"And of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever Amen"—Rom_9:5.
Great diversity of sentiment is hard concerning the person of Christ. Sabellians deny the distinctions of the Godhead, an say the whole deity tabernacled in Christ. Arians represent him as the highest of all created intelligences, the first-born of every creature. Socinians acknowledge him as human only, and as exalted above other men merely in his official character. It has, however, been generally believed in every age of the church, that Christ is divine, truly the only-begotten Son of God: the brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of his person, and in every sense equal with the Father.
This sentiment appears to be abundantly established in the holy word, and to be the obvious sense of the text, "Who is over all, God blessed forever." Taking the text as expressive of the proper deity of the Saviour, let us consider the basis on which this doctrine rests. It appears grounded,
I. On the Explicit Declarations of the Divine Word.
The name Jehovah is universally allowed to be the peculiar and incommunicable name of God. It is used in reference to Christ.
1. By Isaiah. "Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts:" Isa_6:1-5 See Joh_12:41 where this is applied to Christ. Also Isa_45:21 to end, compared with Rom_14:9. Also Isa_40:3, compared with Mat_3:3. It is also used,
2. By Joel. "And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered;" Joe_2:32, compared with Act_2:21-36.
3. By Paul. "God was manifest in the flesh;" 1Ti_3:16. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour," &c. Tit_2:13.
4. By John. "This is the true God, and eternal life;" 1Jn_5:20. "And the word was God;" Joh_1:1.
There are many other passages where he is described as "God only wise," "the only true God," &c.
His proper deity appears,
II. From the Unalienable Attributes of God which are ascribed to him.
1. Eternity is proper to God, yet applied to Christ.
He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Here both eternity and self-existence are included. See Exo_3:14. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come;" Rev_1:8.
2. Immutability or unchangeableness is proper to God, yet applied to Christ.
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever," including time past, present, and future; Heb_13:8. "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever," &c.; Heb_1:8.
3. Almighty power is applied to Christ.
"Who is, and who was, and is to come, the Almighty;" Rev_1:8. "We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty;" Rev_11:17.
4. Omniscience and infinite knowledge are ascribed to Christ.
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;" Col_2:3. He knew the thoughts of his disciples, and of his enemies, and of all men; Rev_2:23; Joh_2:24. His proper deity appears,
III. From the Works which are ascribed to him.
"All things were made by him," &c.; John i 2. "For by him were all things created," &c.; Col_1:16. "By whom also he created the worlds;" Heb_1:2.
2. Works of providence and universal government "By him all things consist." "He up holdeth all things by the word of his power;" Col_1:17. "He is King of kings and Lord of lords;" "All things are given into his hands."
3 Work of salvation.
He is the world's Redeemer; he forgives sin; Act_5:31 : Eph_1:7. His blood sanctifies; 1Jn_1:7. He bestows eternal life; Joh_10:28. He will raise the dead, and judge the world; Joh_5:21-22; Joh_27:8, &c.; Rom_14:10, &c. His proper divinity appears,
IV. From the Worship and Divine Honors he receives.
When on earth we have several striking instances of this.
1. Eastern sages worshipped him; Mat_2:11.
2. Woman of Canaan, and man born blind; Mat_15:25; Joh_9:31.
3. The disciples, also, worshipped him Mat_23:9, Mat_23:17.
4. Devils also Case of demoniac, Mat_8:28.
5. Angels. At his birth. "When God bringeth in his first-begotten, he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him;" Heb_1:6.
6. An innumerable host in heaven; Rev_5:13, &c. It also appears,
V. From the Claims he made of Equality with the Father
1. He claimed equal possessions.
"All things that the Father hath are mine;" Joh_16:15.
2. Equal glory.
"Now, O Father, glorify me with the glory I had with thee before the world was;" Joh_17:5
3. Equal honor and obedience.
"That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father;" Joh_5:23. See also Php_2:5-6, Php_2:7, &c.
Learn, (1) The glory of the Saviour's person.
(2) What confidence and comfort are afforded to his humble followers.
Their Lord is able to do for them all they can possibly require. No insufficiency in Christ—no change—no failure None can perish who rely on him.
(3) What homage he has a right to claim.
"Jesus is worthy to receive
Honor and power divine;
And blessings more than wo can give,
Be, Lord, forever thine"
"Let all who dwell above the sky,
And earth, and air, and seas,
Conspire to raise thy glories high,
And spread thine endless praise."
(4) How terrible he will be to those who eject the overtures of his grace.
"How will their hearts endure
The terrors of that day,
When earth and heaven before his face
Astonished shrink away!"
(5) To the humble penitent he says: "Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out."