And in one Lord Jesus Christ…

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made.

The main body of the Creed (Articles 2-7) outlines our belief in God the Son. The need for the Church to formally state and clarify the identity of the Son of God was triggered by the mother of heresies – Arianism. Arius, a priest of the Christian Church in Alexandria, argued that the Son of God was a created being and therefore not Co-eternal with God the Father. This distorted teaching proved severely problematic not only to Trinitarian dogma, but to the very essence of our salvation. If Christ is a created being and therefore not God, our potential for salvation is effectively cancelled.

The biblical titles “Lord”, “Jesus”, and “Christ”, form the first part of the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner”; a prayer so brief and yet so potent in the Orthodox Christian’s struggle to attract God’s grace into their life. “Lord” refers to the sovereign ruler one is obliged to obey i.e. God. Both the Father and the Son possess this same sovereign power and authority. “Jesus” comes from the Hebrew name “Yeshua” meaning “God saves”. “Christ” translates the Hebrew word “Messiah”, indicating the chrismated one. In the Old Testament, it was the king who was anointed with oil.

As “only-begotten”, the Son of God is unique. There is no other born from the Father. Furthermore, that which is begotten is of the same essence as that which begets it, as opposed to something which is made. That the Son is “of one essence with the Father” is greatly emphasised to underline the unity and equality of Father and Son in the Holy Trinity. When Christ said “I and My Father are one” (Jn. 10:30), the pharisees accused Him of blasphemy and attempted to stone Him as they recognised these words as a claim to equality with God.

Further refuting the false belief of Arius, the Church fathers inserted the phrase “before all ages” highlighting the Son’s Co-eternity with the Father. This is proclaimed by the opening verse of the Gospel according to St John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John’s Gospel continues to underline the divinity of the Son of God, describing His role as Co-Creator “through Whom all things were made”: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Jn. 1:3). The Evangelist John declares unequivocally that the Father created all things through the Son, both of Whom possess the same divine creative energy.

As “light from light, true God from true God”, Christ said “I am the light of world” (Jn. 8:12). In His unique Person, He reveals God the Father, “enlightening those in darkness”, and leading us to the Truth which alone can assure our salvation. As He Himself said so clearly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). May we each heed this call to become children of the True God.


Source: Lychnos February – March 2021