To the Editor of the “Gospel Standard.”
Sir, As there is a belief held here and elsewhere by some who profess to love the truths advocated in the “G. S.,” that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son of God is not vital or essential to the salvation of the elect, I would be glad to have your mind as to whether such belief is in accordance with the Spirit of Truth.
April 11th, 1885.
The above question is one of deep interest to the church of the living God, and embodies a doctrine, the belief of which is essential to salvation and eternal life.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to give faith to all the elect of God, which enables them to believe that Christ is God and that he was the Eternal Son of God from everlasting.
There are many ways of believing, but only one right way; there are many kinds of faith, so called, but only one true vital faith, which is the faith of God’s elect.
This faith never denies that Christ ever was and is now the Son of God, and that he took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. He says, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
There was nothing difficult in believing that Christ was the Son of David after the flesh, for his mother, Mary, and his supposed father, Joseph, were of the house and lineage of David. This the Jews knew, and said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”
But they knew him not as the Son of God; therefore, through the blindness of their minds and the hardness of their hearts, they could not believe.
Even so is it with those who deny his Eternal Sonship, for they only believe in him after the flesh: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
He that denieth that Jesus is the Son of God is destitute of vital, saving faith.
Who is he that is not Antichrist but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
But before a man can rightly believe this sweet and essential doctrine he must be born again, and he that believes in this Christ as the Son of the Father before all worlds is born again; as the Word declares: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”
As there is base coin that much resembles pure coin, so there is a false faith that may appear like true faith. There is such a thing as heart experience and a living vital faith which unites the soul to Christ, and enables it to say, “Thou art the Son of God.”
There is also a faith which believes that Christ was not the Son of God until he was born of the virgin, which is only dead faith, and is a faith which will leave the soul at last to die in sin; whilst heart faith in Christ, however small, will be owned and honoured of God and the soul that possesses it will live with Christ for ever and ever. It is a deadly error to deny that Jesus Christ ever was the Eternal Son of God:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?…Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.”
In the erection of buildings scaffolding is used, but it is not part of the building; so there are many preachers and hearers amongst the true church of God who are not living stones in the building.
As belief in Christ is essential to eternal salvation, we must say that all who do not believe in him as the everlasting Son of the everlasting Father do not believe in the truth as set forth in this magazine, nor do they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scripture which says, “I was set up from everlasting;” and again: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
No man who denies that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and lives and dies in that error can go to heaven. The Scripture calls such men liars, and we read: “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that denieth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. xxi. 27.)
This lie, we believe, has special reference to the lying doctrines of men, which the children of God reject as unscriptural and contrary to the Spirit of truth and the faith which he has wrought in their hearts; but this doctrine, which is of the world and which the world heareth, the saints overcome:
“Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? (I John 5:5)
Hundreds of years before Christ was born of the virgin, Agur asked this question, which none of the deniers of the eternity of the Son of God have ever been able to answer:
“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his Name, and what is his Son’s Name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4)
We cannot conceive how those who hold the doctrine that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and those who deny it can dwell together in union and peace.
(By James Dennett, [Baptist] Gospel Standard Editor – 1885)
"And then, the idea that God's co-eternal Son died—he 'who was begotten before all worlds,' as it has been ten thousand times expressed—is certainly a contradictory one. God has but one 'begotten' Son, and he is the only begotten. This only begotten Son was begotten during the life of the virgin Mary, and she lived long after the worlds were made. If there was one begotten before all worlds, then He who was born of the virgin was not the Only begotten Son, nor the first begotten; for the virgin did not live before the world was. Now, the proposition that the Savior, who was born only nineteen centuries since, was begotten before the sun rose and set, is a gross absurdity, and, as an article of faith, might as well be presented to the dark sensorium of the quadrumana as to the human species; one can understand it just as well as the other."
(THE MYSTIC STAR, BELIEF IN GOD A TEST OF ADMISSION TO THE MYSTERIES OF FREEMASONRY, by M. W. Alfred, A.M., M.D. 1872)