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SON OF GOD
There seem to be different senses in which God is a Father; or he is a Father of his creatures, on different planes. But there is no mother, on either plane. As the Creator of Angels and men, he is their Father, and they his sons, though on different planes.
That the Angels (Spiritual beings) are called sons of God, seems evident from several statements; for instance—Job 1:6 and 2:1; There was a day when the Sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
Also Job 38:7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy. Man is also a Son of God by creation. Luke 3:38 says, Adam was a Son of God.
Then there is a higher sense in which some are to become sons, not only on the spiritual plane, but immortal sons. Those, who present their bodies a living sacrifice, and thus suffer with Christ, are made partakers of the divine nature, and will be made in the express image of God’s person—Heb. 1:3. The body of their humiliation changed, and fashioned like Christ’s glorious body. Phil. 3:21. Has not the Son of God, been a Son, successively, in all of the three senses?
It would seem that he appeared to Abraham, vailed as a man, when the three men came to him in the heat of the day; Gen. 18:1,13,22; that he was with three Hebrews in the fiery furnace—Dan. 3:25; and Daniel saw him as a spiritual being, and fell as a dead man. Dan. 10. Unquestionably he was the beginning of the Creation, of God in his pre-existent state, whatever application may be made of Rev. 3:14.
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In due time he was born of a woman, and became a man; and was a son of God, as the first Adam—man—, was a son, as seems clear from Luke 1:35.
On that plane he was the second son; and gave himself a ransom for the first. The first man’s disobedience and death involved the whole human family in a state of death; the second man’s obedience unto death, secured for the same family justification to life—the same life that was lost. God sending his own son—son before he came—in the likeness of sinful flesh etc. Rom. 8:3.
The blood of Jesus Christ, his son—son after he came—cleanseth us from all sin. 1 Jno. 1:7.
Let us examine Phil. 2:5, on, in the light of the new Revision, text, and marginal reading by the American Committee.
Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God, a thing to be grasped; but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond servant, becoming in the likeness of men, etc.
Here is certainly a clear statement of his pre-existence in God’s form,—a spiritual being; yet not equal with him; and of a change of condition from a spiritual to a human being. He certainly was not immortal in either of these phases of his existence. If he had been, as a spiritual being, he could not have become a man; and as a man, he could not have died; but being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
Wherefore—because of this—God highly exalted him, and gave him a name-position and condition—which is above every name. He could not “grasp” it himself, but God exalted him; raised him from the dead, and now he is the express image of his Father’s person, or, being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purifications of sins—by his death,—sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high; having become, by so much, better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. Heb. 1:3,4.
Does not Paul have in mind these three phases or planes of sonship in Rom. 1:3,4? Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh; who was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.
Though we may not be able to explain all the mystery, yet it seems that on the last two planes, there was a begetting and birth. Now the birth of Jesus—the man—was on this wise; Mary … was found with child of the Holy Spirit—power of God— … that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. Matt. 1:18-21.
Again in Luke 1:35. And the Angel answered and said unto her; The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore, also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God. Out of Egypt I did call my Son. Luke 2:15. He grew in favor with God and man, and at the age of thirty, he made a covenant of death and expressed it by baptism; when the Holy Spirit came upon him. Through that Spirit he offered himself—his human nature and body—without spot to God—Heb. 9:14.—; and it became the germ of a new nature so when he was put to death in the flesh, he was made alive by the Spirit—1 Pet. 3:18; and became a quickening—life giving Spirit. 1 Cor. 15:45. The perfect natural man was crowned with glory and honor, Heb. 2:7, and lost it; but Jesus came to restore him. So he was crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God, he should taste of death for every man—Heb. 2:9; which shows that he did not take our fallen nature. 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. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
Was it the only begotten on the spiritual plane who died? We would say on the earthly.
The man Christ gave himself a ransom for all. 1 Tim. 2:5,6. Because he gave his human nature, his heavenly Father gave him the divine nature—because he gave his earthly body, God gave him a spiritual body. God gives to every seed its own body, as it hath pleased him. 1 Cor. 15:38.
He does with all who present their bodies a living sacrifice, as he did with Jesus. Having suffered with him, even unto death, they will be glorified with him, to become his body; the fullness or full development of him who is filling all things with all—Eph. 1:23. In brief, this completed Christ, having died and lived again, becomes Lord—Rom. 14:9;
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or Agelasting Father of the human family restored, by the “better sacrifice,”—Heb. 9:23, to the original condition of sons. These restored sons, instead of being required to sacrifice the human, to become partakers of the divine nature; are given each a hundred years to fully develop the human. Isa. 65.
B. W. KEITH.
— January And February, 1882 —