“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
His only begotten Son into the world,
The words “only begotten” pertain to what is unique in the sense of being the only one of the same kind or class – unique. The Son is the One of a Kind. He is the Great Unlike, incomparable to anyone else.
God calls His Son “only begotten” five times in the New Testament. All five times occur in John’s writings, four in the gospel of John and once in his first epistle. “Only begotten” speaks of Jesus’ uniqueness rather than His origin. Jesus is the one-of-a-kind agent of the Father and the Father’s plan for salvation. God did not have another Son.
John 1:14,18, 14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Jn 3:16-18, 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus Christ is called “His own Son” twice in Romans 8:3,32.
Mt 3:17, “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Mt 17:5, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’”
Co 1:13, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…”
The Son of God is the Great Unlike.
The greatness of God’s gift to us lies in the fact that He gave His “only begotten Son” for our redemption. The “only begotten Son” expresses the Son’s eternal union with the Father and inexpressible intimacy and love between the Father and Son. The Son shares all the Father’s viewpoints and affections.
Jesus did not become the “only begotten Son” in the Incarnation. He was and is eternally the only begotten Son. God revealed His character and will fully in Jesus Christ. There never has been nor will ever be a person like the Son of God.
Jn 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”