In opening up this initial subject on the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, it is essential that the Holy Scriptures obtain their rightful sway in our hearts. Scripture is given by inspiration of God ... that the man of God may be PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto ALL good works" 2nd Timothy 3:17.
The word PERFECT (artios) used above occurs but once in the new Testament signifying completeness. How this would take our hearts back to the corrective words of Jesus to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29 - "Ye do err, knowing not the Scriptures nor the power of God". How blessed then it must be to stand and hold fast the faithful word, and with every believer in our Lord Jesus Christ own nothing more precious than the revelation of Himself through the Holy Scriptures. From these the blessed Son of God Himself expounded to the disciples the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:44-45). Again to the Bereans who were apparently ignorant of the Scripture, it set their hearts thinking as to the truths which the Apostle Paul was expounding, for they searched the Scriptures to see if the things taught were so, to prove that the things being taught were actually from the Word of God (Acts 17:10-11), (Acts 17:2-3 and 18:28 also indicate the sole authority of Scripture in the same manner). It is quite obvious therefore to every intelligent believer that no new revelation was being taught, but that the Scripturally ignorant had their ignorance repelled by the Word of God. Even those who claim "new" revelation and "new" light, bring down their carnal pride by testing the “new" with the inspired Word. In this connection we do well to quote the words of the late C.H. Mackintosh: - "Human science can be laid hold of by the human intellect, but no man knoweth the Son save as the Father reveals Him by the power of the Holy Ghost, through the written Word. There can be no new revelation inasmuch as the Spirit brought ALL THINGS to the Apostles' memory, and led them into ALL TRUTH, and hence all pretension to a new revelation, and the development of new truth is an effort on man's part to add to what God calls ALL TRUTH. This latter can only be regarded in the light of impious presumption". (Notes on Leviticus, Chapter 1 page 7.)
How the beloved Apostle John could write in the 3rd Epistle that he rejoiced exceedingly when the brethren came and bore testimony to Gaius holding fast the truth and that he had NO greater joy than to hear of his children walking in the truth. But in these days alas! how many have become vendors of other men's thoughts, instead of drinking at the fountain head they drink at the streams of opinion: they lose originality, simplicity and power and become the merest copyists, if not miserable caricatures. Instead of giving forth those "rivers of living water" they drop into the barren technicalities and out of mere systematised control of thought.
THE EVERLASTING WORD.
In the beginning was (en = existed) the Word (John 1:1.). We are not told "In the beginning He become the Word". We do read "And the Word became (egeneto = began so to be) flesh" (John 1:14), but we never read of a time when He "became" the Word, but rather that He "existed" in the beginning - the Word. Thus, when all that had beginning, began, He "existed" the everlasting Word.
If God Himself would have us to understand that in incarnation the Word "became", how is it that the Holy Spirit Himself did not use the verb "egeneto" in that particular connection? To every heart dependent on the Holy Spirit's guidance the answer immediately presents itself that the latter suggestion CANNOT be borne out by Scripture at all, and thus the divine use of the verb "en".
"Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father's only Son,
God manifest, God seen and heard,
The heavens' beloved One"
THE SON OF GOD.
In 1st John 5:20, we read that the Son of God is the true God and eternal life. In linking up this great truth as the Son of God being that eternal life, with 1 John 1:2, this eternal life WAS with the Father and HAS BEEN manifested to us. The manifestation obviously was in incarnation, so that that eternal life which was with the Father immediately demands an existence pre-incarnation. This bears out the true relationship of our Lord in eternity past when considered with John 16:28, and 17:5-8. (See J.N.D. Synopsis V.15 and Notes and Comments 2.395).
The following is an extract from J.N.D's collected Writings Vol.25 Page 340: - "It was the Son that created in Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, end as to being Son in the Eternal state the Son says 'I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go to the Father'. You have no Father if you have no Son if I do not know Him as Son when He came into the world. I have no mission from God at all. And you get too 'The Father sent the Son;' 'Son of the Father', and 'Son of God' are the same essentially, only one is personal relationship, the other nature.
"But there are persons who take it that Christ was only Son as He came into the world. The positive answer is given to this in Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, that by Him - the Son - the world was made. He is also called Son as born into this world. (That Holy THING which shall be born shall be called Son of God, Luke 1:35). There is 'This day have I begotten Thee' Psalm 2. This is not quite the same thing, though the some person of course, He was begotten in time - that is true as to His human estate. Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, are conclusive, it is of immense import because I have not the Father's love sending the Son out of heaven if I have Him not as Son born into the world. I lose all that the Son is, if He is only so as incarnate, and you have lost all the love of the Father in sending the Son as well."
We are told however in this connection as regards New Testament Writings that "Divine Names and Titles when known and used in Scripture to identify the Persons without necessarily meaning that they were so known in the conditions referred to" (C.A.C's remarks on pamphlet by A.J.P. Page 24). While this may be true in titles which apply to Christ in Manhood, particularly as used by the Apostles when writing ABOUT our Lord, such an argument fails when the Divine Penman, the Holy Spirit, gives us not the words ABOUT our Lord, but our Lord's own ACTUAL WORDS, and such is our privilege in John's Gospel Chapter 13:31 to Chapter 17:26. Did not the Son of God Himself, I ask those who seek to be Spirit taught, mean His FATHER loving Him from BEFORE the foundation of the world? Some would say that language of this nature was used in order that we humans could understand, (See J.T. Names of Divine Persons, page 8), but how can this be so when we learn that the NATURAL man has no discerning of the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned? Finite therefore to the NATURAL mind must be ABSOLUTELY disregarded in spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:9-16).
We would again refer to extracts from C.H.M. in his notes on Leviticus, Chapter 2 pages 39-42: "I would at this point solemnly admonish my reader that he cannot be too jealous in reference to the vital truth of the person and relations of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Person of Christ is the Living, the Divine Centre, round which the Holy Spirit carries on all His operations. Question the ETERNAL SONSHIP of Christ and you have opened the floodgate for a desolating tide of error to rush in".
It is worthy of note that in the several cases in which the Son is spoken of as being begotten in the New Testament i.e. Acts 13:32, Hebrews 1:5, Hebrews 5:5, not one of these is relative to the Son being born, but rather His being begotten to an office; in resurrection, in being pre-eminent in the habitable world, and in priesthood respectively.
As the "only-begotten", God never had another after that kind, while in regard to His spotless humanity (of which He is a partaker for eternity) the Son of God is spoken of as being the "first-fruits", and as the "first-begotten", indicating that He is the first of new creation, which He has begotten to the adoption of sons by His redemptive work (Ephesians 1:1-7).
The Son in his eternal Person ever remained such whether in bodily form or not. The Apostle John speaks of Christ as "the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father". This statement implies that the Son does not cease to be there by reason of Incarnation. The late William Kelly gives the following note in this connection: - It is no longer a question of nature but of relationship, and hence it is not simply the Word but the Son, and the Son in the highest possible character, the only-begotten Son, distinguishing Him from all others who might in a subordinate sense be sons of God: the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father. Observe: not 'which was', but 'which is'. He is viewed as retaining the same perfect intimacy with the Father, entirely unimpaired by local or any other circumstances He had entered. Nothing in any degree detracted from his own personal glory, and from His infinitely near relationship which He had with the Father from all eternity. - Under all changes outwardly He abode as from all eternity the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father".
This statement has its authenticity from Scripture, when one recalls the Son speaking to the Jews, answering them says, "My Father works hitherto, and I work" John 5:17. To this remark there was drawn forth from the Jew, the seeking to kill Him because of the truth of His statement in that it meant EQUALITY with God; and in the verses following, the Son expounds his equality with the Father, in that all men should honour Him EVEN AS they honour the Father John 5:23. Yet - some of His people do not afford Him this place:
"All the Father's counsels claiming,
Equal honours to the Son,
All the Son's effulgence beaming,
Makes the Father's glory known"
But some may bring against the foregoing the statement of the Son in John 14:28 "My Father is greater then I". The context of this verse however reveals that it is not in connection with His eternal Person that this statement has been made, but of His office taken up in incarnation, of which for instance, we read concerning His being perfected (e.g. Heb.2:10, 5:8-9). Grief lay in the disciples' hearts at the thought of the Son leaving them, of which they were later reminded that it was the Father's commandment that it should be so (John 14:31). Thus we understand that the Father's commandment was greater to the Son that the desire of His heart to remain with the disciples, knowing that redemption must be accomplished on their behalf, so that they could be made partakers of that counselled eternal love. Summing up - it was essential that the Father's commandment from Heaven should keep the initial and therefore greater place in the Son's heart whilst on earth, so that the counsels of divine love could achieve the blest purpose of the Father sending the Son on the elects' account. And such love as was between the Father and the Son, has now laid hold upon new creation, so that each soul knowing close communion with the Father and the Son comprehends the longings of His heart above, as the words of John 17:24 addressed to the Father would again be recalled in all their preciousness: - "That where I am they also may be with me, that they may behold My glory, for Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world".
Further, in Hebrews 7:3 we find a statement about the Person of Melchisedec that he was "without father, without mother, without genealogy; having neither beginning of days, nor end of life but assimilated to the Son of God". Such a statement regarding the recorded origin of Melchisedec in his person is assimilated to the Son of God. Yet some would tell us that the Son of God had a Father in Incarnation after the natural order of genealogy although divinely conceived. While in natural birth the years of a son in relationship are equal with the father, of necessity in person the father must possess greater years; yet the Divine relationship of the Father to the Son knew no difference with both of these aspects: each being from everlasting to everlasting in hypostasis, and thus the SON of GOD is assimilated to Melchisedec - having neither BEGINNING OF DAYS nor END OF LIFE. Again, if we compare Psalm 45:6 with Hebrews 1:8 we get full proof of the Person and the Son and His relationship to the Father as such. The Spirit who inspired the Psalm, the song of loves, brings out its latent fulness in Hebrews, and thus we learn long before Incarnation, the Father addressed the Son as God co-equal: "Unto the Son He says 'Thy throne O God is for ever and ever'". Thus we get New Testament proof that our Lord is Son in eternity and Old Testament proof of the same in the ages preceding His becoming Man.
In general teaching and preaching early brethren set forth the fundamental truths of the Gospel such as: "The Doctrine of the Trinity, the Eternal Sonship, the personality of the Holy Ghost, the plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture, the eternal counsels of God in reference to His elect, and yet the fullest and freest presentation of His love to a lost world. As to the Scriptural ordinance of baptism, we look upon it as a beautiful exhibition of the truth that the believer is associated with Christ in death and resurrection." See Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38-41, 8:38, 10:47-48, 16:33, Romans 6:3-4. (The Sabbath, the Law and the Christian Ministry, pages 22 and 23 C.H.M.).
The writer in penning this pamphlet has sought to bring before the reader the supremacy of the Word of God in everything, so that the ideas of some who deem themselves to receive new light, may learn in meekness that God has fully and finally revealed Himself to faith in His Word.