The Deity of Christ
John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Once when challenged by an infidel to show a scripture which clearly stated that Christ was God, the writer was unable to do so. How would you have fared in similar circumstances? But a good case is not spoiled by a poor advocate, and we have good reason to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, because the Scriptures plainly tell us so.
The quotations below arc from the Revised Version, so clearly bringing out the deity of our Lord.
"Immanuel . . . God with us", Matt. 1. 23.
"The Word was God"; "The Word became flesh", John 1. 1, 14.
"God only begotten", 1.18 marg.
"Honour the Son; even as they honour the Father", 5. 23.
"I and the Father are one", "thou... makest thyself God", 10, 30, 33.
"He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me", 12. 45.
"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father", 14. 9.
"My Lord and my God", 20. 28.
"Christ . . . who is over all, God", Rom. 9. 5.
"Christ, who is the image of God", 2 Cor. 4. 4.
"The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ", 4. 6.
"God was in Christ", 5. 19.
"Being in the form of God . . . equality with God", Phil. 2. 6.
"The image of the invisible God", Col. 1. 15.
"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily", 2. 9.
"God was manifested in the flesh", 1Tim. 3. 16 marg.
"Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ", Titus 2. 13.
"Being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance", "Thy throne, 0 God", Heb. 1. 3, 8.
"Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ", 2 Pet. 1.1.
"This is the true God", 1 John 5. 20.
Is the doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ is a divine Person, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit so important, or is it just a subject for theologians to debate and produce creeds upon? The fact that Christ is God reveals to us the following truths:
First, through the prophets the plans and purposes of God were in part revealed to man, but finally only through the divine Son could that God Himself be revealed in all His fulness. As Jesus said, "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father", John 14. 9. The unbeliever sees in Christ only a man, but the believer has "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ", 2 Cor. 4. 6. For the believer the deity of Christ means that God is no longer a far-off mystery, but a Person known, seen and understood through the incarnation of the Son.
Second, we have sinned against God, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned", Psa. 51. 4. No third party is involved in this dispute, and to make a third party accountable would be considered an injustice that would be condemned by any code of law. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself", 2 Cor. 5. 19. The One who gave the law, and maintains it, the One who has been sinned against, and who passes sentence, is the same One who kept His own law both in the spirit and the letter, and then suffered its penalty. This is not only justice, that the law is fulfilled, but it is also grace, that the guilty sinner is justified. "To declare, I say at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus", Rom. 3. 26.
Third, Christ is the expression of God's own love. So many scriptures declare this wonderful fact, e.g., John 3. 16; 1 John 4. 9-10. In order to convey the peculiar character of divine love seen in Christ, Paul wrote, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us", Rom. 5. 8. Normally a person's love is demonstrated when he helps a friend: none would naturally give his life for an enemy. But, if it is costly to show true love, what greater price could be paid than when, we being yet enemies, Christ died for us? "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me", Gal. 2. 20.
Fourth, only on the basis of the deity of Christ can salvation have real meaning. False cults which deny the Lord's deity never offer the assurance of full salvation. But Christ's offering was sufficient to deal with the sin of the whole world, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world", John 1. 29. Therefore the individual Christian can be fully assured that his own bundle of sins is atoned for, 1 John 2. 2. Hence the Christian's confidence in his salvation. It is God who has provided the one offering for sin, "Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood", Rom. 3. 24-25. God therefore is seen to be satisfied in that "Jesus our Lord . . . was raised again for our justification", 4. 25. God has passed the verdict, "It is God that justifieth", 8. 33. God will never reopen the case, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?", 8. 33. But ultimately the assurance of salvation rests on the deity of the Saviour, who both died for us and rose again.
Because Christ is God, the truths just considered have been manifested and could not otherwise have been known in all their fulness.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.