He is God’s only Son; the visible image of the invisible God. The fullness of Deity dwells in the Son, for He received it from the Father. The Father gave Him to have life in Himself and authority over people.
Fullness of Deity
“It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Col. 1:19). More specifically, “all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).
“Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26), “so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21).
“The Father … has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35). He has “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2). The Son has “authority to execute judgment” (John 5:27). As stated in Matthew 25:31-33,
“when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”.
Only Begotten Son of God
Paul referred to Jesus as “His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). Similarly, during His baptism, God called Him “My beloved Son” (Mat. 3:17). Jesus also called Himself the “Son of God” (Mat. 16:16, 17; 27:43; John 9:35-37; 10:36).
Human believers are also called “sons of God” (Luke 20:35-36; 1 John 3:1; Phil. 2:15; John 1:12; Mat 5:9; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:19; Galatians 3:26). Also Adam and certain heavenly beings are also called sons of God (Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Luke 3:38). However, Jesus is not only the Son of God; He is “the only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14; cf. 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9 – NASB). The Greek word translated “only begotten” is monogenés, and means one of its kind. The NIV translates this phrase as the “One and Only”:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …” (John 3:16 – NIV).
“He sent his one and only Son into the world” (1 John 4:9 – NIV).
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father” (John 1:14 – NIV)
There are many created sons, but only one begotten Son. He, as Son of God, has no brethren. He is God’s Son in a unique sense. God made all things through Him. He is very different from the created sons of God. He is the only “Son of God”, with a capital “S”
Image of the invisible God
God is unknowable, invisible and incomprehensible. He “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). Human beings cannot comprehend a Being that is everywhere, that exists without cause, and is not limited by time and space.
“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). The Son “is the (visible) image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). When Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father“, Jesus responded:
“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8-9)
He is God’s visible face and the God’s audible voice; the Word of God (John 1:1, 14). His Son in all respects looks exactly like His Father. Since the Father is invisible, He does not physically look like the Father, but the Son “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His (God’s) nature” (Hebr. 1:3). In His Son, appearing in a form that we can comprehend, God becomes known, visible and audible to the creatures of this universe.
In previous articles it was shown that God is one, that the Bible clearly and consistently distinguishes between God and His Son, and in various ways says that the Father is greater that the Son:
Jesus said it Himself.
God made all things through the Son.
“The fullness of Deity dwells in Christ”, but He received it from the Father (Col. 1:19; 2:9).
He has “authority over all flesh” because “the Father … has given all things into His hand”.
He is God’s “only begotten” Son.
He has “life in Himself”, but the Father gave the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
He is the visible image of the invisible God.
These things indicate the Father’s supremacy over the Son, but in the next article it will be shown that the Son is called God, and that He is worshiped.
This is the third in a series of seven:
(1) The three views of the Son of God.
(2) God is One, the Son contrasted with God and the Father is greater than the Son.
(3) What the Son does: He made and still Upholds all things by the word of His power.
(4) What the Son is: Fullness of Deity
(5) The Son is worshiped.
(6) The Son is Yahweh of the Old Testament.
(7) Conclusion: Is He created, derived or eternally co-equal?