Preparing for Resurrection Day A lofty view of the Son of God! WHAT IS SAID TO THE SON

"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8)

Now our attention is turned to the theme of Hebrews--the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Remember, our focus is THE SON OF GOD! He is superior to the angels, who themselves are superior to the best of mankind. What man is there who would compare himself with an angel of God? What group of men would dare to place themselves on parr with the elect angels of God? No person has ever confronted an angel and thought himself to be significant--and angels have less significance than the Son! Too, remember we are considering the Father's view of the Son, not that of our peers, be they prophets or Apostles.

Thy Throne, O God . . .

The quotation is taken from Psalm 45:6. "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom" (NASB). Here is a Messianic Psalm, written for the sons of Korah. Those with a penchant for context will find it difficult to find an obvious reference to the Son of God in this Psalm. The Holy Spirit informs us, .however, that this is the Father speaking about the Son. "But about the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom'" (Heb 1:8, NIV). The Father said to the Son, " . . . O God . . . " Christ's humanity did not diminish His Deity. It is true, He "humbled Himself," setting aside the prerogatives of Deity (Phil 2:6-7). However, we must not miss the point here. The Father called "the Son" "God." Let us, then, be about using the term "Son" in reference to the Lord Jesus. No angel was ever so addressed!

A Righteous Scepter

The mark of Christ's kingdom is righteousness! That is the evidence of His eternal reign. This is not mere humanly accomplished righteousness. It is not the result of law-keeping, notable though that may be. This is the righteousness announced in the Gospel. "For in it (the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed . . . "(Rom 1:17a). There are two sides to the remarkable coin of salvation. Firstly, God Himself is righteous in the exoneration of sinful men. As it is written, " . . . whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom 3:25-26). There is not an angel in heaven or a demon in hell that can question the uprightness of our salvation. God Himself is righteous in removing our sins and accepting us into His favor. Wherever fallen sinners are recovered, having their sins remitted and their names written in the Lamb's book of life, the righteousness of God is revealed! That is the scepter, or token, of Christ's kingdom.

Secondly, the righteousness of God is not only proclaimed by the Gospel, it is experienced by the justified one. The glory of the announcement of God's righteousness is found in the upright giving of it to the believer. As the Spirit says elsewhere, "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 2:21-23).

The righteousness of God is experienced by the believer "apart from the Law." That is, it is not conferred because of the fulfillment of the Law by the individual. The Spirit confirms there is no other way for men to become righteous: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Ordinarily, this verse is used to declare that all men are sinners. That, of course, is a true statement. However, that is not the point of this text. Righteousness is conferred upon men through faith, because there is no other way for it to be conferred. Because "all have sinned [past] and come [present] short of the glory of God," uprightness can never be earned. It can never be imparted to men upon the basis of their achievement. Where "imputed" or credited righteousness is found, you have the scepter, or mark, of Christ's kingdom (Rom 4:6-8,11,22).

While Jesus does reign righteously over all men, including His people, Lordship is not point of this text. That sort of rule existed independently of Christ's incarnation and vicarious atonement. He was "before all things," and has always been "Lord of all." Our text is affirming the reign of Jesus as regards the salvation of men.

The Oil of Gladness

The dialog of the Father with the Son continues. "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions" (v 9). The character of the Son perfectly reflects that of the Father. He relished righteousness and abhorred iniquity. The prophet Isaiah foretold this aspect of the Savior. "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good" (Isa 7:15). How precious this was in the sight of the Father. The love of the Father for the individual that thinks as Himself is rarely known. However, it is epitomized in the Son. Behold it with joy, and aspire to partake of the Divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).

The joy of the angels is very much inferior to that of the Son of God. This is a quotation of Psalms 45:7. The sixth verse of that Psalm is quoted in the previous verse of our text. We learn here of the centrality of Christ in all of Scripture. He is the grand Subject that is always discussed, whether known or unknown by the prophets themselves.

The joy of angels is not mentioned often. Jesus said, "I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Lk 15:10). Their joy, however, is nothing to compare with that of the Son. The gladness of the Son of God in respect to salvation is worthy of our consideration. Our text informs us that God has given Him this joy, anointing Him with superlative measures. One of the unusual expressions of this joy is found in Luke 10:20-21. "At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight" (NASB). Showing the relevancy of this joy, Jesus spoke of it to His disciples prior to His vicarious death. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" John 15:11, NASB). When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, He again referred to this joy. "But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves" (John 17:13). What sort of joy was this? Why is it peculiarly Christ's?

This is the joy of the Godhead. It is the result of the fulfillment of God's "eternal purpose." This is not an imposed joy, like the supposed laughter in the Spirit that is being claimed today. The joy with which Jesus was anointed is a rational joy. It was given because of marvelous accomplishments. Jesus rejoices because Satan has been frustrated (Heb 2:14). The reconciliation of the world to God has produced joy in heaven (2 Cor 5:18-20). The casting down of principalities and powers that had plundered humanity is cause for rejoicing. Even above these things, Jesus rejoices because He has been given the "heathen" for His inheritance, according to the Father's promise (Psa 2:8). If you are joyful over salvation, it is nothing to be compared with the joy of the angels. Their joy, on the other hand, is nothing in comparison with that of the Son. He has been anointed with the oil of joy above His heavenly companions.

Child of God, you have a joyful Savior! He is glad to see you come to Him, and rejoices at your reliance upon Him. We do not come to an angry God, or to a displeased Savior. Once this is perceived with some degree of clarity, the joy will spill over to the perceiving one. I acknowledge this is not a common view. Salvation is often preached as an obligation; i.,e., God provided it, and you had better receive it! There is certainly an element of truth to that, but it is not the central element.

-- HAVE A BLESSED RESURRECTION DAY! -- More on this subject next Monday