The Son of God
Wednesday of Christmas 1
4 January 2017
The Christ is not a son of God, but the Son of God. We Christians are sons of God by adoption. Christ is the Son of God by nature. He is Son of God in a unique way. Those who by faith are called sons of God are called this not because they have a right to such an exalted title, or because it was inherent in our nature. No, our nature is fallen and corrupt. We are without love of God or true fear of God. We are sons of Adam by nature, not sons of God.
Christ, who is the true Son of God by nature, condescended to take the nature of Adam upon Himself in the incarnation. What we could not grasp by nature He gave us by adoption. What He possessed by nature He did not grasp, but made Himself nothing on our account, taking the form of a servant. We ought to weep for joy at the knowledge of so great a gift given us in Christ. Here the Lord of all becomes servant of all. Here the Son of God gives Himself to seek Adam's lost sons by becoming one of them by nature. The Son of God becomes Son of Mary, the second Eve, that He might become the second Adam. The second Adam becomes what the first Adam could not become. We sons of the first Adam are adopted into God's family by the work of the second Adam. We possess the title "son of God," not by nature or right, but as a gift of grace.
The Father does not leave His Only-begotten Son without witness. Not only does the Father call Him "Son," but also "My." He is not among sons. Nor is He merely a son. But He is the Son, "My Son." All that surrounds his incarnation, birth, life, and death testifies that He is not just any son, but the Son of God by nature; and testifies to our salvation.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"The name of God is given to Christ in the right of absolute ownership, not because He has been admitted to joint use with others of the title. Every work and word of Christ transcends the power of those who bear the title of sons; the foremost lesson that we learn from all that is most prominent in His life is that He is the Son of God, and that He does not hold the name of Son as a title shared with a widespread company of friends.
"I will not weaken the evidence for this truth by intermixing words of my own. Let us hear the Father, when the baptism of Jesus Christ was accomplished, speaking, as often, concerning His Only-begotten, in order to save us from being misled by His visible body into a failure to recognize Him as the Son. His words are: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Mt 3:17). Is the truth presented here with dim outlines? Is the proclamation made in uncertain tones? The promise of the Virgin birth brought by the angel from the Holy Spirit, the guiding star of the Magi, the reverence paid Him in His cradle, the majesty, attested by the Baptizer, of Him who condescended to be baptized; all these are deemed an insufficient witness to His glory. The Father Himself speaks from heaven, and His words are, 'This is My Son.' What means this evidence, not of titles, but of pronouns? Titles may be appended to names at will. Pronouns are a sure indication of the persons to whom they refer. And here we have, in 'This' and 'My,' the clearest of indications. Mark the true meaning and the purpose of the words. You have read, I have begotten sons, and have raised them up (Is 1:2); but you did not read there My sons, for He had begotten Himself those sons by division among the Gentiles, and from the people of His inheritance.
"Lest we should suppose that the name Son was given as an additional title to God the Only-begotten, to signify His share by adoption in some joint heritage, His true nature is expressed by the pronoun that gives the indubitable sense of ownership. I will allow you to interpret the word Son, if you will, as signifying that Christ is one of a number, if you can furnish an instance where it is said of another of that number, 'This is My Son.' If, on the other hand, 'This is My Son' is His peculiar designation, why accuse the Father, when He asserts His ownership, of making an unfounded claim? When He says 'This is My Son,' may we not paraphrase His meaning thus: 'He has given to others the title of sons, but He Himself is My own Son; I have given the name to multitudes by adoption, but this Son is My very own. Seek not for another lest you lose your faith that this is He. By gesture and by voice, by "This," and "My," and "Son," I declare Him to you.' And now what reasonable excuse remains for lack of faith? This, and nothing less than this, was what the Father's voice proclaimed. He willed that we should not be left in ignorance of the nature of Him who came to be baptized, that He might fulfill all righteousness; that by the voice of God we might recognize as the Son of God Him who was visible as Man, to accomplish the mystery of our salvation." 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 6.22-23
Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Lord Christ, You are the Son of God by nature, God of God. As sons of Adam, lead us to lament our fall into sin and corruption. By your incarnation You have become the second Adam and have adopted us into Your family by grace. Help us to live as sons of God, who have been exalted by Your grace. Amen.
For LCMS World Relief, that God our Lord would provide open doors for the mission of Christ
For Karen Moore, as she recovers from a broken hip, that she might be encouraged by God's providential care
For Evelynda Romana, that the Lord who died, though the Son of God, might be with those who are dying
Art: CORREGGIO, Holy Night (1528-1530)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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