Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THOU ART MY SON” Part 4

Psalm 2.7

 

Turn in your Bible to the second Psalm. When you find that portion of God’s Word, stand and read along silently while I read aloud:

 

1      Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2      The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3      Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4      He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5      Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6      Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7      I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8      Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9      Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10     Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11     Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12     Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

My good friend, Charles Spurgeon, has these words concerning this psalm in his classic commentary The Treasury Of David: “This Psalm will be best understood if it be viewed as a four fold picture. (Ps 2:1-3) the Nations are raging; (Ps 2:4-6) the Lord in heaven derides them; (Ps 2:7-9) the Son proclaims the decree; and (from 10 to end) advice is given to the kings to yield obedience to the Lord’s anointed. This division is not only suggested by the sense, but is warranted by the poetic form of the Psalm, which naturally falls into four stanzas of three verses each.”[1]

 

Let me read once again the first three verses, where Spurgeon pointed out the nations raging:

 

1      Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2      The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3      Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

 

Now the stanza where the LORD in heaven derives them:

 

4      He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5      Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6      Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

 

In verses 7-9, God’s Son proclaims the decree:

 

7      I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8      Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9      Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

 

Then, in verses 10-12, the advice given to the rebellious kings:

 

10     Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11     Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12     Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

In keeping with the topic I have been dealing with on this fourth consecutive Sunday morning, and in keeping with our impending celebration of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, my focus will once again be Psalm 2.7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have established, to the satisfaction of reasonable Bible students, that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, that the father-son relationship that exists between the first and second Persons of the triune godhead is not a relationship that was at any time established, and is not a relationship of convenience. Rather, an eternal relationship reflects the very nature of God, the First and Second Persons. This must be so, because we saw in a previous study that the phrase “Son of God” does not denote a relationship of inferiority or submission to the Father, but is a phrase used in the Bible to denote that the very nature of the Second Person is the same as the nature of the First Person. Thus, “Son of God” means deity.

One of the most problematic passages in the Bible related to this issue of the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ is our text for today, Psalm 2.7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

 

SERMON:

 

Psalm 2.7 is a verse that is confusing to many who read the Bible. Part of the confusion results from failing to distinguish two overlapping issues: On one hand, there is the issue of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Sonship. When did Jesus Christ become God’s Son (if He did become God’s Son)? On the other hand, when and how was Jesus Christ’s Sonship declared? It is in Second Peter 1.20 that an important rule of Bible interpretation is set forth: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” In other words, you cannot hope to arrive at a correct understanding of any portion of scripture unless your interpretation is the result of the whole testimony of the Bible.

To explain further, you cannot accurately interpret one portion of God’s Word while ignoring what another portion teaches. I bring this up because we have already spent three weeks ascertaining that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, that His Sonship to the Father is not a relationship that was acquired at some point, and that His eternal Sonship is a doctrine that many portions of God’s Word speak strongly to attest. Therefore, a right understanding of Psalm 2.7 cannot ignore what the rest of the Bible clearly teaches with respect to Christ’s eternal Sonship, unless you abandon the premise that God’s Word is an integral whole.

These things said, we will consider Psalm 2.7 in four parts:

 

First, THE SPEAKER’S DECLARATION: “I will declare the decree”

 

It becomes obvious, upon careful consideration, that Psalm 2.7 is the record of someone stating what someone else said. To understand who says this, and to understand why this is said, consider the context in which this verse is set.

To rehearse again, the heathen are raging and the people are vainly imagining a revolt against the sovereign rule of God. That we find in verses 1-3. Verses 4-6 turn our attention from the rebellion of the wicked to the sovereign Who sits, Who laughs, and then Who speaks.

Here in verse 7, our attention is again shifted, from the First Person of the godhead to the Second Person of the godhead. In verse 6, the Father said, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Then God’s Anointed begins to speak in verse 7, saying, “I will declare the decree.”

Mr. Spurgeon perfectly captured the essence of the phrase before us when he wrote, “Looking into the angry faces of the rebellious kings, the Anointed One seems to say, ‘If this sufficeth not to make you silent, ‘I will declare the decree’.’”[2]

To help you younger ones in the auditorium, imagine telling someone, “I am going to tell you what my father has decreed.” That is essentially what the Son of God means by what He says here.

Of course, that leaves us with the questions, What is a decree? and, When are decrees enacted? To answer the first question, a decree is a prescribed limit or boundary, or an ordinance, of God or man.[3] According to noted theologian, Lewis Sperry Chafer, “In its theological implications, the term decree betokens the plan by which God has proceeded in all His acts of creation and continuation.”[4]

As to when the decree is enacted, let me quote directly from Chafer’s Systematic Theology: “It should be observed that God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time.”[5] First Peter 1.20 illustrates this principle in reference to our Lord Jesus Christ: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” So, when the Messiah says, “I will declare the decree,” He is indicating that He will reveal some aspect of God’s plan that was enacted in eternity past but executed in time. In other words, the Son of God is telling us what His Father long ago, before the creation of all things, decided to do.

 

Next, THE SPEAKER’S ASSERTION: “the LORD hath said unto me”

 

Just a reminder that when you see the English word LORD, with all letters upper case (even though they are smaller types), you are looking at the English translation of God’s name, Yahweh, or Jehovah. Therefore, Psalm 2.7 is a verse in which the Messiah is speaking, the Son of God, but what He is repeating what His Father previously told Him.

However, when did the Father tell His Anointed, the Son of God? “The LORD hath said unto me.” Considering that the Messiah is God’s eternal Son, and also considering that God’s decrees are enacted in eternity past, it is most reasonable to conclude that the when of this statement is also in eternity past.

In other words, the First Person of the triune godhead enacted a decree bearing directly upon the Second Person of the triune godhead in eternity past. That being so, consider this question: Would He withhold the contents of His decree from His Son for eons? Unimaginable.

Reasonable people have no difficulty understanding that though the psalmist David is prophetically recording the Lord Jesus Christ’s utterance 1,000 years before He was born in Bethlehem, His utterance makes reference to something the Father previously told Him in eternity past! But what did the Father say to Him?

 

Third, THE FATHER’S DECREE: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

 

Three thousand years ago, David wrote Psalm 2. But in Psalm 2.7, the Lord Jesus Christ refers to a decree enacted by His heavenly Father in eternity past. If you are not careful, such passages as this can be dizzying.

What did God the Father say to God the Son in eternity past? He uttered these words in the council chambers of heaven: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

Keep in mind what we have learned from Lewis Sperry Chafer concerning God’s decree: “It should be observed that God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time.”[6] That leaves these two phrases, “Thou art my Son” and “this day have I begotten thee,” subject to our consideration. When did God’s Anointed become His Son? And when did God beget Him? Leave the second question for now. Consider this one: When did God’s Anointed become His Son?

If God’s decree is enacted in eternity and executed in time, then it is theoretically possible that God determined for His Anointed to become His Son and then He later executed His decree to make it come to pass. However, we have already fully dealt with this issue, have we not?

We have already seen irrefutable scriptural evidence establishing that the phrase “Son of God” does not refer to inferiority or submission to the Father, but to equality of nature. That means the Messiah has always had the same nature as God. Thus, the Son of God never became the Son of God, and has always been the Son of God.

Therefore, though it is hypothetically possible for a decree to be enacted in eternity past and executed some time later, such was not the case with respect to the Sonship of the Second Person of the godhead. When the Father addressed Him by saying, “Thou art my Son,” He was not addressing someone who would eventually become His Son, but Someone who already was, and Who had been from eternity past, His Son.

Thus, the phrase “Thou art my Son” is in no way part of God’s eternal decree. It just so happens that “Thou art my Son” is Who the Messiah happens to be, an acknowledgment of His essential identity.

 

Finally, WHAT IS MEANT BY “this day have I begotten thee.”

 

If the phrase found in Psalm 2.7, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” constitutes God’s decree, and yet the first half, the phrase “Thou art my Son,” cannot be any portion of a decree enacted in eternity and executed in time, then we must admit that the remaining phrase is what constitutes the decree. Thus, though God enacted the decree “this day have I begotten thee” in eternity past, He executed it in time. However, when was this decree executed?

Look at four verses with me, three of them New Testament verses in which Psalm 2.7 is quoted:

First, we look at Romans 1.4, where the Apostle Paul declared that Jesus Christ our Lord was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Notice that Paul does not indicate that Jesus became the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, but that He was powerfully declared to be the Son of God by means of the resurrection. Keep that thought in mind.

Now turn back to Acts 13.33: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Read the context and you will see that this reference to Psalm 2.7 are the words of the Apostle Paul concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul connects the decree “this day have I begotten thee” to Christ’s resurrection.

Turn to Hebrews 1.5: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” The first half of this verse refers to Psalm 2.7, but the context here has to do, not with the resurrection of Christ, but with His birth (The second half of Hebrews 1.5 refers to Second Samuel 7.14, where Solomon is a type of Christ in prophecy). And how is Christ’s birth similar to Christ’s resurrection? In this way: With both birth and resurrection, there is a sense in which we have a bringing forth of that which was hidden. This is what Peter is saying in Acts 2.24 when he said, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death,” where “The word properly means, the pains of a woman in travail.”[7] Therefore, while the birth of Christ does show Him to be God’s Son, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is an even louder proclamation that He is God’s Son.

Finally, we look to Hebrews 5.5: “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” In the larger context of this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ is shown to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. However, Hebrews 7.3 says this about Melchizedek: “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God.” In other words, Melchizedek is like the Son of God, being without father, without mother, without descent, etc. Now, if you say, “Jesus had a mother named Mary,” I will reply that Hebrews is here dealing with the eternal Son of God and not Jesus in His humanity. In addition, when did the eternal Son of God fully enter into His priestly duties? Upon the occasion of His resurrection from the dead, when He then offered up His Own blood as an atonement for our sins.

Therefore, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” is properly understood to be a divine decree that was enacted in eternity past, was exposed in Psalm 2.7 by means of David’s prophecy of the words of the Son of God, and was executed in time when the Son of God rose from the dead.

In no way should the words “Thou art my Son” be thought to be a part of the divine decree, since at no time did God enact the Sonship of the Second Person of the trinity. The words “Thou art my Son” is simply the appropriate manner by which the First Person addresses the Second Person, the Father speaking to His Son. In today’s English we would translate the phrase, “You my Son.”

The Father speaks in such a manner to distinguish the Son from the Holy Spirit, and in the council chambers of heaven before time began enacted the decree by saying to Him, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” After creation came the time of David’s inspiration to write the words by which the secret decree of God became known to the students of scripture. The execution of the decree, the actual day referred to in our verse was hinted at the time of Christ’s secluded birth in Bethlehem, but was broadcast for all to see and hear on the occasion of His resurrection.

 

The most effective and by far the most enjoyable sermons to both preach and hear are those in which a single and important truth from God’s Word is boldly proclaimed and pointedly applied to the hearers. The last few Sunday messages have not been those kinds of sermons. They have been deeply expositional, not immediately practical, and decidedly difficult for a number of you to follow. However, such sermons are needed from time to time so we can review important doctrinal foundations upon which our beliefs are grounded. Particularly when it comes to the nature and saving work of Jesus Christ, laying a good groundwork is vitally necessary.

Today we have taken a good look at Psalm 2.7, in which the eternal Son of God reveals for the first time a decree that God the Father enacted in eternity past and fully executed when Jesus Christ rose from the dead after His crucifixion. Though the resurrection was the most definitive declaration of the eternal truth that Jesus is God’s eternal Son, we saw that our Lord’s birth in Bethlehem was a preliminary glimpse that showed His Sonship. And when you look through the gospels, how many times do we see reactions provoked, not so much by our Lord’s miracles (though there were some, particularly those miracles worked on the Sabbath), but in response to His claims that He was the Son of God?

John 5.18 illustrates my point: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

If the cross is said by the Apostle Paul to be an offense, why is it an offense? If the birth of Christ is so important, why is it so important? If rejecting Jesus is such a tragedy, why is it such a tragedy? Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that is why (with all that is wrapped up in what it means to be God’s Son).

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of someone. Who? Someone named Jesus. But Whose birth do we celebrate? The birth of the Son of God! We know what the Father did with His Son. He sent Him, sacrificed Him, raised Him up, and then glorified Him. The question for you to deal with is what are you going to do with His Son? Will you reject Him? Or will you receive Him?

Isn’t that a question worth consideration during this Christmas season?



[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume I, (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers), page 10.

[2] Ibid., page 12.

[3] F. Blass, A Debrunner and Robert W. Funk, A Greek Grammar Of The New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press, 1961), page 349.

[4] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. I, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1976), page 225.

[5] Ibid., page 228.

[6] Ibid.

[7] John Wesley, Notes On The Bible, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), bible@mail.com

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org