Truth For The World

Jesus Is the Only Begotten Son of God

The verse which has been called “the golden text of the Bible” says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In the Greek language in which our New Testament was first written, the words “only begotten” are translated from μονογενής (monogenēs). This term is made up of two words joined together. Mονο- (mono-) means “one” or “only.” -γενής (-genēs) means “begotten.” There are three senses in which there are children or sons of God. First, all human beings on earth are the sons of God in the sense that God created us (Genesis 1:1, 27; Malachi 2:10). Second, all Christians are the children (sons) of God because we have been born again into His family (John 3:3-5; Romans 8:16-17; 1 John 3:1-2). Third, Jesus is the Son of God because God is His father (Luke 1:26-35). His mother, Mary, was a virgin before He was born. She had not “known man.” God, the Father, by means of the Holy Spirit caused the Seed to grow in Mary’s womb. This can be truthfully said of no other human being who has ever lived upon this earth! No one else has ever lived who had no earthly human father, so the birth of Jesus Christ was unique (one of a kind). Only He can truly make the claim that He is the “only begotten Son of God.”

The virgin birth of Christ was the means by which the Second Person in the Godhead came into the world. It was the means by which He took upon Himself human form. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made...And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).

Because God was His father, Jesus had the nature of His father and was therefore God. Because Mary was His mother, Jesus had the nature of His mother and was therefore human. Jesus was both God and man. This was necessary in order for Him to die for our sins. God cannot die, but man can. “But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man...Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:9, 14-15).

Because God was His father and Jesus was both God and man, He is qualified to be our Mediator. “For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). A mediator is a person who goes between two persons or groups who are separated from one another. He represents both sides and brings them together. In order to represent both sides, he must understand both sides.

Since Jesus is both God and man, He is well qualified to represent both God and man. Man was separated from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 5:10). Jesus died on the cross to take our sins away. Therefore, He made it possible for man to have peace with God by having his sins washed away (Romans 5:1-2).

Some say that Jesus’ being the only begotten Son of God means He was just “the beloved Son of God.” It is quite true that He is the beloved Son of God as the Scriptures so clearly teach (Matthew 3:17). Others say that Jesus’ being the only begotten Son of God means that He was simply unique (one of a kind). This also is quite true, as we have already stated. But Jesus’ being the only begotten Son of God means that He had no father on this earth. His Father was God. This is unlike any other person who has ever lived on this earth! If Jesus were not the only begotten Son of God, He would not have been able to die for our sins. In that case, we would be without a Saviour! If Jesus were not the only begotten Son of God, we would not have a mediator who has partaken of the nature of both God and man, and therefore is fully qualified to bring both God and man together.

“Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

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