Jesus Is God
JESUS IS GOD
A. Introduction: It is vitally important that we have accurate knowledge of God. We have begun to study who God is according to the Bible.
1. As we read the Bible, we see clearly that there is only one God. Yet, we also clearly see three persons who are God -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
a. All three persons possess and demonstrate the qualities, characteristics, and abilities of God. They all are and do what only God is and can do.
b. God is not one person who acts like three different people, nor is He three separate persons like Peter, James, and John who all work together. There is only one God, but there are three divine persons = one what, three whos. That is the mystery of the Trinity.
c. “Within the One Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (James R. White)
2. Those who argue against the doctrine of the Trinity say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God. They say Jesus is a created being and the Holy Spirit is a force.
a. We have begun to consider the question: Is Jesus God?
b. It is important that we have an accurate understanding of Jesus as the Bible reveals Him, because, as we move closer to the end of time, false Christs will become more and more common. Matt 24:4,5; 23,24
3. Christianity is unique. It is not based on the teachings of Jesus, it is based on the person of Jesus -- who He is, what He is, and what He has done. John 16:27-30; 17:8
4. The Bible is very clear about it. Jesus was, is, and always will be God -- eternal (without beginning or end) and infinite (not limited by time or space).
B. We want to first briefly restate some things we said in the last lesson.
1. The Gospel of John, more than the other three gospels, emphasizes the deity of Christ. In John 1:1-18 we find one of the clearest presentations of the fact that Jesus is God.
a. By contrasting two Greek words for the verb was, the Bible clearly shows Jesus had no beginning. He is eternal which means He is God.
b. Was = EN = expresses continuous action in the past (no beginning point). Was = EGENETO = denotes a time when something came into existence.
c. EN is used for Jesus (the Word) v1. EGENETO is used for everything else (all created things, John the Baptist) v3,6.
2. Some think that Jesus is less than God the Father, or a created being, because He is called the Son of God. Not so!
a. In Bible times the phrase “son of” did sometimes mean offspring of, but it more often meant “of the order of”.
b. When Jesus said He was the Son of God, He was saying He was God, and that is exactly how the Jews understood it. John 5:18; 10:30-33
c. Jesus is not the Son of God because He was born in Bethlehem or because He is some how less than God or because God created Him. He is the Son because He is God. Prov 30:4 (present tense = He was existing then)
C. One reason there is controversy over whether or not Jesus is God is because people do not understand what happened when the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, came to earth, and, as a result, they misread certain verses.
1. Jesus did not begin at Bethlehem. The Second Person of the Trinity, the Son, left heaven and eternity and entered human existence.
a. He took on flesh, not just a body, but a full human nature -- spirit, soul, and body.
b. This is the incarnation. The Word, Jesus, was made, took on, flesh. John 1:14
c. The verb usage changes. Was = EGENETO. At a specific point in time, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, entered human existence.
2. When the Son took on flesh, He did not stop being God, nor did He turn into a man.
a. He was not God in a human body. He was at the same time fully God and fully man. I Tim 3:16--That is the mystery of the Incarnation.
b. Matt 1:23 (Isa 7:14); Emmanuel = the God-man (THEANTHROPOS).
3. People get confused over the fact that Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God.
They presume that means He is a created being or less than God. John 1:14,18
a. However, the word begotten = MONOGENES = unique. (Begat = GENNAO = to procreate, to father.)
b. Jesus is unique. He is the only man who pre-existed with God as God. He is the only man whose birth did not mark His beginning. He is the only God-man.
c. John 1--Only begotten Son--more literal translation: the only Son who is God.
4. Because Jesus was and is fully God and fully man, when you read verses about Jesus, you must determine whether the verse is referring to Jesus's humanity or His deity.
D. Phil 2:5-8--Gives us much insight into what happened when the Word was made flesh.
1. v1-4--First, note the context. Paul is not stating doctrine on the person of Christ.
a. He is teaching Christians how to humble themselves for the good of others.
b. v5--Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. -- Let Him be your example in humility. (Amp)
2. v6--Jesus was in the form of God before He came into this world.
a. Who although being essentially one with God, and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God]...(Amp)
b. Yet He was willing to lower Himself -- Did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained. (Amp)
3. v7-- But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity] (Amp) -- and He took on another form, the form of a servant, the form of a man.
a. He remained God, He did not cease to be God. God cannot cease to be God. He took on another form -- that of a servant, that of a man.
b. He, God, took on a human nature and chose to live as a man in this world.
4. When Jesus made Himself of no reputation (made Himself nothing), He did three things.
a. He veiled His preincarnate glory so He could live among men. John 17:3;
John 12:41; Isa 6:1-8; Matt 17:1-8; John 18:6; Rev 1:17
b. He voluntarily limited Himself and did not use His divine attributes to live on earth. As God, He did not have to walk the dusty roads of earth, get tired, get hungry, etc., yet He did.
c. He, the Second Person of the Godhead, humbled Himself by taking the form of man. He lowered Himself. Heb 2:9
5. v8--Tells us why Jesus did this. God the Son took on flesh so that He could die for our sins. Matt 20:27,28; Heb 2:9,14,15
a. God cannot die. Jesus had to be a man so that He could die to pay the penalty for our sins.
b. Jesus had to be God so that His sacrifice would have the value to fully pay the price for our sins, once for all.
6. Jesus did not cease to be God while on earth. He took on a full human nature, became truly man while still being truly God.
a. That is why He could be tired, hungry, tempted to sin, etc. Matt 4:1,2;
James 1:13; Matt 8:24; John 4:6
b. Acts 10:38--That is why Jesus needed to be anointed when He began ministry.
c. Yet, that is why He could at the very same time call Himself I AM. John 8:58;
Ex 3:14); John 3:13; 8:24,28
7. The Spetuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT that predates Christ's birth) translates “I Am” in Ex 3:14 as EGO EIMI.
a. In the Greek NT, Jesus uses this term for Himself and identifies Himself with Jehovah. Jesus calls Himself Jehovah.
b. Those who do not believe in the Trinity do honor Jesus. But, to be consistent, they need to respond to Jesus like the Jews did -- stone Him for blasphemy because He made Himself equal with God.
8. Scripture does teach Christ's subordination to the Father. John 14:28
a. However, this subordination is always in reference to Jesus after He took on flesh. None of the verses on subordination refer to preincarnate Christ. None refer to the preexistent Word of God.
b. Each member of theTrinity took a different role in redemption. The Second Person of the Trinity voluntarily left heaven, humbled Himself, and took a role of submission to the Father.
c. Difference in function does not mean inferiority in nature. Equality of being and subordination in a working relationship are not contradictory. I Cor 11:3
E. A key element in understanding what happened when the Second Person of the Trinity left heaven and eternity to enter earth and time is the virgin birth. Jesus's mother, Mary, had no sexual relations until after Jesus was born.
1. Luke 1:26-38--the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to give birth to the Son of God. This birth to a virgin would be a fulfillment of Isa 7:14.
2. The name the angel gave Mary for this child is significant -- Jesus.
a. It literally means “Jehovah saves” or “Jehovah is salvation”.
b. Matt 1:21--In the original Greek the last part of the verse emphasizes “It is He and no other who will save His people from their sins.”
c. This is more proof that Jesus is God. The OT tells that Jehovah is the only Savior. Isa 46:20-22; 43:11; Hosea 13:4
3. v32--Gabriel said three significant things about Jesus.
a. He would be great. When unqualified, that term is usually reserved for God.
b. He would be the Son of the Most High. Son = One who possesses his father's qualities. In Semitic thought, a son was a carbon copy of his father.
c. He would have the throne of David. Jesus in His humanity was a direct descendent of David (Matt 1:1) and would fulfill God's promises to David.
II Sam 7:16; Ps 89:3,4; 28-39
4, v34--Mary asked how she could have a son without having sex with a man.
a. The angel explained that the Holy Spirit would do a work in her, making it possible.
b. The Holy Spirit took a cell from Mary and purified it, enabling the Second Person of the Trinity to take on a true human nature. Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4
c. God the Son took a true human nature without making Himself any less God.
d. In the womb of Mary, deity and humanity were united eternally in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. In the Incarnation we see clearly the work of the Trinity. All three persons were involved.
a. The Holy Spirit had the central role and was the Agent who brought about the Incarnation. Luke 1:35
b. However, the Father prepared a human body for Jesus. Heb 10:5
c. Preexistent Christ, by an act of His own will, took on flesh. Heb 2:14
6. There is one point we must make clear about the man Jesus. Although Jesus was and is fully man, there is one major difference between Jesus and every other man. Jesus was sinless. Luke 1:35; II Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; Heb 9:14
a. Rom 8:3--His flesh was not sinful. He did not have a sin nature (original sin). His human nature was like Adam's before He sinned.
b. The Holy Spirit purified the cell from Mary, making it possible for Jesus to have a true human nature, but not a sin nature. Luke 1:35
c. Although Jesus was fully man and subject to temptation, He was also divine and could not have sinned.
F. Conclusion: We have not said all there is to say about the deity of Christ, but consider these points:
1. When we study the nature of God, we are considering things that are beyond our understanding at this point in time.
a. We can accept them and believe them because God says so, and in awe and reverence, admire, and worship Him.
b. In the Trinity we see three persons and one nature. In Jesus we see one person and two natures.
2. This kind of teaching is not irrelevant -- it is vital.
a. The Person of Christ is being challenged today like never before. False Christs abound.
b. It is vital that you have accurate information from the Bible so you can recognize the counterfeit.
3. This kind of teaching is not irrelevant -- it is vital.
a. Jesus came down to our level to raise us up to His level.
b. We're learning about our destiny. We've been invited into an eternal realm to fellowship with an infinite Being Who has chosen us for relationship with Him.
c. The Father and the Son have had face to face, intimate fellowship since forever, and we have been invited to share in that relationship. John 1:1; I Cor 13:12