4

In a statement urging Israel to abandon idolatry and return to the Lord (Jehovah) Samuel says:

And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. - 1 Samuel 7:3

This theme of serving God only as illustrated by forgoing the service of idols or false prophets and returning to the service of Jehovah God is oft repeated in Scripture:

Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. - Deuteronomy 13:3-4

Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. - Joshua 24:14-15 

This theme is picked up by Jesus in responding to the temptations of Satan in the desert and recorded almost identically in both Matthew and Luke:

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. - Matthew 4:9-10

If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. - Luke 4:7-8

It is interesting to note how, in responding to the temptation to worship Satan, Jesus links worship and service of God together. To worship an idol is to serve that idol and to serve a false God is to worship that God. Jesus categorically declares (and also echoes all of God's revelation to us) that only God, Jehovah God, the Lord Almighty should be worshiped and served.

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. - Colossians 3:22-24

And in another place, regardless of what is meant by the strange Chaldean word mammon, Jesus says that two different masters (one God and one non-God) cannot both be served:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. - Matthew 6:24

My question, therefore is, given Jesus exhortation to serve the Lord thy God only and the apostle Paul's reminder that it is the Lord Christ whom Christians serve: Whom do Biblical Unitarians serve?

15
  • 3
    @Peter Turner The Q you link is asking Trinitarians who the Lord (Yahweh) in the OT is, to them. This new Q is asking Unitarians to explain their understanding of the 3 OT and 4 NT texts quoted about 'Lord'. Answers would require a lot more by way of exposition than the linked Q seeking a Tritarian view.
    – Anne
    Jan 26, 2023 at 14:31
  • 2
    @PeterTurner The complete illogicality of a 'Father' with no Son (in the OT) needs further explaining. If 'Father' is (supposedly) only father to an incarnate being, then how was 'Father' father before ? This question would serve to resolve that unresolved matter.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:03
  • 1
    @NigelJ He's the Father of Israel in the OT. ? Jan 26, 2023 at 21:51
  • 1
    @OnlyTrueGod I think Isaiah 64:8 points out the difference between created sons and the begotten sons of God. Jan 27, 2023 at 0:12
  • 1
    @OnlyTrueGod Those in Adam are created sons as Adam was and those in Christ are begotten sons as Jesus is. Those born of the flesh are flesh and those born of the spirit are spirit. Isaiah's language is all about clay and about forming and making sons. Jan 27, 2023 at 0:26

1 Answer 1

3

Because God (the Father) and Jesus Christ are aligned in purpose and will, and because Christ is God in the sense of representation, and because Christ has been granted Vice-regency (Kingship) by God at the right hand of God in Heaven, it is a unique case. Biblical Unitarians serve God - the Father - and they do this by also following His representative to whom He has given all authority, the Christ.

As the Biblical Unitarian article Who is Jesus Christ? Our Lord and Savior says

"He is the only man whom God highly exalted as “Lord” and “Head of the Church,” and to whom God has given all authority in heaven and on earth (Dan. 7:13-14; Phil. 2:9; Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:22; Matt. 28:18). As Pharaoh exalted Joseph to his right hand and gave him all authority in Egypt (Gen. 41:37-46), so God has given Jesus functional equality with Himself. Jesus Christ is now God’s “right hand man” (Eph. 1:20), carrying out the work that will eventually restore this fallen world."

This is similar to how David and Yahweh were both worshipped at 1 Chronicles 29:20.

Then David said to the whole assembly, “Blessed be the LORD [i.e., Yahweh] your God.” So the whole assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers. They bowed down and paid homage to the LORD and to the king.

but the Christ, who is the new David, is greater than David.

The Christ is Lord in this sort of sense, just as Yahweh is Lord in the ultimate sense. One can worship the Christ properly, follow the Christ properly, and serve the Christ properly, without thinking the Christ is God.

The key here is that the Christ is an agent of God, and has legitimate Kingship delegated by God.

14
  • Since I am not a Biblical Unitarian am I allowed to answer or address what the "Only True God" stated in the answer section and not the comments section? I don't want to break any rules.
    – Mr. Bond
    Jan 26, 2023 at 21:45
  • 1
    @MikeBorden Are you referring to Col. 3:24? Given the tenor of Paul's writing - that the Christ is subordinate to God - I don't think he needs to explicitly state that by serving Christ you are serving God. So I would disagree that there's a hard stop implied there. Jan 27, 2023 at 0:50
  • 1
    @MikeBorden Right - subordination doesn't necessitate ontological inequality. But subordination does require one to whom the other is subordinate - i.e., a distinction in hierarchy. If the Christ is subordinate, there has to be one to whom he is subordinate. Jan 27, 2023 at 1:12
  • 2
    Yes and the Son is subordinate to the Father but they may both be God ontologically. One can serve Christ as subordinate but ontologically equal to God. making the serving of Christ equivalent to serving God. I up-voted your answer because I understand what you are saying and it did answer the question, btw. Jan 27, 2023 at 1:29
  • 1
    @MikeBorden. It’s important to mark the answer with a big green check mark when it satisfactorily answers the question.
    – Kris
    Jan 31, 2023 at 13:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .