Andrew Fuller Friday: On the Nature of the Son

“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” From this rises the great love of God in the gift of him: “God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son”—the condescension of his obedience: “Though he was a son yet learned he obedience”—the efficacy of his blood: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”—the dignity of his priesthood: “We have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God”—the greatness of the sin of unbelief: “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God”—the greatness of the sin of apostacy: “Who have trodden under foot the Son of God.” The incarnation, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ declared, but did not constitute, him the Son of God; nor did any of his offices, to all which his Sonship was antecedent. God sent his Son into the world. This implies that he was his Son antecedently to his being sent, as much as Christ’s sending his disciples implies that they were his disciples before he sent them. The same may be said of the Son of God being made of a woman, made under the law. These terms no more express that which rendered him a Son, than his being made flesh expresses that which rendered him the Word. The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil; he must therefore have been the Son of God antecedently to his being manifested in the flesh. I have heard it asserted that “Eternal generation is eternal nonsense.” But whence does this appear? Does it follow that, because a son among men is inferior and posterior to his father, therefore it must be so with the Son of God? If so, why should his saying that God was his own Father be considered as making himself equal with God? Of the only begotten Son it is not said he was, or will be, but he is in the bosom of the Father; denoting the eternity and immutability of his character. There never was a point in duration in which God was without his Son: he rejoiced always before him. Bold assertions are not to be placed in opposition to revealed truth. In Christ’s being called the Son of God, there may be, for the assistance of our low conceptions, some reference to sonship among men; but not sufficient to warrant us to reason from the one to the other. The sacred Scriptures often ascribe the miracles of Christ, his sustaining the load of his sufferings, and his resurrection from the dead, to the power of the Father, or of the Holy Spirit, rather than to his own Divinity. I have read in human writings, “But the Divinity within supported him to bear.” But I never met with such an idea in the sacred Scriptures. They represent the Father as upholding his servant, his elect in whom his soul delighted; and as sending his angel to strengthen him in the conflict. While acting as the Father’s servant, there was a fitness in his being supported by him, as well as his being in all things obedient to his will. But when the value, virtue, or efficacy of what he did and suffered are touched upon, they are never ascribed either to the Father or the Holy Spirit, but to himself. Such is the idea suggested by those forequoted passages. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”—“Ye are not redeemed by corruptible things, but by the precious blood of Christ.”—“The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Much less is said in the sacred Scriptures on the Divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit, than on those of the Son. The Holy Spirit not having become incarnate, it might be less necessary to guard his honours, and to warn men against thinking meanly of him. All judgment was committed to the Son, because he was the Son of man. Yet there is enough said against grieving the Spirit, blasphemy against him, lying against him, doing despite to him, and defiling his temple, to make us tremble. In the economy of redemption it is the office of the Holy Spirit, not to exhibit himself, but to “take of the things of Christ, and show them to us.” He is the great spring-head of all the good that is in the world; but, in producing it, he himself appears not. We are no otherwise conscious of his influences than by their effects. He is a wind which bloweth where it listeth: we hear the sound, and feel its effects; but know nothing more of it.


Excerpt from: “The Trinity,” Letters on Systematic Divinity, Letter IX.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 710–711). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |December 20th, 2019|Categories: Blog|

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