Who is Jesus Christ? Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important?
Jesus was and is God
Why is it so important that we get the deity of Christ correct? Why is it so important that we understand who Jesus is? Because Jesus said
John 8:24(HCSB)24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
If we get the deity of Christ wrong everything else is null and void.
If you’re believing in a false Jesus, you’re damned. You preach any other Christ than the true Christ, you’re damned, that’s Galatians 1:6-10(HCSB)6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news[c] about the Messiah. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! 10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
If you fail to love the true Lord Jesus Christ, you’re cursed. 1 Corinthians 16:22(HCSB)22 If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come! We have to be loving and believing in the true Christ, not a false Christ, not a Christ of our own imagination, not some sentimental Jesus, not the Jesus of liberalism, not the Jesus of false theology, not the Jesus of Mormonism, not the Jesus of Islam, not the Jesus of Oneness Pentecostalism.
Now, all false religions—listen–all false religions reject the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. They all do. That’s what constitutes them as false religions to start with. From Oneness Pentecostals to Islam to Mormonism, if you want to go from something that is non-Christian to something that calls itself Christian, they all reject the true Christ. But, they all honor a false Christ.
By contrast this is what I mean. We tell the truth about false teachers. We say Muhammad was a demon-possessed man, an agent of hell to unleash lies, perversion, and slaughter on the world. We give no credibility, no honor to Muhammad. But, the Muslims honor Jesus. They call Him a prophet, a true prophet.
Why is that? Because that’s the subtlety of Satan, to go against Christ by misrepresentation. For example, the Christ of Mormonism, the Jesus of Mormonism, is a created being who is the spirit brother of Adam and Lucifer. Created by a god who was created by another god. Jesus of Mormonism is not the true Jesus, he is a false Jesus, while Mormons affirm that they believe in the Jesus that we believe in. It has always been Satan’s antichrist strategy to affirm the wrong Jesus and to subtly deceive people by redefining Jesus and it has been very effective.
Jews say Jesus was not a prophet, he was a false messiah, modern rabbi’s say he was a failed messiah. Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging, of all false messiahs. So yes Jews fall into the same camp as false religions.
Oneness Pentecostals say it is all about Jesus and totally deny the trinity. Oneness theology teaches that God is a single person who was “manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.” We(Christians) believe that only faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin are essential elements for salvation, while Oneness Pentecostalism defines salvation as repentance, baptism (in Jesus’ name) and receipt of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. They teach Jesus Christ is the manifestation, human personification, or incarnation of the one God. Oneness Pentecostals generally argue that the Godhead is in Jesus, yet Jesus is not in the Godhead. In the person of Jesus, one sees the last, best, and complete manifestation of God.
Ninety percent of the charismatic/pentecostal people in the world, ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s not my statistics; that’s their own. Ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s the health, wealth, prosperity, word, faith, name-it-and-claim-it movement. This is what their leaders say.
One is a man named Creflo Dollar, He says this, quote: “If Jesus came as God, then why did God have to anoint Him? Jesus came as man; that’s why it’s legal to anoint Him. God doesn’t need anointing; He is anointing. Jesus came as man and at age thirty God gave us an example of what a man with the anointing could do.”
Creflo Dollar in gross irreverence questions the deity of our Lord, quote: “Jesus didn’t show up perfect; He grew into His perfection. You know Jesus in one Scripture in the Bible, He went on a journey and He was tired. You better hope God don’t get tired, but Jesus did. If He came as God and He got tired. He says He sat down by the well because He was tired. Boy, we’re in trouble. And somebody said, ‘Well Jesus came as God.’ Well, how many of you know the Bible? Says God never sleeps or slumbers. And yet in the book of Mark we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat,”.
So, the fact that He was tired and went to sleep meant He wasn’t God. That kind of attack on the deity of Christ comes right from antichrist sources. They go beyond this. They diminish Jesus and then they elevate themselves. And what happened to Jesus in the words of these false teachers, that He was a man who became God is what happens to them and can happen to you. You are a man who can also become God. Kenneth Copeland pretends to speak for Jesus in the first person, and he says this, quote: “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse You of thinking You’re God. They crucified Me for claiming I was God and I didn’t even claim I was God. I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah.”
So He’s a man until He’s thirty, and because He’s a good man, He’s made a god. Kenneth Copeland, another wolf of TBN and Christian media, says this, “Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason, He hadn’t come to earth as God. He had come as a man.”
“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses upon instruction of God raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there, the sign of Satan, why didn’t you put a lamb on the pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’”
“Jesus said, ‘I accept it in My own spirit, spiritual death, and the light was turned off.’ The light of deity turned off, He becomes the nature of Satan on the cross.”
Staggering blasphemies against the nature of Christ. Staggering misunderstandings of who He is. A man who became God and took on the nature of Satan. Kenneth Copeland again exhibits the blasphemous and dangerous way in which the Lord Jesus is treated in Word of Faith circles. Quoting Copeland, “How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God,’ Because God was not His Father anymore. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan and I’m telling you, Jesus is in the middle of that pit, meaning hell. He’s suffering all that there is to suffer. His emaciated little wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing and the devil thinks he’s got Him destroyed.” He is referring to the nature of Christ as that emaciated little wormy spirit down in the bottom of the pit.
We must get it right about Christ. Salvation comes by believing in Christ.
The true Christ of Scripture deserves more than our admiration. He is God and man in one person and deserves worship as the only mediator between God and human beings. Because He is God,
Hebrews 7:25(HCSB)25 Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.
John MacArthur says “Every preacher and every teacher who is faithful, every church, every ministry that is faithful presents the full and accurate truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a benchmark; that is a litmus test of integrity in a preacher and in a ministry. That is the validation. I would say it this way, devotion to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is the benchmark of legitimacy in any preacher and in any ministry. If there is any diminishing of Christ, or deviation from the true Christ, there is a serious violation of the purpose of God in revealing Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament.
Any and every legitimate preacher, legitimate church, legitimate ministry must be committed to the truth about Christ, to the glory and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, being relentlessly biblical to understand the full revelation concerning Christ. The single source of the truth about Christ is the Bible. And if the theme of the Bible is Christ, and the purpose of revealing Christ is so that we may see the fullness of His glory, then legitimacy is tied inextricably to a consuming pre-occupation with knowing all that has been revealed about Christ, to understand His full glory with a view to worshiping Him, honoring Him, and loving Him.”
An understanding of the way the Greek word mystery was used in the New Testament may help us here. It is the Greek word musterion and refers to what was previously hidden, but is now revealed to us through the revelation of the Word.Sometimes it is used simply of that which God makes known through His revelation to man which man could not know on his own 1 Corinthians 2:6-7(HCSB)6 However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.. But there is a sense in which some of God’s truth, though clearly revealed in the Bible, remains a mystery. Though it is a truth revealed in Scripture, like the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God or the divine/human nature of Jesus Christ, the Trinity is a kind of mystery in that it goes beyond the boundaries of human comprehension. God hasn’t explained all the mysteries of His revelation to us undoubtedly because we simply cannot yet grasp them.
Isaiah 55:8-9(HCSB)“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9 “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Does this mean a doctrine cannot be true simply because it defies our human imagination or ability to comprehend it? The answer is, of course not. It would be nothing short of human arrogance to say it was. The truth is, we must recognize our need to simply trust in God’s special revelation to us, the Bible, and submit our minds to that teaching which is truly expressed in its pages. It would be the height of self-centeredness for a person to say that because an idea in the Bible does not make sense or does not conform to his or her reasoning, it cannot be true and the Bible must be in error on this point.The doctrine of the trinity is part of God’s revelation of One who is infinite to those who are finite. So again we must ask, doesn’t it seem logical that in our study about God we are going to find things that are incomprehensible, mysterious, and super-rational to finite man’s rational thinking? So, let’s understand from the beginning of this study, “God in His existence as the Three-in-One is beyond the limits of human comprehension.” The doctrine of the Trinity is the distinctive mark of the Christian religion, setting it apart from all the other religions of the world.
The name Elohim, translated God, is the plural form of El. Which is the Old Testament Word for pointing to the power and majesty of God, it certainly allows for the New Testament revelation of the Triunity of God.
Genesis 1:26(HCSB)Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
Genesis 3:22(HCSB)The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.”
Genesis 11:5-7(HCSB)5 Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
The word “trinity” is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity. Each has a will, loves, and says, “I” and “You” when speaking. The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. There are three individual subsistences or persons. The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. The word “person” denotes individuality and self-awareness. The Trinity is three of these though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead. Each of the three persons is not the other two persons. Each of the three persons is related to the other two but are distinct from them.
Jesus the Son can be different from the Father. And, yet the same.
The Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.
“Tri” meaning three, and “Unity” meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three “Persons” who have the same essence of deity.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6(HCSB)4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from Him, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through Him, and we exist through Him.
Ephesians 4:4-6(HCSB)4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Father is not begotten, but the Son is John 3:16(HCSB)16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.
The Father sent the Son 1 John 4:10(HCSB)10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit
John 14:26(HCSB)26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.
In the baptism of Jesus, we see the Father speaking from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove as Jesus comes out of the water. (Mark 1:10–11(HCSB)10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!
The father creates, the Son redeems and the Holy Spirit sanctifies.
The Father creates Isaiah 44:24(HCSB)24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth;,
The Son redeems Romans 3:23-24(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 1:13-14(HCSB) He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies 1 Peter 1:2(ESV)2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:13(HCSB)13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
The mystery of the triune God is difficult to understand yet is one of the doctrines revealed in Scripture.
Christ is the exact representation of God the Father, having the same nature Hebrews 1:3(HCSB)3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
There is some sense in which everything the Father does, the Son and Spirit also do, and vice versa. They are always in perfect agreement at every moment, and all three equal only One God. Knowing that Christ is God and has all the attributes of God aids our understanding of Jesus as the second person of the Trinity. Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp, but this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth. The Bible is the self-revelation of an infinite God. Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand–especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times.The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.
He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.
John 1:1-2(HCSB)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.
We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Because the Word was with God and was God and became flesh, we then state that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. Therefore, Christianity teaches that Jesus is both God and man at the same time. Jesus is fully God and fully man. There is no mixture or intermingling of the nature of God and man, although the two natures are one person.The reason that He is God in flesh is that only God can atone for our sins. We can’t do it on our own because we are finite, sinful beings, and we cannot please an infinitely holy God. Jesus had to be a man to be able to die for humanity. This means that Jesus took our place on the cross, that is, He took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father. If you trust in what Christ has done, then you will be saved from the righteous judgment of God.
Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:2(HCSB)2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty.
Romans 5:8(HCSB)8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
2 Corinthians 5:21(HCSB)21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed,
John 14:6(HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
There is no more important biblical truth for the life and health of the church than the deity of Christ. Christianity stands if Christ’s deity is true. If Jesus is divine, then His claims are true.Acts 4:12(HCSB) 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”