Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory |
of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13)
The Deity Of Jesus Christ |
The deity of Jesus Christ has been challenged ever since the days He walked on this earth. Not because there is a lack of evidence regarding this truth but because obstinate men wish to impugn the evidence fostered by the hardness of their hearts in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4).
Scripture reveals the eternity and deity of Jesus in two ways: (1) Implications from the writings and (2) Direct statements.
He is presented as being perfectly human and at the same time perfectly divine. He was both like and unlike other men. He was unlike other men in that He existed from eternity past as stated by the prophet Isaiah: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Is. 9:6). The distinction being very clear in that, speaking of the birth of Jesus, a child was born into this world but the Son Himself was from eternity past.
"But when the fulness of time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman..." (Gal. 4:4)John 1:1-2 states, "In the beginning (always) was the Word, and the Word (continuously) was with God and the Word (constantly) was God. This One was in the beginning with God." The prophet Micah, speaking of the Messiah, proclaims "His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2). If Jesus is God then He is eternal, and if He is eternal, He is God. Isaiah 7:14 affirms His virgin birth and states His name as "Immanuel" meaning "God with us." In this same book, chapter 9 verse 6, His name is further explained as "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace."
Some have claimed that Jesus never titled Himself as deity but was christened upon Him by His over zealous disciples. But Scripture regards that assertion to be erroneous in that Jesus claimed equality with God when He said that He and the Father were one (Jo. 5:18; 10:30) and when the inquisitive Philip asked to see the Father Jesus replied, "he who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jo. 14:7). In John 8:58 He stated in regards to Himself, "Before Abraham was, I AM" and the crowd picked up rocks to stone Him because they understood precisely that He was claiming to be God (Ex. 3:14, Is. 43:13, cf. Jo. 5:18).
Jesus also claimed to do things that were only the prerogatives of God. For instance, He demonstrated His power to forgive sins by healing a paralytic (Mk. 2:5-12). He claimed all judgment was given into His hands (Jo. 5:27), that He had the authority to send the Holy Spirit (Jo.15:26), He would give spiritual life to whomever He wishes (Jo. 5:21) and He would be the one to raise the dead (Jo.6:39,40,44,54).
Other passages that substantiate His equality with God reveal His power to create for "All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing has come into being that has come into being" (Jo. 1:3; cf. Col. 1:16); He is the power that holds all thing together (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3) and He is the judge of all men (Acts 17:31). He is identified as the Old Testament's "Most High" in Luke 1:76 (cf. Malachi 3:1) and in the Book of Hebrews He is directly referred to as God, "Thy throne O God, is forever and ever..." (Heb. 1:8).
Christ's direct claims of Himself in the Gospels and of those who wrote of Him in the other New Testament and Old Testament books attest to the fact that the Bible presents Jesus as Deity.
The Theanthropic Man (God/Man) - Jesus Christ
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2Cor. 8:9).Jesus was like other men in that although He was fully God He was fully man as well. However one important juncture must be expressed here: In becoming flesh He did not lay aside His deity (Phil. 2:5-8). His deity and humanity were essential to His work on the cross. If He was not a man He could not die and if He was not God His death would not have had infinite value. His humanity and deity are shown in that He claimed to meet the human need but He Himself, like other men, had human needs. Though as God He could turn stones into bread to feed His human hunger, He never did because He did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28; Mk. 10:45).
As a Man who possessed a body, soul and spirit (Matt. 26:38; Jo. 13:21; 1Jo. 4:2,9) He suffered weaknesses common to all men demonstrated by becoming weary (Jo. 4:6), hungry (Matt. 4:2) and thirsty (Jo. 19:28).
Reasons For His Incarnation
1. To reveal God to men (Matt. 11:27; Jo. 1:18: 14:9).
2. To provide a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:1-10).
3. To destroy the works of the devil (Jo. 12:31; Col.2:13-15; Heb. 2:14).
4. To become our High Priest concerning things pertaining to God (Heb. 2:16-17).
5. To fulfill the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:16; Lk. 1:31-33) which promises an everlasting King, Throne and Kingdom for the nation of Israel.
6. To be Head over the Church which He is building during this age (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22).
He is called the Lamb of God. His sacrifice and shedding of blood required a physical body, but the results of His work were infinite. His death assures us of the love of God toward sinners (Jo. 3:16; Ro. 5:8) in that He paid the ransom price required by the offended holiness of God in order to procure our redemption from sin, freeing us from just condemnation (Ro.4:25; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4) and reconciling us to God on the cross (Ro. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18-20).
Frequently in the Gospels He predicted His own death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; Mk. 9:30-32; Lk. 9:22; Jo. 2:19-22) and after His sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent burial, while yet in His human form, He was resurrected in His glorified human body and appeared to many: To Mary Magdalene (Jo. 20:11-17), His disciples (Jo. 26-29) and even to five hundred at one time (1 Cor. 15:6).
He rose from the dead because of Who He was (Acts 2:24) and as the source of resurrection power (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:19-21; Phil. 4:13) He is the Giver of resurrection life (Jo. 10:10-14; Jo. 11:25-26; Eph. 2:6). His resurrection testified of the believer's justification (Rom. 4:25) and He is the "first fruits" of the resurrection; "Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming" (1Cor. 15:20-23).
His ascension into heaven marked the end of His earthly ministry and as a man He entered heaven and took His position as universal Lordship and awaits His second advent to earth and ultimate triumph.
His Present Work In Heaven
1. The believer's High Priest (Heb. 8:1-2)
2. The believer's Intercessor (Heb.9:24)
3. The believer's Advocate before the Father (1Jo. 2:1)
3. The believer's Master as Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18)
Written by Gary Nystrom