Today, we are going to start a rerun of a series I posted a while back. In fact, it is a rerun of a rerun. We are going to take a look at what The Bible Teaches about the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
When we state that we believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ, we are simply saying that we believe that Jesus Christ is God. That may seem odd in light of the fact that Biblical Christianity also believes Jesus to have been human. One may wonder and be curious how both statements can possibly be true. We believe Jesus Christ to have been both 100% human and 100% God. Jesus is the God-Man. Jesus is as much God as if He had never been human, and as much human as He had never been God. If that sounds hard to understand, that is because it is hard to understand!
As with many things declared in the Bible, such as the Doctrine of the Trinity, some things simply are not understandable by our finite human minds. The Bible clearly states, however, both ideas: That Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine (God). God has revealed to us exactly what He wants us to understand and chances are strong that if He even tried to reveal more details of this concept, we would not understand it anyway.
The Doctrine of the Deity of Jesus is under attack, along with many other basic doctrines of Orthodox Christianity. Normally, these assaults tend to come from the same group of people; it’s always the same group more or less: atheists, naturalists, evolutionists, and so on. The biggest assaults on the Deity of Jesus Christ, amazingly enough, come from within the ranks of so called “Christianity”. This includes liberal theologians and denominations, pseudo Christian denominations, and Cults posing as Christian denominations.
Many people are willing to say many things about Jesus Christ: He was a great teacher, a great example for us all to follow, maybe even that He was the most moral and upright man who ever lived. On the other hand, most people simply refuse to accept the fact that Jesus Christ was, in fact, God in human flesh as well.
It is very important for us to understand that the Deity of Jesus is a very vital belief and doctrine; we will learn later how only a Savior who was also God could actually save us from the penalty of sin.
It is also vital to understand that, as with many other historically orthodox beliefs, that the belief in the Deity of Jesus is a defining attribute of the Christian belief system. This claim by Jesus, and our belief as such, that Jesus was God Incarnate separates Christianity from any other religious belief system in the world. No other major prophet, religious leader, or founder of any major world religion has ever actually claimed to be God in human flesh. Moses never claimed to be Yahweh, Buddha never claimed to be God, Mohamed never claimed to be Allah, and Zoroaster never claimed to be Ahura Mazda.
The great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis made a very compelling and convincing argument concerning the Deity of Jesus in his book Mere Christianity. Now, I find a lot of C.S. Lewis’ theology to be quite questionable(that being another topic.) That notwithstanding, he actually nailed this thought really well:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
What exactly was Lewis saying in the above argument? It’s really quite simple yet profound and convincing.
1. The whole argument is first and foremost based on the premise that Jesus did, in fact, claim to be God. Since the Bible clearly supports that, we won’t even address that argument here.
2. If Jesus claimed to be God, actually thought he was God but was not God, then as C.S. Lewis said, he was as mad as a man thinking he is a poached egg. Based on what we know of the history of Jesus, the things He said, and the things He did, it does not seem likely that Jesus was insane or mentally challenged in any way. If Jesus was unbalanced or insane, then he really did not qualify as a great moral teacher, as we would not usually give that respect to someone whose teachings were clearly delusional.
3. If Jesus claimed to be God but knew clearly that He was not God, then he was one of the greatest liars and deceivers of all time. And anyone who would purposely deceive so many people obviously could not be a “Good, moral teacher”..
4. Since Jesus clearly claimed to be God in the flesh, then we cannot simply say He was a great, moral teacher; He was in fact, either a raving lunatic, a heinous liar, or God in the flesh!
Why Does It Even Matter if Jesus was God?
The reason why Jesus had to be God is actually one of the simpler concepts concerning the theology of salvation to understand. Before in this blog, I have discussed the most basic reason why Jesus had to be human; because humans were the ones guilty of the original sin, a human had to pay the price for that sin. In other words, only Jesus the man could die; and only death could pay the debt for sin, for as Romans 6:23 states, “the wages of sin is death”.
On the other hand, if Jesus was merely a man, even a sinless man, He would be limited in the scope of sin His death would have covered. His sinlesness enabled Him to pay the debt for another; He had no debt of His own to pay. However, if He was just a man, He could have paid the debt for one other person. God’s plan of salvation was for a sacrifice which would cover the sins of the entire world. That includes all who had been born and died before His day, as well as all who would be born in the future. Not only for all people but for all sins; that includes all sin committed as well as all sin which would be committed into the future. If that sounds like a possibly infinite number of people and possible sins, that is because it is a possibly infinite number!
Only God is infinite, having existed from eternity past. God never came into being, He simply has always been. Since the amount of sin is basically infinite, only an infinite being could pay for it all. Therefore, only a being who was totally human could pay for the sin of humanity; conversely, only a being who was totally God could pay the infinite price which had to be paid. And as 1 John 2:2 makes clear, Jesus did come to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Every other major religion in the world focuses on the teachings of their religions; in other words, the works one must perform in order to reach heaven. While obviously, Jesus’ teachings are of huge importance, they are not actually the thing which is most important. The most important thing is not what Jesus taught, but who Jesus was. Jesus was, in fact, God incarnate in human flesh, and is as He Himself said in John 14:6 the only way for anyone to get to the Father.
Tomorrow, we will begin to explore more reasons for the vast importance of this critical doctrine and look at some of the reasons some so desperately want to disbelieve this doctrine. See you then!