freely-given gift of our salvation that, already, is complete in Christ.


* To learn more about the distinctions between these three types of union, and the related topic of the differences between believers and unbelievers, see GCI’s essay Clarifying Our Theological Vision


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