The Deity of Jesus Christ
Defending the Trinity of God
Class Session 2
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
How would you respond to the following statements by people who say they believe in Jesus Christ?
"I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is the highest created being Jehovah God created. He is a son of God, but not the same being as Jehovah God."
Or this one?
"I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus, who is called Jehovah in the O.T. is the first-born of the spirit sons and daughters of Elohim. This Jesus is now a god, but not the same God as the father."
Or this one?
"I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus was the outer man to the spiritual Christ. Because the man Jesus acknowledged God in all his ways, he was lifted up in his physical body into a perfect state and became godlike."
Or lastly this one.
"I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ was a sinless prophet, but he was not nor could he be God come in the flesh. There is only one God, Allah."
All these statements contain claims made by members of groups who claim to be Christian and claim to accept the Bible as sacred. Yet, they not only contradict each other, but they contradict the Bible itself.
How would respond to one of these statements if someone made one to you?
I would suggest that you say, "let's look at the Bible to see what it says about Jesus Christ." Then take them to various Scriptures that talk about the deity of Jesus Christ.
The question is, "Do you know the Scriptures well enough to be able to do that?"
To help you with this, we began a study last week relating to the nature of God and Jesus Christ. This is crucial for all believers, not only to be certain of what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ, but to be able to show others where the Scriptures say it.
Jesus Christ is the central issue of salvation.
Jesus said in Jn.5:23 "He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent Him."
Jesus also said in Jn.14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to Father, except through me."
Satan knows that and so he has set about lying about the person of Christ and setting up false religions based on a distorted view of Christ.
All non-Christian religions simply leave Christ out. They do not acknowledge Christ as God and therefore, those who hold to these religions cannot be saved through them.
All so-called Christian religions or cults who give recognition to Christ in some form unless they recognize him as He has revealed himself in the Scriptures hold to a false Christ, not the real one.
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
v.13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
v.14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
v.15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
A false Jesus is not someone else called Jesus, but a distorted view of the real Jesus. A Jesus that is the highest exalted being Jehovah God created is a false Jesus. That is not who Jesus is. The Jesus who is a great moral teacher or who has become godlike is a false Jesus.
So it is important for us as those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as He has been revealed in the Scriptures to be able to show to others what the Scriptures say about Him.
To fully understand what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ we have to understand what it says about the nature of God because that is who it says Jesus is.
So last week we looked at what the Scriptures said about the nature of God, that God exists as a trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, that there are three persons in one God.
In that study, we saw that Jesus is the second person of the trinity who became a man. This week we want to expand that study of the deity of Jesus Christ. Next week we will look at the humanity of Jesus Christ which is also crucial if we are to understand the true identity of Jesus.
The first truth we need to understand is that Jesus Christ was one person with two natures, a divine nature and a human nature.
When Jesus Christ became a man, he did not stop being God. He took on a human nature so that he was both fully God and fully man.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
He became flesh and we have seen His glory, the glory not of a man, but of the one and only Son of God, the second person of the trinity.
What do the Scriptures say about the deity of Jesus Christ?
We will look at two main points:
1. The apostles claimed that Jesus is God.
2. Jesus claimed that he is God.
1. The Apostles claimed that Jesus is God.
In his letter to Titus, Paul referred to Jesus as God.
while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
The phrase “our great God and Savior” grammatically refers to Jesus Christ.
In his letter, 2 Peter, Peter also referred to Jesus as God.
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours
The phrase “our God and Savior” grammatically refers to Jesus
2. Jesus claimed that he is God.
a. Jesus claimed to be the messiah, the Son of God.
v.15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
v.16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
v.17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”
Jesus used two terms regarding himself, Son of God and Son of Man. The term "Son of God" describes his deity; the term "son of man" describes his humanity.
"Son of God" describes his deity in terms of his separate personhood from and his love relationship with the Father within the Trinity. It also describes his role in redemption as the one who was sent in submission to the Father to die on the cross for sin.
It is not meant to convey any form of inferiority. In fact, in the Jewish use of the term "son" equality was implied because a son is of the same nature as his father. However, a son is in submission to his father in terms of his role in the family.
v.16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. V.17 Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
v.18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
To the Jews, when Jesus called God "My Father," he was claiming to be of the same nature as God. They were right, he was claiming that.
The Jews always called God “our Father” or “my Father in heaven,” to keep some respectful distance. Their desire to kill him was as a penalty for blasphemy because to them claiming to be the Son of God was claiming to be of the same nature as God.
The Jews never thought that Jesus claimed to be another god. The Jews didn't get rid of Jesus because of a theological debate on the nature of God.
The term "Son of God" does not mean he is another god than Jehovah. For anyone to say that the N.T. teaches that Jesus is god, but a lesser god based on the term "Son of God" or anything else simply has not been honest with the N.T.
v.61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
v.62 "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Eventually, Jesus was crucified for claiming to be the Son of God. The Jews called the claim blasphemy because they didn't believe he was the messiah, the Son of God. The Jews had no trouble understanding what Jesus claimed about himself.
Besides the "Son of God" Jesus used another term when talking
of his human nature, "son of man" because he was born as a human
son. We will see this next time.
b. Jesus claimed to be one with the Father.
v.30 “I and the Father are one."
v.31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,
v.32 but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
v.33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
v.14 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
v.7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
v.8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
v.9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?
v.10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
v.11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
These are claims to be of one essence and one nature with God. We saw this
in our study on the Trinity
c. Jesus accepted worship as God.
Jesus says only God is to be worshipped and yet he accepted worship as God.
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "
v.25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
v.26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
v.27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
v.28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
d. Jesus claimed to pre-exist as God before He became a man.
Christ claimed to have pre-existed as God. He existed in eternity before He became a man on earth.
v.54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.
v.55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.
v.56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
v.57 "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
v.58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
This is a statement of more than just pre-existence, but pre-existence as Jehovah God, the "I AM" the eternally existing one.
John the apostle also claimed that Jesus pre-existed.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
“Word” is another term for Jesus which describes his role in redemption in revealing the Father.
"With God" actually has the article in the Greek which is literally, "the God." This use of the article in the Greek denotes identity and talks of the first person of the Trinity without calling Him the Father.
Here is an explanatory translation of Jn.1:1:
"The Word (the second person of the Trinity, the Son) was with God (the first person of the Trinity, the Father), and the Word was God (same divine nature and being as the first person). This is a Trinitarian statement, not a polytheistic statement."
The "Word" is not the same person as the Father. John chooses not to use the Son/Father terms because he wanted to emphasize Jesus’ role as the divine Word who revealed God.
There is no polytheism anywhere to be found, anywhere in the N.T. If you are going to read polytheism in here at least prove that John believed that Jesus was another god somewhere else in John's gospel.
That same John recorded Jesus’ words, "I and the Father are one." That same John recorded Jesus other words "Before Abraham was born I AM."
John the Baptist testified that Jesus existed before him even though Jesus was physically born after John.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
v.29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
v.30 This is the one I meant when I said, `A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”
Paul says that Jesus created all things, thus implying that Jesus existed before he was physically born.
v.16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
v.17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
e. Jesus has God's titles of divine honor.
1. Jesus is called Savior.
God says in the O.T. that he is the only Savior and yet Jesus is called Savior.
2. Jesus is called Shepherd.
God is called shepherd in the OT and Jesus is called shepherd in the NT.
3. Jesus is called the First and the Last.
God is called “the First and the Last” in the O.T. and Jesus is called “the First and the Last” in the NT.
4. Jesus is called King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
God is called the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and Jesus is called “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
5. Jesus shares in God’s Glory and Honor.
God says that he will not share his glory with another in the OT, yet he shares it with Jesus in the NT.
f. Jesus claimed to have God's authority.
a. Jesus claimed to have God’s authority to forgive sins.
b. Jesus claimed to have God’s authority to judge man’s sin.
c. Jesus claimed to have God’s authority to save man from his sin.