Was It Really God's Son Who Died On Calvary?

by David Clayton

As a Christian you may think that the title of this article asks a foolish question, or at any rate, one which is easy to answer. Every Christian, of course, would answer a hearty, "yes", to such a question. Perhaps this may be so. The vast majority of Christians (perhaps every single one in the world) would state positively: "Yes, I do believe that God's Son really did die on Calvary for me." No doubt then, it will come as something of a shock to you to discover that most Christians, perhaps even you, do not actually believe that statement. Let me demonstrate what I mean:

How would you respond to the following ideas?

1. Jesus was not really the actual Son of God. He was not really His offspring.
2. Jesus was not actually the begotten Son of God. He was not really born from God.
3. God cannot die. Jesus was God so He could not actually have died on Calvary

Perhaps you are beginning to see the point I am making. However, let me make it a little clearer. "Orthodox" Christian doctrine, today teaches that although Jesus is called the "Son of God", over and over in the Bible, we are not to understand the word "Son" to mean the same thing as it means elsewhere in the Scriptures. When referring to Jesus, the word has some unique, mystical meaning which is left to the "theologians" to interpret for us.

The same applies to the word, "begotten". Five times in the Scriptures, Jesus is called the "Only begotten Son of God" (John 1:14, 18 ; John 3:16,18; 1 John 4;9). This term, only begotten is very simple and easy to understand. Any child could readily tell you its meaning. In plain English, it means that He was the only one BORN FROM . That He came out of God.Those who embrace the trinitarian teaching that God is made up of three persons who are co-equal and co-eternal, one in three and three in one, have problems with the Scriptures which refer to Jesus as the "only begotten Son of God." However, there need be no problem if we accept what the Scriptures say, and allow ourselves to be taught by God's word, rather than try to read into the Scriptures something which is not there.


One of the best known texts in the Bible is John 3:16. Most of us learned this verse almost while we were still in infancy, and have gotten used to the idea that it is the verse in the Bible which most completely, in a single verse, expresses the essence of the whole gospel. The Bible Society, Gideons International, have shown high regard for this verse by placing it at the beginning of their published copy of the New Testament, in twenty-six different languages, and furnishing us with the information that it has been translated into more than eleven hundred different languages. The essential focus, the primary message of all Scripture is captured in this one verse:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

It is a sobering thing, then, to reflect on the fact that the vast majority of Christians in the world do not believe the truth expressed in this verse. This is not an exaggeration, as I will demonstrate to you in a moment. Millions of persons who quote this text freely, proclaim their belief in the gospel, declare their appreciation of the truth expressed in it, yet do not accept fully, the facts of truth proclaimed by Jesus Christ in this verse.Several vital points are made here. However, let us just focus on three of the principal truths:

1. God's love for the world.
2. The degree, or measure of that love.
3. The value of the gift which He gave.

It was Jesus Himself who spoke these words, and the first great point which He wanted to make clear, was God's love for the world. He wanted to bring home to our minds, the reality of the genuineness, and the greatness of God's love for us. "God SO loved," He said, and the word "so," is used to show us the degree, the extent of that love Which our heavenly Father, God, has for us. What is the measure of that love? It is that He gave His son, and not only His son, but His only begotten Son! This is how great God's love for us is. It is easier for a good father to die himself than to give his child to die. When God gave His Son to die for us, it cost Him great suffering. Jesus was the only Being in all the universe who was a part of God in the truest sense. He actually came out of God, was born; begotten (we need not ask how. See Proverbs 8:22,23). He was close to the Father in a way that no other being could be. Yet God gave Him, to be separated from Himself for thirty-three years; to suffer the scorn, persecution, hate, rejection of a diseased world; to suffer the pain and indignity of the cross; to know the agony and uncertainty of unexpected separation from His Father for three fearsome days and nights. God gave His only begotten Son to suffer all this, because of the greatness of His love for us.

But consider this: If Jesus was not actually God's Son, then what sacrifice did the Father make? Whom did He give? Another God? A friend? A colleague? This does not demonstrate love on the Father's part, but rather selfishness, in sending another, rather than coming Himself! Yet the whole point of John 3:16 is the love of God (the Father)."God so loved the world ..." If we embrace the idea of three Gods in one, or one God in three (the trinity), then which one are we talking about here? All three? Or only the Father?"God so loved ... that He gave His ... Son..." Did the Father give His Son? Did the Holy Spirit give His Son? Did the Son give His Son? These questions are ridiculous, and yet, they need to be asked in order that we may clearly see what the text is saying. God is the Father. It is He who gave His Son. It is He who had a Son to give. The Son is not the God who gave His Son, neither is the Holy Spirit that God. The focus of this text is the love of God; but we must understand that this refers specifically to the Father. It is His love which is being emphasized here. It is He who is God. (1 Cor. 8:6)


The doctrine of the Trinity presents another dilemma if we believe that God is a person of honesty and truth. The Scriptures teach that God is immortal. (1Tim.6:16) This means that He cannot die. This immortality of God, is not a quality which He can put on and take off. It is an essential aspect of His being. His immortality is not like that of unfallen angels, a conditional thing. In referring to the immortality of God we are speaking of an absolute thing. He absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, die."Who ONLY hath immortality ..." (1 Tim.6:16) Other beings are immortal, but He alone has immortality in the absolute sense. He can never ever be mortal, or be made to die.Yet the Scriptures teach that Jesus died for us! (Romans 5:6-8). Here is a dilemma indeed. God cannot die, yet Jesus did die. The Scriptures clearly teach both things. Let us look at the alternatives open to us in viewing this seeming contradiction. Either:

1. Jesus did not really die.Or:
2. Jesus is not God (the one who only hath immortality).

Those who say that Jesus is God (the God), have no alternative but to say that Jesus did not really die. In other words, what happened at Calvary was only a play; just an acted drama (what blasphemy!). Others seek to find some compromise in saying that the "divine part" of Christ did not die, but only the human part. However, this presents us with an even greater abomination, because what we are left with is nothing but a human sacrifice! Something which could never atone for the sins of the world.

Jesus was not a human being before He came to this earth. But when He came here, He became fully a human being in every sense. All that He retained of His God-nature, was His character of infinite love and compassion. His power, His knowledge, He laid aside completely and lived in total dependence on His Father. However, the trinitarians say that He only took a HUMAN SIDE when He came to earth. In other words, He had two personalities. One, His personality as God and the other, His personality as a human being. Many claim that when Jesus died, His human side died, but that He still continued to live as God even though He was supposed to be dead. This of course would have to be true if Jesus is truly the supreme God, for the supreme God is immortal, and cannot die.

Yet, if this is true; if all that died on Calvary was the "human side" of Jesus, then we must ask the question, what did God really sacrifice at Calvary? According to this doctrine, the "human side" of Jesus was really something created when He was conceived in Mary's womb. Something which came into being two thousand years ago. The divine side of Jesus, the immortal God-part did not really die. What we have then, is a situation in which God did not really make a sacrifice at Calvary, but rather created a being who paid the price on His behalf. A most abominable and glaringly false idea.

The truth is that Jesus, the Son of God, did truly die. Did pass into the unconscious, senseless, unknowing sleep of death. He did feel the darkness of death, black and unfathomable stealing upon His soul when He prayed that the cup might pass from Him. He did experience, truly, the agony and uncertainty of genuine separation from God. He died, because He could die. He was mortal. He could die, because He is not the one and only God who "hath immortality". This immortal one, "no man hath seen, not can see," He dwelleth "in the light which no man can approach unto." (1 Tim.6:16).Jesus is a divine Being. There is no question of that. It is obvious that every Son takes the nature of His Father, so if the nature of the father is divine (having the qualities of God) then it is evident that the Son also is divine. This is why John 1:1 says:"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God (the God. gr.) and the word was God (divine)."

Yet, the word "God" also carries with it the idea of the one absolute, supreme Being in the universe. In this sense, there is only One who is God. Not three. This one God is the Father. The One who gave His Son to die. This is the testimony of the Scriptures over and over again (1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

All the authority and power which belong to God have been given to His Son (Col.2:9; Matt. 28:18). Yet, these do not belong to Jesus inherently. They have been given to Him by God, (1 John 5:26; Col.1:19) and the day will come when the controversy is finally over and then the Son will be subject to the Father, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

In closing, I would like to ask the question again: "Did God's Son really die for me?" How do you answer this question? This is the central point of the whole gospel. Undoubtedly, this point, above all others, is the focus of Satan's attack. When we see how these truths have been subtly, but effectively nullified over the ages, it becomes clear that Satan's efforts have been highly successful.

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

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