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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Jesus

Is Jesus Really God – Part Eight – What Others Said

 

The final installment of this older series.

Today we will be wrapping up our study on the Deity of Jesus. We will close with what others had to say about this subject, or the thoughts they expressed concerning it. We won’t just talk about what those friendly to our Lord said, thought, and wrote; Jesus’ enemies also expressed themselves concerning the claims Jesus made.

The Writers of the Bible Clearly Describe Jesus as Being Divine

Time and time again, various writers of Holy Scripture describe the Divinity of Jesus Christ. We are working under the premise here that The Bible as we have it today is, in fact, inspired by God. Therefore if the writers of Scripture call Jesus God, then it is just as if God the Father called Jesus God. The only way to escape this conclusion is to deny that ,as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”

One of the clearest descriptions of the Deity of Jesus Christ is contained in the opening words of the John Chapter 1. In this passage, The Word clearly refers to Jesus, as the context makes clear. In Verse 1, we are told: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That clearly states that Jesus is Eternal and that He is also God. On into Verse 14 we see And the Word was made 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.

God Himself said Jesus was God in Hebrews 1:8. That entire chapter is a good summation of God comparing Jesus to anything else He created, and how Jesus is superior to all created beings..

Isaiah said the child born would, in addition to all the other things He would be called, would also be called “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6.

John 5:23 teaches we should worship the Son just like the Father.

Philippians 2:5-7 describes Jesus as “being in the form of God

Timothy 3:16 says “God was  manifested in the flesh

Writing to Titus, Paul said in Titus 2:3  that we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”

So it goes on, time after time, numerous passages clearly show that the writers of Holy Scripture considered Jesus Christ to be Divine. And if we believe in the inspiration of the Bible, we can only come to the conclusion that God the Father is clearly informing us that Jesus the Son is also divine.

Jesus enemies clearly understood that He was claiming to be God

In this section, we will discuss briefly the concept of Jesus’ own claims to deity. Earlier, we talked about what our Lord Himself had to say about it; now we will discuss how others, specifically His enemies, perceived some of the things Jesus said and did. They had no doubt whatsoever just what Jesus was claiming. In fact, they often wanted to kill Him for claiming to be God, since that claim was considered blasphemy and punishable by death.

In John Chapter 10 Jesus was walking and teaching with the Jews in the Temple and gave them His teaching where He made the claim “I and My Father are one“,: and the Jews wanted to stone him. When Jesus asked then why they wanted to kill him they replied in Verse 33, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

In fact, blasphemy was the only crime for which Jesus was actually convicted at his various “trials” before His Crucifixion. In Mark 14:61-64 Jesus and the High Priest had the following conversation.

But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.”

The Jews of the day understood that to forgive sins was a claim to be God since only God could forgive sin. In Mark Chapter 2 we can again see the story of the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof of the house where Jesus was preaching so that Jesus could heal him. In Verse 5 note, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”  The scribes quickly realized just what Jesus was saying here and though in their minds, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” in Verse 7. Actually, Jesus’ ability to read their thoughts was also a claim to Divine nature, as who is omniscient, or all-knowing, but God?

 Conclusion

If we use the Bible as our source of information, and of course we should, if we believe the Bible is the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice, then we can only come to one conclusion on this issue. And that conclusion is that Jesus was, and is, 100% fully God.

The only way we, or anybody else, can deny that conclusion is to simply toss out as untrue vast sections of the Holy Scriptures. Then we head down that slippery slope we have discussed before, of disregarding portions of the Word of God because they do not fit with our pre-conceived notions of God which we each have in our minds.

This is yet another case of us having the choice to accept God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, or continue trying to create a god which we find appealing in our own minds.

More importantly, we can choose to accept salvation on God’s terms, in the way He has stated it must occur: repentance and belief on His Son Jesus Christ or our own feeble efforts to somehow be good enough to earn our way into God’s Grace.

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Is Jesus Really God – Part Seven – Jesus Knew Who He Was

 

Part 7 of this older series.

Yesterday we discussed some of the statements Jesus made which, while not being the statement “I am God,” were certainly claims of being equal to and of the same substance as God the Father. We also discussed his claims of son-ship with The Father and how, in that day and time, to be someone’s son was to basically be equal with them; obviously a claim equality with God is in practicality the same as a claim of being God.

Today we are going to cover some instances where we see Jesus’ actions indicate He understood His own divine nature.

Jesus laid claim to many of the attributes of God. Jesus made statements in which He claimed to possess attributes we normally only associate with God.

Jesus claimed to possess the eternal nature of God.  We understand that one of the attributes of God is the fact that He has been self-existent from eternity past, and that only God is eternal from before time. Therefore, if Jesus claimed that attribute, He was, in essence, claiming to be God.

Jesus claimed to be the Alpha and Omega, or the First and Last, or the Beginning and the End in Revelation 1:17,18; He also claimed here to be alive forevermore, and that He possessed the keys to Hell and Death.

In John 8:56-58 Jesus was describing to the Pharisees how Abraham rejoiced at the future coming of Jesus, the Messiah. When the Pharisees questioned how a man not even 50 years old could have known Abraham, Jesus replied in verse 58. “Before Abraham was, I Am.” To fully understand just what Jesus was saying here, we have to go back to Moses and the burning bush.  When Moses asked God to say who it was that was sending him(Moses) to lead the Jews out of Egypt, God replied that Moses could simply tell them, in Exodus 3:14, “I AM hath sent me unto you

God can call Himself that because He always has been. He can call Himself that because He always will be. He is self-existent, not having been created by any other thing.  Jesus obviously meant the same thing. He was clearly saying that Abraham was not just rejoicing at the idea of Messiah, but the actual fact not yet taken place, of Jesus Christ Himself! That is why Jesus could also refer to Himself as “I Am”.

Jesus made a claim to the omniscience or all knowing attribute of God when He told Peter exactly how Peter would react the night of the crucifixion. He told Peter how he would deny Jesus three times; He told Peter exactly when this would occur(before the rooster crowed). This story is relayed to us in Matthew 26.

Jesus made a claim to the omnipresence of God when He told his disciples that He would always be with them and also that He is eternal in The Great Commission contained in Matthew 28:18-20, telling them “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Jesus made claims to be able to forgive sins, and this authority is clearly reserved for God alone; this concept is clearly taught throughout both the Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 43:25 is one place), and the Jews of Jesus’ time clearly understood that was what their scriptures taught. In fact, we will cover the Pharisees’ perception of what Jesus was saying later in this lesson.

Let us look at some of the instances where Jesus forgave sins.

In Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26, the Bible tells the story of Jesus’ healing of a paralyzed man. The real key in each of these stories is not really that Jesus healed a sick man, after all, He had been traveling throughout the region healing multitudes of sick by this time. What makes this story so unusual is not that Jesus made a paralyzed man walk, but that in each case He told the man he was forgiven of his sins! He said in each case, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,”

This sets the stage for the clear biblical teaching of exactly what Jesus’ purpose on earth was. He was not here to simply perform miracles and heal sick people; those were simply tools to show the world who He was. Jesus was here to heal the real sickness that was and is infecting the world: sin. The rest of the things we call sickness, including our ultimate deaths, were only brought into the world because of man’s sin.

Jesus accepted the worship of others, a prerogative which belongs only to God Himself.  In fact, there are several recorded instances of men and even angels directing that men not worship them. There is even a recorded instance of severe punishment for a mere man to accept worship. Let us take a look at what the Bible teaches us about who deserves worship and who does not.

God was very clear to Moses when He gave him the Ten Commandments when He instructed “thou shalt have no other Gods before me” in Exodus Chapter 20. While being tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus clearly told Satan, in Matthew 4:10, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

In Acts 14:8-18, a story is told of the Apostle Paul refusing worship from fellow human beings. He and Barnabas were in the city of Lystra and had just healed a man who had been crippled from birth. The townspeople were so amazed they thought Paul and Barnabas were the gods Jupiter and Mercury in human flesh! Paul and Barnabas refused to accept this worship, and ran out in the crowd telling them they were just men, and that they should worship God instead.

The Bible also teaches us that angels are not to be worshiped. In the Book or Revelation, two times John fell at the feet of an angel who had given him a message to worship, in Revelation 19:10 and  22:9. In both cases the angel immediately said, “See thou do it not, I am thy fellowservant.”

The Bible teaches that accepting worship as if one were God can have severe consequences. Acts 12:21-23 tell us of King Herrod who, when the people tried to worship him as God, accepted it gladly rather than direct their worship to the true God. Herrod was then eaten by worms and died.

Clearly, then, we are instructed to worship God and God only.

Jesus on many occasions accepted the worship of others. Knowing the Old Testament Scriptures as he did, only two options are really possible: One is that Jesus was a delusional madman who actually thought He was God, or that He was in fact, God.

Here are some places in the Bible where Jesus either was worshiped, or was worshiped and accepted it.

In Matthew 2:11, the Wise Men from the East saw Jesus and “Fell down, worshiping Him.”

 In Matthew 14:33, after He and Peter both walked on the water and Jesus stilled the wind, the following occurred, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

In Matthew Chapter 28, when Jesus met Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the Tomb, they fell at His feet and worshiped Him.

In Luke 24:51, after Jesus was carried into heaven, the disciples who were with him “worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”

In John 9:38, a blind man whom Jesus healed said “Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.”

In John 20:28, after Jesus showed Thomas the wounds in His hand and side, he responded “My Lord and my God!”

Revelation Chapter 12 describes a scene around the Throne of God, where God and “The Lamb” were both worshiped by the four creatures, the four and twenty elders, and the angels of Heaven.

Time and time again we can read in Scripture instances of Jesus being worshiped or being worshiped and accepting it. There is not a single instance recorded of Jesus correcting any person who offered Him worship. This is in contrast to Paul and Barnabas, as well as the angel the Apostle John encountered, who quickly corrected those who offered them worship.

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow week we will be concluding this series with a lesson on what Jesus’ friends, followers, and enemies thought of his claims to be God.

Until then, blessings and peace.

Is Jesus Really God? Part Six

 

Part 6 of this older series.

We have been studying in some detail this very critical central doctrine of the Christian faith, and are working our way towards a conclusion. Before we dive into the meat of the post, I want to establish the parameters of how this is being approached to cut off, before they begin, certain arguments which might be made.

The objective here is to teach what the Bible teaches about the deity of Jesus Christ. We are going to look at things Jesus said, and we will look at things He did. We will look at what others had to say, including Jesus’ enemies and other writers of the Bible. By the time we finish this series, we will clearly understand that those who teach counter to the true Biblical position on the Deity of Jesus and claim to base their position on the Bible, are simply wrong and have no case to make. That may sound harsh, but it is true. Stay with this study for the duration, and that point will be made quite clear.

The objective is NOT to debate the accuracy of The Bible. If that interests you, move on along because that is not the discussion here. We are here to teach what the Bible teaches, with a big dose of presupposition that is is correct and accurate.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

So, did Jesus claim to be God? Well, as we have discussed, He never said the words “I am God.” He did, however, make some claims that clearly seem to indicate He was making just that claim. Let’s look at some of those.

In John 10:30, Jesus claimed He and His father were one

In John 14:1, he said those who believe in God also believe in Him

In John 14:9, Jesus told Phillip that anyone who had seen Him had seen God.

John Chapter 14 is, in fact, full of references to Jesus and the Father being of one essence.

In John 14:7, Jesus informed Phillip that if he had known Jesus, he would have known “My Father as well.

John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?”

John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me

Jesus claimed equality with God, that He was the Son of God.  It is simply a rule of logic that if two things are equal, they are basically the same. For instance, 2=2 clearly shows us that 2 and 2 are the same thing in every sense of the word.  It gets more complicated when you compare beings or ideas, but the concept is the same.  If Student A claims to be equal with Student B, then in some verifiable way they are equal. Of course, they may not be equal in every way: one may be tall and one short, one may be large one may be small. However, in some way they are equal. In normal usage, to claim equality with another person is claiming positional equality; in other words, they share an equal position in the scheme of things and in life. When our country’s founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal”, they were not saying we are all alike, they were saying that we are equal in our position and standing before other people as well as before God.

So, if Jesus claimed equality with God (and He did), then He was stating He shared a position of equality with God. Who can be positionally equal with an infinite God other than God Himself? Therefore to claim equality with God is to claim to be God.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. This claim is very important when studied in the context of the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day. Ancestry and lineage were of primary importance in the culture of the day. A son, while he might have to grow and mature, was in many ways the absolute equal to his father. Ultimately, every firstborn son of a Jewish male would assume his father’s place in the structure, authority, and culture of his time. So, to be a man’s son was to imply, basically, equality with that man. So, for Jesus to claim to be God’s son was to claim equality and one-ship with God.

Here are a couple of useful outside remarks concerning this issue”

Norman Giesler quoting Peter Kreeft in his book, “Why I Am a Christian:

Jesus also claimed to be the “Son of God.” This title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. Neither does the term “Son” imply inferiority anymore than a human son is inferior in essence to his father. A son shares his father’s DNA, and although he is different, they are both men. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” Jesus meant by it that he has divine essence, or in 21st-century terms, the “DNA of God

From Jesus OnLine Ministries:

What did Jesus mean when he called himself the ‘Son of God’? The son of a man is a man. (Both ‘son’ and ‘man,’ in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. ‘Son of God’ is a divine title.

So, we can see that even if Jesus, never uttered the words, “I am God,” that He did make claims to being of one essence with God, or claims of equality with God. We could stop here and have sufficient evidence that Jesus laid claims to divinity, but we won’t. Next week we will look at some things Jesus DID which basically amount to claims of a divine nature.

Until then, peace and blessings!

Is Jesus Really God? Part Five-Hey Man, Jesus NEVER said He was God

 

Part 5 of this older series.

Hey, Jesus never said He was God!!!

That is a common argument made to support the contention that Jesus never claimed divinity. Hmm..ok..yeah He never said those words. I guess I am done here.

Ok, not really.

If you are reading this, and are a doubter of Jesus’ claims, other people’s claims, and the claim of God’s Word as a whole, then a lesson in proper Bible interpretation is coming. First, the Bible is not a collection of verses with no relationship to each other which can be plucked out and hurled at random to prove whatever a person wants. The Bible is a STORY. It is the story of the creation, fall, and ultimate redemption of God’s creation through Jesus Christ. Any doctrine supported, or not supported, always has to be looked at through the lens of the redemption narrative which runs from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation.

Next, within the Bible, any given passage or narrative always has to be looked at through the lens of history, culture, and language. The English words most of us read sometimes have much more meaning than just the simple way we may see them without putting on those lenses when we read.

My point here is that, no, Jesus never uttered the words, “I am God.” Fair enough, but yet not enough. By looking and interpreting the things we read, we will find during the rest of this study, that Jesus did make claims of his own divinity, and that the people around Him clearly understood what He was claiming.

Let’s just look briefly at some things we will consider over the next few weeks:

Jesus did make claims that he and God were the same being

Jesus often claimed equality with God

Even Jesus’ enemies understood He claimed to be God in the flesh.

Jesus clearly claimed attributes and rights only to be given to or by God

Jesus was worshiped and accepted the worship of others

Various authors of the Bible clearly understood the divinity of Jesus in their inspired writings

That is where we are heading over the next few days. I hope you will follow along and be blessed as we move along.

Is Jesus Really God? Part Four – Why Don’t We Believe In Jesus?

Part 4 of this re-run series. Blessings and enjoy!

We have been working our way through a study on the Deity of Jesus Christ. Simply put, this is one of the most basic and essential beliefs of orthodox Christian faith. Without belief in the Divine nature of Jesus, it can be seriously questioned if one is actually a Christian or, in fact, something else. We have discussed why it matters, a brief explanation of the Hypostatic Union, and some of the major attacks and assaults both historically and today on this essential doctrine.

As we move along in our study, I want to take a look at the whys or the motivations, that may be driving those who doubt this doctrine to doubt in the first place. Irritation warning here and an intolerance advisory has been issued. Many will disagree with some of what I say here, but that’s really not my problem.

Let’s recap, quickly, just why this matters so greatly to the core of Christian belief:

When we pray for the forgiveness of our sins, who do most of us pray to? That is very likely Jesus Christ. If Jesus was not God, then we are praying empty, useless prayers, as only God can forgive sin.

We often pray to and worship Jesus. If He was not God, just who are we worshiping? After all, aren’t we to only worship God?

If we fail to recognize the deity of Jesus, them many other essential Christian doctrines fly right out of the door as well, such as the Trinity and the Resurrection. In fact, since the concept of the deity of Jesus seems quite clear in The Bible, a good part of that has to be tossed out the window as well.

Only God is eternal and infinite. If Jesus was not eternal and infinite, then how exactly did He pay for the potentially infinite sins of the entire human race past, present, and future?

There are many other things we could say about the essential nature of the deity of Jesus, but we will leave it at the above for now and move along. The point is, that without a belief in the deity of Jesus Christ, one is not in any meaningful sense a Christian. Failure to believe in the deity of Jesus is a failure to believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Belief in Jesus is essential to our salvation. Connect the dots.

So, who is it out there in the world denying the deity of Jesus? Well, there are many.

Obviously, atheists would deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Obviously, that is because atheists by definition deny the very existence of deity. There are, however, atheists who like to debate about whether or not The Bible even teaches the deity of Jesus. Why is that? Well, it goes right back to the essential nature of the doctrine. If the deity of Jesus falls by the wayside, so do other essential doctrines and The Bible itself. My purpose here is not really to address that issue, so I won’t.

Obviously, Muslims deny the deity of Jesus, although they do recognize Him as a great prophet of God. Again, I don’t plan on taking on that subject here either.

Who is my beef really with concerning the deity of Jesus? It is with “Christians” who would undermine this essential doctrine. Who are these? Well, there are the obvious candidates of “Christian” religions who are not really Christian at all. These groups deny this essential doctrine along with many others, rendering them not Christian at all but merely what they are: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Christadelphians, and others.

In addition, among “mainstream” Christian denominations, there are arising a group of quite vocal “progressive” Christians who are getting into the business of denying the deity of Jesus, along with other essentials such as the trinity, the resurrection, and the miracles of Jesus.

So, why the denial from these groups of the deity of Jesus Christ?

It doesn’t make sense intellectually to them. How Jesus could be 100 percent man and 100 percent God simply is beyond our ability to grasp. The incarnation of Jesus is criticized as paradoxical, enigmatic, and even self-contradictory. Of course, it seems that way to us! The idea of being 100 percent of two things, in this case, human and divine, seems self-contradictory. We need to remember here who we are dealing with; we are dealing with God. God is by nature not comprehensible by anyone who is not, well, God. In one of the articles I posted on the previous post by Alister McGrath, he said the following:

“The idea of incarnation is easy to criticize: it is paradoxical, enigmatic, and so on. But everyone already knows this, including the most fervent advocates of the idea. And it is absurd, even offensive, to suggest that those who regard a belief in the incarnation as legitimate are intellectually hidebound or trapped in their traditions, unable to think for themselves. The question remains, as it always has been: is the incarnation a proper and legitimate interpretation of the history of Jesus of Nazareth?

The fact that something is paradoxical and even self-contradictory does not invalidate it. Those who have worked in the scientific field are only too aware of the sheer complexity and mysteriousness of reality. The events lying behind the rise of quantum theory, the difficulties of using models in scientific explanation – to name but two factors which I can remember particularly clearly from my own period as a natural scientist – point to the inevitability of paradox and contradiction in any except the most superficial engagement with reality.[42] Our apprehension of reality is partial and fragmentary, whether we are dealing with our knowledge of the natural world or of God. The Enlightenment world-view tended to suppose that reality could be totally apprehended in rational terms, an assumption which still persists in some theological circles, even where it has been abandoned as unrealistic elsewhere. All too many modern theologians cry ‘Contradiction!’, and expect us all to abandon there and then whatever it is that is supposed to be contradictory. But reality just isn’t like that.”

It’s fairly easy to determine why the nonbelieving world rejects the idea of the incarnation of Jesus; why, then do those wearing the mantle of “Christianity” reject it? That’s not difficult to discern, either.

How are we saved? Any true reader of God’s Word knows the answer is that we are saved by Grace, through faith. There is not even one iota of work we apply towards securing our salvation. We do not have to work to get it; it is a gift from God. We do not have to work to keep it; we are secured by God. When Jesus said on the Cross, It is finished, it was in fact finished. Why could Jesus finish it? He was God. As eternal God, He had the actual power to forgive on that cross. As eternal God, He could pay the debt for all of humanity past, present, and future. As eternal God, He had the ability to conquer death, and return to life so what we could do the same someday ourselves.

What I just described above is Christianity. Anything else is not. The single greatest heresy and false teaching in the “Church” today is the doctrine of salvation by works. It is not just a heresy, but a damnable heresy. Trust in any other thing besides the completed atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross will NOT secure a person’s salvation. Let me be clear: if you are still working your way to heaven, you are working in the wrong direction.

Why do I say the above? If Jesus was not God, then Jesus needs our help. His death may have set a great example, but did not pay the price in full. His death paid most of it, but we have a few things we have to toss in there to finish the job and to keep it finished. We have to continually re-sacrifice Him over and over by rituals and sacraments because the first time wasn’t enough.Once we have it, we have to do good to keep it, because the power of Jesus is insufficient.

People reject the divinity of Jesus because they don’t want Him to be God; they want to be God.  We want to be God. We want our set of rules, our set of standards, our legalism to be the means by which we make ourselves right with God. Please don’t misunderstand me here; I do believe God has expectations of developing holiness from His children. I am not advocating license as an alternative for legalism here. Nonetheless, becoming sanctified over time and striving for personal holiness never saves us or keeps us.

We reject the deity of Jesus because we want things our way. What’s new, right? Isn’t this what started the whole problem back in the Garden of Eden? God had made things very simple, and Adam and Eve persisted in making it complicated. It is true that there is nothing new under the sun.

Next: We are finally going to start teaching what God’s Word reveals to us about the deity of Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus Really God? Part Three – Attacks On the Divinity of Jesus Christ

 

Part Three of this older series.

Like almost any doctrine considered to be central and core to traditional orthodox Christianity, the Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ has been under assault almost from the beginning of the New Testament church age. Yet, there is almost no Doctrine more tied to the core of true Christian faith than this one. Without it, there basically is no Christian faith as it has been traditionally known.

I had said we would discuss some of the more major assaults on this concept, and we will. Rather than me spending the next 20 years developing the ability to relay some of these thoughts and then representing them in some coherent form, my plan today is to briefly describe some of them and provide some links for further reading by readers.

One of the more prominent sources I use for this is the gotquestions.org website. It is simply a smorgasbord of good articles about traditional, true, orthodox Christianity.  Also, I use the equip.org website of the Christian Research Institute. This is not an endorsement of full agreement with all things on those sites, but they are a great place to seek information. There are also some other sites I will link to which provide some great thoughts on this rather difficult topic.

Some say this Doctrine was a made up one, occurring at the demand of Emperor Constantine simply to bring peace to his empire. That is one of the more common arguments made by those who want to disbelieve this critical doctrine. The facts of the matter are that critical doctrines were not voted on and decided at the various councils in the early years of the church; things which had been known and taught from the beginning were simply reinforced.

Did the Council of Nicea vote Jesus as God?

What occurred at the Council of Nicea?

What Really Happened at Nicea?

There are many alternative views presented to the Divinity of Jesus Christ, all of which are proven to be quite wrong and mistaken according to Scripture.Here are some good links on some of the more important early controversies concerning the Deity of Jesus Christ?

What is Arianism?

What are Docetism, Apollinarianism, Ebionism, and Eutychianism?

The controversy surrounding the Divinity of Jesus Christ was hardly resolved in the early centuries of the church but has remained a heresy which has reared its head over and over again. Even today, true believers have found themselves having to argue with people like theologian Bart Ehrman and author Dan Brown to maintain purity in the truth.

Bart Ehrman and the Divinity of Jesus

Jesus Christ Do We Have the Real Story?

The Divinity of Christ

There is a lot of information on those links, and links within those could keep a reader occupied for months if not years. I will check back in a decade or so, and we will talk about them all.

Okay, not really. Next, we will take a look at some very simple, very real reasons why the Divinity of Jesus Christ is and has been, under attack since the very beginning of the church. After that, we will begin to cover, very simply, just how God’s Word clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was, in fact, God.

Until  tomorrow, Peace

Is Jesus Really God? Part Two – The Hypostatic Union For Dummies

Part two of this series from earlier. Blessings and enjoy!

Okay, first of all, I do not mean anything irreverent or insulting by the title of this post, The Hypostatic Union For Dummies. As I have said before I am not a theologian, nor are most of my readers. I know some are, and if you feel free to chime in with some deep theology in the comments. I would love to learn something in the process of this post. For now, though, we are going to take a hopefully simple look at an extremely complicated topic: The Hypostatic Union.

Now, this whole thing can be analyzed for years and many Greek and Hebrew words tossed around, but really this is no more than the fact that Jesus is both fully human and yet fully divine at the same time. It is the concept of two distinct natures forming a union in one individual existence. The two distinct natures are of course humanity and divinity, and the individual existence is, of course, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is 100 percent God, and 100 percent human. Wait you say, that is 200%. Well, yes in math that would be true. He was fully man fully God. These two distinct natures are not mixed or blended but are both there in Jesus in their entirety. I have heard it said that Jesus is as human as if He were not God at all, and as much God as if He were not human at all.

Makes sense, right? Of course, it doesn’t. It’s simply not understandable by a finite human mind. How, then, do we know it is true? Well, the Bible teaches such, and understanding how it works simply has no bearing sometimes on whether something is true or not. We are taught clearly in Scripture of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Later in this series, we will talk in detail about the evidence of Jesus’ divinity, and his humanity is not really the point of this series. For the purpose of this blog, we are just going the work from the presupposition that the Bible does teach these two natures.

Our purpose for this post is to simply, quickly, and briefly discuss just why Jesus had to be both fully human and fully God.

First, let’s recap quickly the basics of why the Deity of Jesus Christ is so necessary. The reason why Jesus had to be God is actually one of the simpler concepts concerning the theology of salvation to understand. Most of this we discussed earlier.

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 sinlessness enabled Him to pay the debt for another; He had no debt of His own to pay. However, if He was just a man, even a sinless one,  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. The Bible teaches that the entirety of the Godhead in the form of God the Father, God the Son(Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit have existed from eternity past. 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.

Now, why did he have to be fully human? Well, we covered the basics of that earlier as well. On the most basic level humanity was necessary 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”.

One of the keys is the Biblically stated necessity for the sacrifice of an innocent for the remission of sins. Worship in the Old Testament revolved around the sacrifice of perfect, innocent animals to cover and provide temporary atonement for the sins of the people. We see this spelled out in both Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22  The idea of a blood sacrifice for sin was clearly established between God and man. The problem is, that is not sufficient. Although the shedding of the blood for sin provided temporary remission of sin, it was never designed to be permanent. We are taught that in Hebrews 10:4.

Finally, we can sum up with the following:

Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons

Born under that law. Who was born under the law? Well, humanity of course. Not angels, nor animals, but humans. The law, designed by God to show us how we come short of His perfection, was created for humans and transgressed by humans. Ultimately humanity, each and every one of us, owe the price for failing to measure up to God’s standard of perfect Holiness.

There we have it: the Gospel in a nutshell. Man sinned, meaning ultimately mad had to pay. Temporarily, God set up a system for the temporary atonement for our sins by the sacrifice of innocent animals, but we don’t need that anymore. Because Jesus the man paid the penalty for us as humans, and Jesus God was able to pay it infinitely and forever.

All we have to do is accept and believe in the truth of that payment.

It’s easy; if you have not, why don’t you do so today?

Coming next: Alternate views and attacks on the Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus Really God? Part One – Does It Really Matter?

 

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!

Is Jesus Really God? Part Six

is jesus god

Part 6 of this older series.

We have been studying in some detail this very critical central doctrine of the Christian faith, and are working our way towards a conclusion. Before we dive into the meat of the post, I want to establish the parameters of how this is being approached to cut off, before they begin, certain arguments which might be made.

The objective here is to teach what the Bible teaches about the deity of Jesus Christ. We are going to look at things Jesus said, and we will look at things He did. We will look at what others had to say, including Jesus’ enemies and other writers of the Bible. By the time we finish this series we will clearly understand that those who teach counter to to the true Biblical position on the Deity of Jesus, and claim to base their position on the Bible, are simply wrong and have no case to make. That may sound harsh, but it is true. Stay with this study for the duration, and that point will be made quite clear.

The objective is NOT to debate the accuracy of The Bible. If that interests you, move on along, because that is not the discussion here. We are here to teach what the Bible teaches, with a big dose of presupposition that is is correct and accurate.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

So, did Jesus claim to be God? Well, as we have discussed, He never said the words “I am God.” He did, however make some claims that clearly seem to indicate He was making just that claim. Let’s look at some of those.

In John 10:30, Jesus claimed He and His father were one

In John 14:1, he said those who believe in God also believe in Him

In John 14:9, Jesus told Phillip that anyone who had seen Him had seen God.

John Chapter 14 is, in fact full of references to Jesus and the Father being of one essence.

In John 14:7, Jesus informed Phillip that if he had known Jesus, he would have known “My Father as well.

John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?”

John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me

Jesus claimed equality with God, that He was the Son of God.  It is simply a rule of logic that if two things are equal, they are basically the same. For instance 2=2 clearly shows us that 2 and 2 are the same thing in every sense of the word.  It gets more complicated when you compare beings or ideas, but the concept is the same.  If Student A claims to be equal with Student B, then in some verifiable way they are equal. Of course, they may not be equal in every way: one may be tall and one short, one may be large one may be small. However, in some way they are equal. In normal usage, to claim equality with another person is claiming positional equality;in other words they share an equal position in the scheme of things and in life. When our country’s founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal”, they were not saying we are all alike, they were saying that we are equal in our position and standing before other people as well as before God.

So, if Jesus claimed equality with God (and He did), then He was stating He shared a position of equality with God. Who can be positionally equal with an infinite God other than God Himself? Therefore to claim equality with God is to claim to be God.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. This claim is very important when studied in the context of Jewish culture of Jesus’ day. Ancestry and lineage was of primary importance in the culture of the day. A son, while he might have to grow and mature, was in many ways the absolute equal to his father. Ultimately, every first born son of a Jewish male would assume his father’s place in the structure, authority, and culture of his time. So, to be a man’s son was to imply, basically, equality with that man. So, for Jesus to claim to be God’s son was to claim equality and one-ship with God.

Here are a couple of useful outside remarks concerning this issue”

Norman Giesler quoting Peter Kreeft in his book, “Why I Am a Christian:

Jesus also claimed to be the, “Son of God.” This title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. Neither does the term “Son” imply inferiority anymore than a human son is inferior in essence to his father. A son shares his father’s DNA, and although he is different, they are both men. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” Jesus meant by it that he has divine essence, or in 21st century terms, the “DNA of God

From Jesus OnLine Misistries:

What did Jesus mean when he called himself the ‘Son of God’? The son of a man is a man. (Both ‘son’ and ‘man,’ in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. ‘Son of God’ is a divine title.

So, we can see that even if Jesus, never uttered the words, “I am God,” that He did make claims to being of one essence with God, or claims of equality with God. We could stop here and have sufficient evidence that Jesus laid claims to divinity, but we won’t. Next week we will look at some things Jesus DID which basically amount to claims of a divine nature.

Until then, peace and blessings!

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