(24) . . . his only Son, our Lord

Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son. His sonship was not a sometime thing. I believe that he came from God as life springs from life. Although he was always the same kind as God, he added to himself the created nature of humankind as well. From all eternity the Son was involved in the very being of the Father. I believe that God always thinks of himself and his ways with the world in terms of his Son. When God looks in the mirror, he sees Jesus. When God created the universe, he had in mind specific purposes enwrapped in his Son and saw in him a shining vision of what the world’s future, with him in it, could be. If the Spirit of the Son could dwell in men, they too could be called sons of God and he could take them into his family. I believe that, in Jesus Christ, God has given us the way to become no less than sons of God, with a share in God’s eternal future.

Jesus Christ is far more than most men give him credit for. I never feel right when someone calls him “a great teacher.” He certainly was that. But a teacher who leads people to believe that he is the Son of God come to save the world, when he is only a mere man, shouldn’t be allowed to teach anybody. Nor do I see how anyone can even call Jesus “the best man who ever lived” if he deceived people into thinking he was the Son of God when he really wasn’t. It bothers me too when ardent disciples of some “ism” or society claim that Jesus was the first or finest example of their political principles, their economic schemes or ways of doing things. Jesus is away beyond the top of any human heap. If God has recognized Jesus as his beloved Son and placed him over every earthly power, can men recognize him as being less?

Those who believe that Jesus wields God’s authority over them are held together by him as the hub of a wheel holds all its spokes together. The Son of God thus brings into being a cluster of Christians, a community of believers which we call the church. The Son of God is this church’s possessor, owner, master, director, judge and center; in short, its Lord. Christians are all his. We are in his power and for him. When I say that I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, I am speaking as one of this fellowship of the faithful, as one of the many members of his church. Christ’s lordship over his church sets him apart from all other “saviors,” and at the same time sets churchmen apart from all other men. Our Lord is identified by the Christian stream that runs through history. From time to time some powerful dictator or party claims the total loyalty and obedience of men without respect to right and wrong. But for Christians, Christ’s commands outrank all others. He alone has the right to claim them totally. If some ruler’s wishes conflict with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Christians ought not to disobey Jesus. They have often died at the hands of frustrated authorities, rather than be false to their Lord.