1 John 4:9–15
From the Confessions: The Apostles' Creed
“His only Son”
Pulling It Together
Some of the early creeds (for example the Old Roman Creed) state “only begotten Son” instead of “only Son,” as we find in later versions of the Apostles' Creed. I was taught a variation of the creed in catechism class a few score years ago different than was in the service book we used even then (Service Book and Hymnal, 1958). The wording there is the same as we see in other modern service books: “His only Son.” It is still difficult for me to simply say “His only Son” when saying the Apostles' Creed. Unless I am looking at the words, I will usually sneak “begotten” into my confession. There is some controversy about which is the proper usage but I think we are confessing the same thing, whether we slip in “begotten” or not. As Luther says, we should “with simple faith follow the Word, which so teaches us about these things [and] and avoid arguments” (Luther’s Works, vol 12, p 53).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only one who is “eternally begotten of the Father,” as we profess in the Nicene Creed. He is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,” yet at the same time man. He is God in the flesh. This is the point that the creed is making about “only Son.” He is God incarnate. He is utterly unique in that he is man and yet not created. He “is in His very nature true and eternal God” (ibid, vol 22, p 25), yet a son to Mary. He is eternal God but sent into the world in person to be its Savior.
“This is certainly not a fiction of men that this man born of Mary is said to be God and to be begotten of the Father from eternity. The Scriptures alone teach this. We should, therefore, believe it as an article handed over and shown to us by the Divinity...” (ibid, vol 12, p 53).
Prayer: Help me love you and believe in you, Jesus, with my whole heart. Amen.
Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.