The Church and the Holy Trinity: God the Son
When we think about God’s dealings with us our mind is drawn to the Son. At Jesus’ baptism the Father said, “This is my beloved Son.” Three years later Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” How does he relate to us, and we to him?
How the Son relates to us
Job longed for someone who could “lay his hand upon us both.” Here he is – God and man, two natures in one person forever. The apostle John wrote, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him” (John 1:18). “There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).
Jesus is identical to the Father in every respect – “in the form of God” (Phi 2:6). He is also truly human – born of Mary. “He had to be made like his brothers in every respect” (Heb 2:17). And that means he is able to support the tempted.
Relating as Redeemer
The Old Testament spoke about God “saving” his people. Jesus said the Father had not sent him into the world to condemn the world, “but that the world through him might be saved” (Jn 3:17). Our salvation involves having our sin taken away and being freed from its power and consequences. So Jesus said he had come “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mat 20:28); and John the Baptist described him as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Son of God presents himself to us as our Redeemer.
Jesus tells us the Father’s will for our salvation. He is the “Word” who was in the beginning with God. “No one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come unto me ... and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:27-28). Since he has done everything necessary for our salvation he tells us, “this is the will of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). Hence the importance of the Apostles’ writings – they convey the teaching of Jesus, which the Father gave him.
Part of his function is to represent his people. We are either “in Adam”, or “in Christ”. Either we are fallen (in Adam), or we are righteous (in Christ). He represented his people before God when He presented himself to God at the cross – “He bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). So an Apostle writes, “If one died for all, then all died...” (2 Cor 5:14).
He continues to represent them in heaven. He is the “Lamb in the midst of the throne” (Rev. 5:6). Their ongoing sins are disregarded when they confess them, for “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Although he resides in heaven He operates on the earth. He is “King of kings, and Lord of Lords” (Rev 19:16). All power in heaven and earth has been given to him (Mat 28:18). He receives from his Father “gifts for men”. Through those gifts, and by his Spirit, He enlarges and strengthens his church on earth. In those and other ways He carries out the Father’s plans for the world.
Since he is the Saviour of sinners he invites people to come to him to receive God’s mercy and blessing. He does not discriminate against any, but his invitation is full and free. It goes even to the worst – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15). This is according to the Father’s will; he “now commands all men, everywhere, to repent” (Acts 17:30). That is how we first meet the Son of God. We realise our sin, and find that Jesus is the God-appointed Saviour. All else follows from that.
Relating as the husband of the Church
The Son of God has compassion on people whoever they are, and calls them to come to him for rest. But especially, he loves and values the people his Father has given him. “Yours they were, and you gave them to me” (John 17:6).
They are called “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev 21:9). That indicates a depth of affection that the best human marriage only faintly resembles. It involves a commitment that the crucifixion demonstrated, but could not end. The pity and loyalty of the Son of God are beyond comparison. And it suggests an intimacy that only a loyal spirit can enjoy – “one spirit with the Lord” (1 Cor 6:17). “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8).
All that he did he did for them. As the high Priest acted on behalf of his people, so the Son of God went to the cross for their sake. His prayers, his teaching, and his gospel provision is all for their benefit. At the end of the age he will return, and the main reason will be to “receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:3). If we believed that, we would marvel at his love for poor sinners and let ourselves enjoy it.
He provides for his people’s needs. He gives “enough to satisfy the needs of everything that lives” (Ps 145:16). He has “gifts for men”, so they can grow in the faith and in the knowledge of his love. In every challenge and temptation he is ready to give them what they require – “Grace upon grace” (John 1:16).
And he sometimes tells them his secrets. “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear him” (Ps 25:14). “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends, for a servant does not know what his master does; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15).
Our response to the Son
None less than God the Father has made people sharers with his Son – “who has called you into the fellowship of his Son” (1 Cor 1:9). His Word is telling every one of us to come and share with Christ Jesus. Those who do so receive many benefits from Christ’s store of good things – “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 13:14). “Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
They benefit from his obedience on their behalf, and his intercession for them. Do you believe the Son of God is praying for you constantly? Consequently they have the Holy Spirit at work in them to make them holy. They are children of God, and share the Spirit of God’s Son, prompting them to cry “Abba, Father!” Their work in this life is designed to give them a reward in the life to come – “sit with me in my throne, as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21).
“I dwell with him who is poor and of a contrite heart, and who trembles at my word” (Isa 66:2), Christ says. Since he dwells in his church and communicates by his Word and Spirit, it is our privilege and duty to dwell near to him. Listen; and respond. Hear; rejoice; and obey. “Pour out your heart to him” (Ps 62:8).
He involves his people in the project the Father gave him. He could save the world without any human involvement. But he has chosen to use his people, both to bring the gospel to the perishing, and to build up one another. They are “the body of Christ”. If we let his word “dwell in us richly”, we will find that he is using what we pray and do to the benefit of our fellow men.
The main way we are to relate to the Son of God is simply by believing in him. Everything else follows. If we do so we will ask for the things he has promised, and receive them. We will take comfort from his work and from his word. Indeed, it is our duty to do so. That honours him, for we are acknowledging that he is as merciful and as faithful as he says he is.
We honour him when we regard him as more valuable than anything else, than the whole world. Stephen regarded him as worth dying for (Acts 7) – men have died for less. We honour Him when we keep his word – still believing it although other things seem to contradict it – obeying it even when we do not want to. We honour Him when we use his name in our approach to God – believing the Father will accept us for his sake. We honour Him when we long for his return – both in his worship here, and at his return on the last day.
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”