Jesus Christ is referred to as the "Son of God" forty-six times in the King James Version of the New Testament. What does this epithet mean? Why was Christ called the "Son of God?"
First, Jesus Christ was awarded this epithet because of the way in which he was conceived. We read in Luke's account of the Gospel that the angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish virgin named Mary. (Luke 1:26-27) Gabriel told her, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
Second, God personally attached this appellation to Jesus. When Christ was baptized, a voice from heaven declared "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)
Third, Christ was also the "Son of God" in the sense that every human is God's son. In Luke's account of Christ's human descent from Adam, we read that Enos was the son of Seth, "which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." (Luke 3:38)
Fourth, Christ was also God's son in the sense that he loved God as his Father and devoted his life to the fulfillment of his "Father's" expectations and wishes. (John 5:19, 30 and 10:37-38) Hence, God was the "Father" or genesis of everything that Jesus did during his lifetime on this planet. In short, God's morality and righteousness was Christ's standard throughout his life on this earth.
Fifth, Christ was confirmed in this appellation by virtue of the fact that he was resurrected from the dead and ascended to heaven to be with his Father. (Acts 2:32-36 and Romans 1:4) As Stephen finished his sermon about Jesus before the Jewish Council, we read that "he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55-56) That declaration got him stoned to death for blasphemy. (verses 59-60)
Thus, while there is no statement recorded in Scripture that a Christian must believe that Jesus is God, it is made very plain that one must believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. John declared that his account of the Gospel was written so that people would believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. (John 20:31) John wrote: "Whosoever shall confess (declare) that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." (I John 4:15) When Peter stated that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah and God's Son, Christ responded that only the Father could have revealed that awareness to him. (Matthew 16:17)
What about you? Do you believe that Jesus was the Messiah that was prophesied to come in the Old Testament? Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God? If you can sincerely answer "Yes" to both of those questions, then Scripture states that the only way for you to have arrived at that conclusion is by virtue of the fact that God lives within you! In other words, that makes you a Christian.