Tagged: Deity of Christ

The witness of John to Christ’s deity

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Previously, we saw that Jesus claims to be God. Further, He proves His deity through divine acts that only Yahweh can perform. But is there corroborating testimony? What do those who know Jesus best – the disciples who walk with Him – have to say about the issue?

The pages of the New Testament ooze with the deity of Christ – and most of the writers are strict monotheistic Jews! So, let’s consider a sampling of testimony from the apostles and other first-century eyewitnesses, beginning with John.

No other eyewitness goes to the lengths of the apostle John to bear testimony to the deity of Jesus.
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The deity of Christ in the New Testament

This is the 20th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

While the Old Testament offers glimpses of a second Yahweh figure – a visible manifestation of the one true God – the New Testament presents a more complete picture of the second person of the Godhead. Let’s begin with Jesus Himself.

Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and atheists often argue, “Jesus never claimed to be God.” They assert that Christians have corrupted or misinterpreted the New Testament, or they reject the Bible outright.

But for those willing to consider the eyewitness testimony of the New Testament writers, and the convincing evidence that their words are accurately preserved, we may point our unbelieving friends to seven ways that Jesus does, in fact, claim deity. 

1. Jesus uses the divine expression “I AM.” In John 8:58, Jesus tells the religious leaders, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” These words echo Exodus 3, where God reveals Himself to Moses in the burning bush as “I AM WHO I AM,” or “YHWH” (Yahweh or Jehovah). The Jewish leaders clearly understand Jesus’ declaration of deity, for they pick up stones to throw at Him. Jesus uses the phrase “I am” (Greek: ego eimi) in several other places, either explicitly or metaphorically (John 6:20, 35, 48, 51; 8:12, 24, 28; 9:5; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1; 18:5). 

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Why study the Trinity?

This is the first in a series of columns on the Trinity.

Would it surprise you to know that six out of 10 U.S. adults say the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being? Or, more shocking, that 78 percent of Americans with “evangelical beliefs” agree with the statement that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father?

These views, part of Ligonier Ministries’ 2018 State of Theology survey of 3,000 Americans, expose the soft underbelly of evangelical Christianity in our country.

If Jesus is God’s first and greatest created being, then Arius, the fourth-century heretic, was right after all. On the other hand, if Jesus is the uncreated, eternal Son of God, then the church has made little headway in promoting sound doctrine since the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople pushed back against Arianism.
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Subordination and Scripture

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Incarnation. Previously: Six key passages on the Incarnation

In the previous column, we examined six key passages of Scripture that help us understand the Incarnation – the eternal Son of God taking on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Bible is clear that Jesus is one person with two distinct, but undivided, natures: human and divine. This means, at least in part, that by adding sinless humanity to His deity, Jesus did not become less than co-equal with the other members of the Trinity.

At the same time, we must address several verses of Scripture that seem to say Jesus is a lesser being than God. Those who promote this false view of Jesus, and who use these Scriptures to support their position, are known as “ontological subordinationists.”

These are people who believe that Jesus is less than God by nature of who He is. Rather than the eternal Son of God, Jesus either is a created being, a lesser god, or both.

This should not be confused with “relational subordination,” a biblically faithful position also known as “economic subordination.” According to this view, the three persons of the Godhead are equal in nature, but they voluntarily submit to each other respecting the roles they play in creation and salvation.

We should embrace relational subordination and reject ontological subordination.

Counterfeit Christian groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) reject Christ’s deity, along with the doctrine of the Trinity. Instead, they believe Jesus is subordinate in nature or essence to the Father. JWs insist that Jesus is the first of Jehovah’s creations, Michael the archangel.
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Ten truths about the Incarnation

 

This is the third in a series of articles on the Incarnation. Previously: Jesus as the God-Man

So far in this series, we have established that the Incarnation means the eternal Son of God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. As such, Jesus is one person in two distinct but undivided natures: human and divine.

In addition, we’ve explored how these two natures work together as the eternal Son of God adds sinless humanity to His deity via the miracle of the virgin birth.

In this article, we summarize 10 essential truths about the Incarnation. They help us form a framework for better understanding the person and work of Christ. They also help establish a foundation for exploring the thornier issues related to the Incarnation.

These truths are drawn from a number of sources, including the systematic theologies of Wayne Grudem, Charles Hodge, and Lewis Berkhof, and are summarized in God Among Sages by Kenneth Samples.

Ten Truths

1. Jesus Christ is one person possessing two distinct natures: a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. Thus, Jesus of Nazareth may rightly be called the God-Man.

2. Christ is the same person both before and after the Incarnation. As the writer of Hebrews notes, He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The difference is that before the Incarnation, Jesus had but one nature (divine). In the Incarnation, He added a human nature, one that exists together with the original divine nature, which did not and will not disappear.
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