John 3 v 16 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Galations 4 v 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
The Son cannot be sent until he is first “made of a woman” and “made under the law”. The Son must first be made flesh and in the flesh made subject to the rule of the law in order for him to be sent. He is not sent as the co-equal Son sharing the glory of the Father. He is sent after he has left this glory being begotten in the flesh. The Son cannot be sent before he is given and begotten by the Father. The act of sending is usually seen as the Son being commanded to go in to the world by the Father thus making him subordinate to the Father. In other words the Father is the Lord of the Son before he is begotten. I disagree with this interpretation of the biblical testimony. If the Son is forced by the Father to come in to the world and has no choice in the matter how do we know that he came gladly to redeem us? The anti-trinitarians always interpret such texts which state that the Son was sent by the Father to mean that Jesus could not be co-equal to the Father because he was commanded to go in to the world by the Father therefore he was never not in a state of submission to the Father in his pre-humanly-existent state. In my view this is not the case and the biblical texts I have quoted in this post show it not to be the case.
You might say that the parable of the wicked tenants proves otherwise, namely that the son is under the lordship of his father and that this proves that the Son of God is under the lordship of the Father. My rejoinder would be that parables depicting earthly life are not a perfect analogy of heavenly things but are an approximation to that reality. There are limits to the extent to which we can apply the earthly truth to the heavenly reality. Especially in the case of the relationship of the Father to the Son in eternity.
The pre-existent Son in the act of giving his life was acting completely voluntarily. There was no element of compulsion involved whatsoever. On the other hand someone who is sent is compelled and has no choice in the matter. He is in a state of subjection to the one who is sending him. The pre-existent Son gives his life as a ransom for many. He is not compelled to do so:
Matthew 20 v 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
John 15 v 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Galatians 2 v 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
My belief therefore is that there is a covenant in eternity between the Father and the Son, as co-equal members of the trinity, in which the Son makes a covenant with the Father to be given to the elect as a sacrifice for their sins; to be begotten and sent to this end as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.