The Son of God is not a bestowed title. It is a distinctive and meaningful name. John the apostle speaks of those who "believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 Jn 5.13). Son of God, therefore, indicates identity and personality - who He is and what He is like; as the Son He shares the essential nature and life of the Father. The term "Son" in relation to the Lord Jesus does not refer to time, and never suggests inferiority; on the contrary it speaks of the divine essence, of equality and eternity; it connotes absolute deity, hence the devil's challenge: "If thou be the Son of God…" (Lk 4.3). The AV hints at the triune nature of the Godhead in many places, and the concept of divine Sonship is suggested in Proverbs 30.4 and Daniel 3.25. The Son's equality with the Father is implicit in such Scriptures as John 5.18; 10.33; 16.28; Hebrews 1.2. An eternal Father demands an eternal Son!
There are many religious people who deny that the Lord Jesus claimed to be God, yet a superficial reading of the New Testament indicates many occasions when He made such claims. Consider two examples: "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" (Jn 5.18), and "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (Jn 5.19). Thus He claimed to possess the same capacity, ability, and authority as the Father. Again in John: "…because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn 10.36); "because he made himself the Son of God" (Jn 19.7); said Caiaphas at His trial, "I adjure thee…that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God" (Mt 26.63-64); "Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am" (Lk 22.70 - an affirmation); "he said, I am the Son of God" (Mt 27.43). There are more instances, but these will suffice.
On the human level, credentials are evidences to prove a person's identity and qualifications; let us consider this in relation to the Lord Jesus. There is angelic witness at His birth - He is called "the Son of the Highest" (Lk 1.32), "the Son of God" (Lk 1.35), and "Christ the Lord" (Lk 2.11). There is prophetic witness at His baptism - "I (John Baptist) saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (Jn 1.34). There is divine witness at the transfiguration - "this is my beloved Son" (Mt 17.5). The miracles of healing, changing water into wine, walking on the sea, and stilling the storm all attest His divine powers. He assumed divine prerogatives - conferring the forgiveness of sins (Mk 2.5,7), accepting the worship of men and women (Mt 2.2; Jn 9.38) etc. The Lord was omniscient (including foreknowledge) for He "perceived their thoughts" (Lk 5.22), "knew what was in man" (Jn 2.25), He knew what was in "the heart of men" (Mk 7.21). He exercised the prerogative of judgment in denouncing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but not condemning the guilty adulteress (Jn 8.3-11), for He is the appointed judge of all (Jn 5.27). These are impressive credentials indeed!
Many people openly confessed their belief that Christ was the Son of God. The disciples had closely observed His impeccable conduct and conversation; they detected no flaw or sin in His behaviour and acknowledged His deity as Peter did: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16.16); the other disciples also said, "we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (Jn 6.69). Nathaniel and Martha did likewise, and notably the centurion at the cross: "Truly, this was the Son of God" (Mt 27.54). Paul after his conversion "straightway…preached Christ…that he is the Son of God" (Acts 9.20); this was the theme of apostolic preaching - "the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was preached among you by us" (2 Cor 1.19). Christianity is not a lifeless, legal religion; it is all about the peerless person of the Son of God. Do we confess Him, when opportunities arise?
The irrefutable proof that Jesus is the Son of God is that He raised the dead, for He was "declared (marked out) to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom 1.4). He raised to life a little girl who had just died (Lk 8.53-55); He raised a young man who was about to be buried (Lk 7.12-15). Finally, Lazarus, an older man, had been in the grave four days and Jesus brought him back to life again (Jn 11.43-44). On each occasion it was by the word of His power, but motivated by His compassion, for He restored a daughter to her parents, a son to his mother, and a brother to his sisters - how lovely, what a perfect gentleman. But Christ's bodily resurrection on the third day was even more phenomenal: He had "power to lay it down (His life)", and "power to take it again" (Jn 10.18); "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (Jn 2.19). It is an open and shut case. Let us lay hold afresh upon this tremendous truth - Jesus is the Son of God!
What does all this mean to us personally as believers? Our faith has brought us into a living relationship with the Son of God, and this should have a practical bearing on our lives - we live in Him and should live for Him. Consider and appropriate the following Scriptures. "The Son of God…loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal 2.20) - nothing between Him and me but love - He is the ground of security, how precious! "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding" (1 Jn 5.20) - He is the reason for certainty. "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn 5.5) - He is the secret of victory. "We have a great high priest…Jesus the Son of God" (Heb 4.14) - He is the source of sympathy. What abundant resources are ours in the mighty Son of God!
What think ye of Christ? is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
If you do not think rightly of Him.