342. In the preceding section (n. 336-339), it is shown than saving faith is faith in the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ. But the question arises, What is the first principle of faith in Him? The answer is, The acknowledgement that He is the Son of God. This was the first principle of faith, which the Lord revealed and announced when He came into the world. For unless men had first acknowledged that He was the Son of God, and thus God from God, in vain would He Himself and His Apostles after Him have preached faith in Him. Now as the case is somewhat similar at the present day - but with those who think from their selfhood, that is, solely from the external or natural man, saying to themselves, How could Jehovah God beget a Son, and how can a man be God? - it is necessary to confirm and establish from the Word this first principle of faith. For this reason the following passages are quoted:
The angel said to Mary, Thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee therefore that which is to be born of thee shall be called Holy, the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35.)
When Jesus was being baptized, there came a voice out of heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:16, 17; Mark 1:10, 11; Luke 3:21, 22).
Again when Jesus was transfigured, there also came a voice out of heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35).
 Jesus asked His disciples, saying, Who do men say that I am? Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said, Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jonah. I say unto thee, that upon this rock I will build my church (Matt. 16:13-18).
The Lord said that upon this rock, that is, upon the truth and the confession that He is the Son of God, He would build His church; for "rock" signifies truth, and also the Lord in respect to Divine truth. So with those who do not confess this truth that He is the Son of God, the church is not; therefore it is said above, that this is the first principle of faith in Jesus Christ, and thus is faith in its origin.
John the Baptist saw and bare witness that this is the Son of God (John 1:34).
The disciple Nathanael said to Jesus, Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel (John 1:49).
The twelve disciples said, We have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (John 6:69).
He is called the only begotten Son of God, and the only begotten from the Father, who is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:14, 18; 3:16).
Jesus Himself confessed before the high priest, that He was the Son of God (Matt. 26:63, 64; 27:43; Mark 14:61, 62; Luke 22:70).
They that were in the ship came and worshiped Jesus, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God (Matt. 14:33).
The eunuch who wished to be baptized, said to Philip, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 3:37).
Paul, when he was converted, preached Christ, that He was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).
Jesus said, The hour cometh, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live (John 5:25).
He that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).
These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in His name (John 20:31).
These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).
We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given that we may know Him that is True, and we are in Him that is True, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20).
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him and he in God (1 John 4:15).
(Again elsewhere, as in Matt. 8:29; 27:40, 43, 54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 15:39; Luke 8:28; John 9:35; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; Rom. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:19; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:13; Heb. 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 5:10; Apoc. 2:18.) There are also many passages where He is called "Son" by Jehovah, and where He calls Jehovah God His Father, as in this:
Whatever the Father doeth, that the Son doeth also; as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so doth the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father; as the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:19-27).
So in many other passages. And again in David:
I will declare the decree; Jehovah hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, for His anger will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him (Ps. 2:7, 12).
 From the foregoing now comes this conclusion, that everyone who wishes to be truly a Christian and to be saved by Christ, ought to believe that Jesus is the Son of the living God. He who does not believe this, but only that He is the Son of Mary, implants in his mind various ideas respecting Him, which are injurious and destructive to that salvation (On which see above, n. 92, 94, 102). Of such it may be said, as of the Jews,
That instead of a royal crown, they place upon His head a crown of thorns, and also give Him vinegar to drink, and they cry out, If thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross (Matt. 27:29, 34, 40).
Or as the devil, the tempter, said, If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread or, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down (Matt. 4:3, 6).
Such profane His church and temple, and make it a den of robbers. These are they who make the worship of Him like the worship of Mohammed, and do not distinguish between true Christianity, which is the worship of the Lord, and naturalism. They may be compared to men riding in a carriage or coach over thin ice, and the ice breaks under them, and they sink, and they, with their horses and vehicle, are covered by the icy water. They may also be likened to men who make a little boat of woven reeds and rushes, daubing it with pitch that it may hold together, and in it put out to sea; but there the cohesiveness of the pitch is destroyed, and they are choked by the waters of the sea and swallowed up and are buried in its depths.