1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 8.3 The Son of Man"

Table of Contents

The Text

Daniel 7:9-14 (CSB)
“As I kept watching,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was white like snow,
and the hair of his head like whitest wool.
His throne was flaming fire;
its wheels were blazing fire.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from his presence.
Thousands upon thousands served him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was convened,
and the books were opened.

“I watched, then, because of the sound of the arrogant words the horn was speaking. As I continued watching, the beast was killed and its body destroyed and given over to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was removed, but an extension of life was granted to them for a certain period of time.

I continued watching in the night visions,
and suddenly one like a son of man
was coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days
and was escorted before him.
He was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
so that those of every people,
nation, and language
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one
that will not be destroyed.

The Chapter

The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, in the person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be throughly furnished to execute the office of mediator and surety; which office he took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgement in his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

The Confession

The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, in the person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure

Psalm 45:7 (CSB) You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your companions.

Acts 10:38 (CSB) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the devil, because God was with him.

John 3:34 (CSB) For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure.

Second chapter of the 1689 deals with the Attributes of God. So by the time you got to the Chapter 8 on the Person of Christ, you would have seen this statement from Chapter 2 Paragraph 1:

...whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts...

The authors of the 1689 broke a little from the Westminster in that instead of their use of the word, "essence", we use the word, "subsistence", which is defined as, "the quality or state of being self-derived or self-originated specifically the absolute self-sufficiency, independence, and autonomy of God." (Merriam-Webster)

Now why is that so important. In the humanity of Christ, it could be easily not remembered that, in everything that Christ is, he is absolutely fully God. So within that, Christ, who is God, is eternal, immutable (does not change), impassible (without passions) and co-equal with Father and Spirit.

In and around the 4th century, a bishop named Arian was attempting to solve the issue: how can Christ be God and man? His erroneous conclusion was that since that:

  • Christ was human
  • Christ was therefore created
  • Christ was therefore not eternal
  • Christ was therefore not co-equal with the Father and Spirit
  • Christ is submitted to the Father
  • Then, Christ cannot be fully God.

Arianism was a heresy that denied the full deity of Christ. It was a heresy that was condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and is heresy in all of Christianity.

One may think, like myself, that this is one and done, and we never have to deal with this again. But I, playing the role of the sweet, summer child, will always have to be reminded that new revelations are just old heresies for "there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

In the 19th centuries, two sects of Christianity arose out of the Arian heretic weed growth. One, the Mormons. The believe that God the Father was an mortal being in another universe but came to our universe as a immortal being and thus created the heavens and the earth. From the Father, he created both Jesus, his Son, and Satan, Jesus' brother. In essence, they teach that Jesus was a created being. If created, then he is not co-equal with the Father but rather, in submission to the Father.

The other was Jehovah's Witness, who like the Muslims, flat out deny that Christ is God and tht whom we would call Father is the one and true God.

In our current age, we are dealing with yet another erroneous teaching that has sprung up out of the Arian heresy: Eternal Submission of the Son to the Father (or ESS, for short). In the pervious times I have spoken about ESS, I spoke about my fiercest opposition to the heresy of ESS but I never explained why. So, let me take a moment to explain why now.

ESS is a clever heresy in that, it never denies:

  • Jesus is fully God
  • Jesus is fully human
  • Jesus is co-equal with the Father and Spirit
  • Jesus is eternal

Because those would give you red flags and booted out of Christianity.

But here is the flaming hot red flag: because of the incarnation of Christ, that is, he took on flesh. Because Christ took on flesh, Christ is subordinate to the Father. And because Christ is eternal, therefore, Christ is eternally subordinate to the Father for all of eternity past and future.

Proponents of the ESS would insist that Christ does not change because Christ is God and does not change. But because he took on flesh, the incarnation of Christ makes Christ subordinate to the Father.

Why the confusion when the Bible is so clear especially on matters concerning salvation? Defenders of this heresy is trying to overlay the Doctrine of the Trinity onto gender roles based on an eisegesis of 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:21-33 which was inspired by the work of John Piper and Wayne Grudem in their book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

I don't need to tell you that superimposing the a view of gender roles onto the Doctrine of the Trinity is most unhelpful and unwise. If you are doing this, please stop.

ESS, in short, is having to talk out both sides of your mouth.

Fighting for the truth in the theology of Christ has gone back to the first century church. The Earliest Church already fought this fight and won. We don't need to fight it again only to defend. Out of the Arian controversy, two distinct Creeds were formed to combat this heresy.

Nicene Creed's excerpt on the Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human:

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

And the same from the Athanasian Creed:

That we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human, with a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as regards divinity, less than the Father as regards humanity.

Although he is God and human, yet Christ is not two, but one. He is one, however, not by his divinity being turned into flesh, but by God's taking humanity to himself. He is one, certainly not by the blending of his essence, but by the unity of his person. For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh, so too the one Christ is both God and human.

The fight was long won by the grace of God. But we must be vigilant and fight the good fight of faith. We must be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us. We must be ready to defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

Colossians 2:3 (CSB) In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (CSB) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. For it is written,

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

At this point, I could have just quoted 1 Corinthians chapters one to three.

Romans 8:5-6 (CSB) For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. Now the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.

This passage in Romans 8 is an exposition of the ministry of Christ in Mark 8. In other words what God must do in order for us to be believe and trust in his Son. This is not an intelligence or knowledge ascent--all the Christian schooling and seminary won't save you. And this is not an emotional ascent--feel all the good feels to make you feel like you are in the presence of God. God literally has to open your eyes (Mark 8:22–26), open your ears (Mark 7:31-37), swap out your heart (Mark 8:14–21), renew your mind (Mark 8:11–13), and feed us his word (Mark 8:1-10) so that we might be made fully alive (1 John 5:1) and believe in Christ.

Apart from God doing any of that, you and I cannot hope to believe and trust in his Son.

Romans 8:8 (CSB) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However:

Romans 8:9-11 (CSB) You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.

My Beloved, Christ dwells in you. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. The Father has made his home in you. Because of what God has done, we have the mindset of Christ to truly know him and love him:

1 Corinthians 2:16 (CSB) For
who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct him?
But we have the mind of Christ.

in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell

Colossians 1:19 (CSB) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

And:

Colossians 2:9-10 (CSB) For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

When we speak of the fullness of God, it would be easy to think of only the Father. Yet, it is the Spirit, the fullness of God as well, that dwells in the Son, as well. For:

John 3:34-35 (CSB) For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands.

The Son of Man, fully God and fully man, descended into his Creation, to live perfectly unto his Father. But Jesus, for all of his divine and glory, did not do this by himself. Himself, fully God, having the Father, fully God, and the Spirit, fully God, dwelling in him fully at all times. For:

John 1:1–2 (CSB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Father, Son, and Spirit were always together from eternity past. They are in perfect love and community and fellowship and relationship and presence with each other. They are in the fullness of joy and pleasures evermore with one another. (Psalm 16:11)

If Christ came to our world to minister to others, why would we think he did this by himself? If he has called us to love God and love our neighbors, did he think we could do that without the Triune God? Absolutely not. That is why he came to us was so the Son, Father, and the Spirit could make their home in us so we could we be with him forever.

to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled

Hebrews 7:26 (CSB) For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

When the Bible speaks of the spotless Lamb, it is referring to Jesus Christ, the Worthy Lamb that was Slain.

1 Peter 1:18–20 (CSB) For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you.

He is the Passover Lamb that has saved us from death:

Exodus 12:5-7 (CSB) You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.

He is the Lamb that was slain for our sins:

John 1:29 (CSB) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Christ is perfect in his obedience to the law of God. But Christ is holy because he is God who is holy.

and full of grace and truth

John 1:14 (CSB) The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

For:

Psalm 85:10 (ESV) Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

When Christ came to live and die upon the cross, this meeting, joining, melding, and intertwining of all that is God--steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace--was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ for us upon the cross.

It was only because of what Christ did so that we could be made holy, harmless, and undefiled. It is only because of what Christ did that we could be made righteous and at peace with God.

Romans 1:17 (CSB) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB) He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He might be throughly furnished to execute the office of mediator and surety

Hebrews 7:22 (CSB) Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.

All of what and who Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant.

The Better Adam: he is the Second Adam who upheld the covenant of works forever.

The Better Noah: he has bore the wrath of God for our sins and saved us from our sins forever.

The Better Abraham: it is not a piece of land that we seek to dwell with God. Yet, God has made is home in us and he dwells with us forever.

The Better David: he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who sits on the throne forever and ever.

All the Old Testament Covenants were perfectly, distinctly, completely, totally fulfilled by Christ and Christ alone for us forever and ever.

Now we lavish in the Covenant of Grace--which was established before the foundation of the world between the Father and the Son, sealed with the Holy Spirit, to save his people from their sins forever.

The previous covenants were good and holy. But they were for a moment in time until Christ came to fulfilled what God preached the good news starting in Genesis 3:15--I will rescue my people.

which office He took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by His Father

Hebrews 5:5 (CSB) In the same way, Christ did not exalt himself to become a high priest, but God who said to him, You are my Son; today I have become your Father,

Christ did not do this alone. He did not ascend to any of the offices on his own. He was sent here by the Father and he did only what he saw his Father do. Christ is perfectly and eternally begotten of the Father. The Father and the Son are always in perfect lock step and they glorify one another.

who also put all power and judgement in His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same

John 5:22–27 (CSB) The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all people may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. “Truly I tell you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted to the Son to have life in himself. And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

Matthew 28:18 (CSB) Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

Acts 2:36 (CSB) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

And because Christ, the Son of Man, was perfect in his execution of the salvation of the people of God, God the Father has now given him all authority, power and dominion, glory and honor forever.

Matthew 28:18 (CSB) Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

And:

Daniel 7:13–14 (CSB) I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

That is why we sing:

Romans 11:33–36 (CSB) Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

And:

Revelation 5:12 (CSB) They said with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!

Amen!