Alexander Campbell, The Christian System IV, The Son of God

Jesus is the one Lord in all the divine fulness of sovereign, supreme, and universal authority.

Alexander Campbell
The Christian System, 2d. ed. (1839) GA Repring 1856


[p.9] I. "The holy progeny (or thing) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Lu 1:35) "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, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6) "This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I delight." (Mt 3:17 17:5) "This is my Son, the beloved, hear him." (Mr 9:7 Lu 9:35) "No person has ascended into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven," (Joh 3:13) or whose abode is in heaven.

"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son; (Joh 3:16) the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (Joh 1:14) "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is the bosom of the Father has declared him." (Joh 1:18) "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel." (Joh 1:49) "Glorify thou me with thine ownself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (Joh 17:5) "In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead1 [Note 1] bodily," (Col 2:9) or substantially.

Note 1: The Apostle here used the word Theotees. Col. 2:9, which is but once found in the New Testament. We have, indeed, Theiotees, Rom. i. 20, from the same Apostle, also found but once, translated "Godhead." We have also Theios, Theion, three times; once Acts xvii. 29, translated divinity, and by Peter, (2 Pet. i. 3, 4), twice, once in connexion with power and once with nature. "His divine power"--"a divine nature." "The fulness of the Deity," or Godhead, indicates all divine excellency--all the perfections of God.

The term Deity imports the divine nature, state, or being of God. "The fulness" of that divine nature is here contrasted with an empty and deceitful philosophy, (verse 8,) and the term bodily superadded, shows that God is in Christ not as he was in the tabernacle or temple, typically, but substantially, literally, and truly.

"He is the first and the last." (Re 1:17) "All things were created by him and for him." (Col 1:16) "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Joh 1:1,3) "The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory: the glory as of an only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."(Joh 1:14)

II. So speak the Divine oracles of the supreme Deity and excellency of the author and perfecter of the Christian system. "By him and for him" all things were created and made; and "he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Col 1:16,17)

But "he became flesh." Who?

He that existed before the universe, whose mysterious, sublime, and glorious designation was the WORD of God.

Before the Christian system, before the relation of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" began to be, his rank in the divine nature was that of the WORD OF GOD.

Wonderful name! Intimate and dear relation! The relation [10] between a word and the idea which it represents is the nearest of all relations in the universe: for the idea is in the word--and the word is in the idea.

The idea is invisible, inaudible, unintelligible, but in and by the word.

An idea cannot be without an image or a word to represent it--

and therefore God was never without his word, nor was his word without him.

"The word was with God, and the Word was God"--for (Joh 1:1) a word is the idea expressed--and thus "the word that was made flesh," (Joh 1:14) became "the brightness of his glory" and "the express image of his person," (Heb 1:3) insomuch that "he who has seen the Son has seen the Father also."

(Joh 14:9)

III. While, then, the phrase "Son of God" denotes a temporal relation, the phrase "the word of God" denotes an eternal, unoriginated relation.

There was a word of God from eternity, but the Son of God began to be in the days of Augustus Caesar.

"Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." (Ps 2:7 Ac 13:33 Heb 1:5)

He was by his resurrection from the dead declared to be the Son of God with a power and evidence extraordinary and divine. The WORD incarnate or dwelling in human flesh, is the person called our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ--and while, in the system of grace,

the Father is the one God, in all the supremacy of his glory--

Jesus is the one Lord in all the divine fulness of sovereign, supreme, and universal authority.

The Lord of Shem, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the God and the Lord of Christians: for "the child" that has been born to us--and "the son" that has been given, according to another prophet, came from eternity.

"His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." [Mic 5:2] Such is the evangelical history of the author of the Christian system as to his antecedent nature and relation in the Deity or Godhead.

But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. Micah 5 5:3

And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. Micah 5 5:4

IV. He became a true and proper SON OF MAN." "A body hast thou prepared me." (Heb 10:5) But the "me" was before "the body."

It dwelt forever "in the bosom of the Father." (Joh 1:18) "I came forth from God," (Joh 16:28) said "the Incarnate Word."

who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, Phil 2:6LIV

but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. Phil 2:7

And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal's death on a cross. Phil 2:8

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, Phil 2:9

Great beyond expression and "without controversy, great is the mystery--the secret of godliness." "God was manifest in the flesh." (1Ti 3:16)

"He that has seen me has seen the Father also." (Joh 14:9)

The Son of Man was and is the Son of God--"Emmanuel, God with us." (Mt 1:23) Adored be his name!

The one God in the person of the Father, has commanded all men to worship and honor the one Lord, as they would honor him that sent him: for now in glorifying the Son, we glorify the Father that sent him and that dwells in him. "Know yet not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." (Joh 14:10,11) Thus spake our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alexander Campbell The Christian System

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