THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST (Part 1)
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)
Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man while He lived on earth among us. He was God in the flesh. The virgin birth of Jesus was simply the fulfillment of the prophecies of old that God would come in the flesh to live among mortal men (Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7).
Matthew 1:22-23 – NKJV
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The Jews vehemently rejected Jesus’ divinity and sought to stone Him for blasphemy (John 5:18).
John 10:31-33 – NKJV
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
Like the religious but ignorant Jews of those days, many religious folks today are still rejecting the divinity of Christ. They would gladly accept Jesus Christ as a good teacher, a righteous man, a prophet or messenger from God, but not as the Almighty God.
Sadly, some believers today also hold the unscriptural view that although Jesus Christ is God, He is somewhat lesser or inferior to the Almighty God.
Why is accepting and believing that Jesus Christ is fully God so crucial to the Christian faith?
First, it is the basis of our salvation:
Salvation exclusively belongs to God (Rev. 19:1, Psa. 62:1-2). It is only God who has the power to forgive sins and save sinners from eternal damnation.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
“Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah.” (Psa. 3:8 NKJV).
“Our God is the God of salvation; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” (Psa. 68:20 NKJV).
“For God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” (Psa. 74:12 NKJV).
Therefore, if Jesus Christ is not God, He cannot be our Saviour, for only God works salvation. It is faith in the divinity and redemptive work of Christ that results in salvation.
Anyone who does not believe and confess that Jesus Christ is indeed God, the Saviour, cannot be saved (Rom. 10:8-10).
The Lord Jesus sternly warned the Jews who rejected His divinity, saying, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24 NKJV).
Second, accepting the divinity of Christ is essential to Christian worship:
Worship belongs to God exclusively!
The first thing God commanded in the Law was, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exo. 20:3 NKJV).
“For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exo. 34:14 NKJV).
When tempted by Satan, the Lord Jesus sharply rebuked Satan, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” (Luke 4:8 NKJV).
It is idolatry to worship anyone or anything that is not God the Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Idolatry is a grievous sin punishable by death under the Law (Deut. 13:1-18).
Therefore, if Jesus Christ is not truly and fully God, all the Christians are guilty of idolatry, for only God deserves worship. It is a contradiction to believe in Jesus Christ and not worship Him as God.
Today, many religious folks are not worshipping Jesus Christ because they don’t accept Him as the Almighty God.
How do we know that Jesus Christ is truly and fully God?
First, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ:
In the Old Testament, it was a prevalent theme that God would come to live with us and save us from our sins. Many years before the virgin birth of Jesus, the Holy Spirit had moved several prophets of old to prophesy about the Incarnation of God.
Isaiah prophesied, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:22-23 NKJV).
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us, a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6 NKJV).
The virgin birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about God coming to live among mortal men. Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh.
Paul writes, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Tim. 3:16 NKJV).
The Scripture reveals that Jesus Christ was in the form of God before He humbled, condescended, or emptied Himself of His privileges as God to take up our human nature so that He could die for our sins and thus save us.
Philippians 2:6-8 – TCNT
6 Though the divine nature was his from the beginning, yet he did not look upon equality with God as above all things to be clung to,
7 But impoverished himself by taking the nature of a servant and becoming like men;
8 He appeared among us as a man, and still further humbled himself by submitting even to death–to death on a cross!
Furthermore, the Scripture presents Jesus Christ to us as “the Word,” which was with God in the beginning but became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
As the Word, Jesus was present with God in the beginning, and He was actively involved in the creation of everything (Gen. 1:26).
God created all things through His Word!
John 1:1-3 – NKJV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Therefore, Jesus Christ (the Word), being the Creator, is God the Almighty.
Second, Jesus Christ is God because God the Father called Him God:
The Scripture reveals that God the Father proclaimed Jesus Christ as God.
“But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.” (Heb. 1:8 NKJV).
“The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” (Psa. 110:1 NKJV).
In the above scripture (Psa. 110:1), the LORD refers to God the Father while my Lord refers to Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus referred to this passage in Matt. 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-36, Luke 20:39-44. Apostle Peter also referred to this passage in his sermon at Pentecost.
Therefore, anyone who rejects the divinity of Jesus has rejected the Father’s testimony about His Son, thereby calling God a liar (1 John 5:10).
When the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, God the Father commanded all the angels to worship Him.
Hebrews 1:5-6 – NKJV
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?
6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
Only God deserves to be worshipped. Worship belongs to God exclusively. Therefore, God commanding the angels to worship Jesus Christ while He was in the flesh is a powerful testimony that Jesus Christ was indeed God in the flesh when He was in the world.
Third, Jesus Christ is God because He called Himself God:
Jesus testified to His divinity while He was in the world.
Jesus declared loud and clear, saying, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30 NKJV).
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7 NKJV).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58 NKJV).
“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:5 NKJV).
Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ was not impersonating God or blaspheming by claiming equality with God the Father, for He was God from the beginning (John 1:14). He only condescended to come into the world in the likeness of men so that He may offer Himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins on the cross and thus redeem and reconcile us to God.
Besides Jesus’ words that He was God, His works also confirmed that He was indeed God in the flesh.
What are these works?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I acknowledge and confess today that You are the true God, the Creator of all things. I will forever worship, serve, obey and proclaim that You are the eternal God, in Jesus’ name. Amen.