Christ and His Righteousness—
2. Christ is God
That this passage has reference to Christ may be known 1) by the fact already learned, that all judgment is committed to the Son, and 2) by the fact that it is at the second coming of Christ that He sends His angels to gather together His elect from the four winds. Matt. 24:31. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.” Ps. 50:3. No. For when the Lord Himself descends from heaven, it will be “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” 1Thess. 4:16. This shout will be the voice of the Son of God, which will be heard by all that are in their graves and which will cause them to come forth. John 5:28, 29. With the living righteous they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, ever more to be with Him, and this will constitute “our gathering together unto Him.” 2Thess. 2:1. Compare Ps. 50:5; Matt. 24:31, and 1Thess. 4:16.
“A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him” for when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, it will be “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2Thess. 1:8. So we know that Ps. 50:1-6 is a vivid description of the second coming of Christ for the salvation of His people. When He comes it will be as “the mighty God.” Compare Habakkuk 3; [Hab. 1:12].
This is one of His rightful titles. Long before Christ’s first advent, the prophet Isaiah spoke these words of comfort to Israel, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6.
These are not simply the words of Isaiah; they are the words of the Spirit of God. God has, in direct address to the Son, called Him by the same title. In Ps. 45:6 we read these words, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter.” The casual reader might take this to be simply the Psalmist’s ascription of praise to God, but when we turn to the New Testament, we find that it is much more. We find that God the Father is the speaker and that He is addressing the Son, calling Him God. See Heb. 1:1-8.
This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as “the only begotten Son of God,” has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father’s person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self- existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.
It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right. He says that Moses was faithful in all the house of God, as a servant, “but Christ as a Son over His own house.” Heb. 3:6. And he also states that Christ is the Builder of the house. Verse 3. It is He that builds the temple of the Lord and bears the glory. Zech. 6:12, 13.
Christ Himself taught in the most emphatic manner that He is God. When the young man came and asked, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus, before replying to the direct question, said, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God.” Mark 10:17, 18. What did Jesus mean by these words? Did He mean to disclaim the epithet as applied to Himself? Did He mean to intimate that He was not absolutely good? Was it a modest depreciation of Himself? By no means, for Christ was absolutely good. To the Jews, who were continually watching to detect in Him some failing of which they might accuse Him, He boldly said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” John 8:46. In the whole Jewish nation not a man could be found who had ever seen Him do a thing or heard Him utter a word that had even the semblance of evil, and those who were determined to condemn Him could do it only by hiring false witnesses against Him. Peter says that He “did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” 1Peter 2:22. Paul says that He “knew no sin.” 2Cor. 5:21. The Psalmist says, “He is my Rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Ps. 92:15. And John says, “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.” 1John 3:5.
Christ cannot deny Himself, therefore He could not say that He was not good. He is and was absolutely good, the perfection of goodness. And since there is none good but God, and Christ is good, it follows that Christ is God and that this is what He meant to teach the young man.
It was this that He taught the disciples. When Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8, 9. This is as emphatic as when He said, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. So truly was Christ God, even when here among men, that when asked to exhibit the Father He could say, Behold Me. And this brings to mind the statement that when the Father brought the First-begotten into the world, He said, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Heb. 1:6. It was not simply when Christ was sharing the glory of the Father before the world was that He was entitled to homage, but when He came a Babe in Bethlehem, even then all the angels of God were commanded to adore Him.
The Jews did not misunderstand Christ’s teaching concerning Himself. When He declared that He was one with the Father, the Jews took up stones to stone Him, and when He asked them for which of His good works they sought to stone Him, they replied, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33. If He had been what they regarded Him, a mere man, His words would indeed have been blasphemy, but He was God.
The object of Christ in coming to earth was to reveal God to men so that they might come to Him. Thus the apostle Paul says that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2Cor. 5:19), and in John we read that the Word, which was God, was “made flesh.” John 1:1, 14. In the same connection it is stated, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (or made Him known). John 1:18.
Note the expression, “the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.” He has His abode there, and He is there as a part of the Godhead, as surely when on earth as when in heaven. The use of the present tense implies continued existence. It presents the same idea that is contained in the statement of Jesus to the Jews (John 8:58), “Before Abraham was, I am.” And this again shows His identity with the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who declared His name to be “I AM THAT I AM.”
And, finally, we have the inspired words of the apostle Paul concerning Jesus Christ, that “it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” Col. 1:19. What this fullness is which dwells in Christ, we learn from the next chapter, where we are told that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9. This is most absolute and unequivocal testimony to the fact that Christ possesses by nature all the attributes of Divinity. The fact of the Divinity of Christ will also appear very distinctly as we proceed to consider: [next chapter]