October 9, 2011

The Divinity of Jesus Christ, Part I: "I And The Father Are One"

"I And the Father Are One" (John 10:30)

Who was Jesus? You cannot properly ask this question without specifically choosing among end result answers beforehand. Before you even ask this type of question you need to know that He is man or as He was revealed...fully divine and fully human. The very wording of your question in this situation is in the past tense and would frame the question improperly, "Who was Jesus?". This assumes He is gone or absent…and He is not. If we understand Jesus properly the proper grammatical expression needs to be in the present, "Who is Jesus?" More specifically it’s the eternal present or the eternal "is" since Jesus has always been and always will be. If we are to understand Jesus properly we need to presuppose His eternality and ask who He is not who He was. There is no was in reference to Christ. Divinity does not change or die or disappear into the past. If Jesus IS divine and He was raised from the dead as I believe He was, then He still IS and He is very much alive NOW!

Son of God

Jesus called himself the Son of Man and at least referred to Himself as the Son of God in veiled terms and in Bible-speak or euphemism this means that He was of the same nature as God. A son was to say that someone is of the same nature, kind or the very essence that His Father is. He also claimed sinlessness and not only that He claimed to forgive sins against everyone. The breathtakingly arrogant and thickheaded Jews protested: "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Heeeellooooo, anybody home?

The only one who has the right to forgive all sins is the only One who is offended by all sins in His perfect holiness-that would be God.

Jesus claimed not only to have saved us from our sin…He actually claimed to have saved us from death. He said He was the “the resurrection” and “the life”. If we only believed in Him we would never truly perish but we would have everlasting eternal life with Him. Jesus pointed people to Himself saying, “come to me” and “follow me”. Jesus said that He was the “light of the world”, “living water”, and the “bread of life”. Jesus was even bold enough to say the before Abraham the patriarch existed on earth in human form that “I AM” or that He is meaning that He had always existed in the eternal present tense.

Jesus was not insane. He made claims to divinity and having brought the Kingdom. He performed miracle upon miracle to prove the very things that He said about Himself and His close proximal relationship to God the Father. He must have been divine because there are no other plausible answers to who He was. I posit that He was exactly what He said He was and what people claimed of Him.

Why Is It Important?

The doctrine of the Divinity of Christ acts as a password that opens everyone’s accounts that are closed with sin and opens the meaning of all of Scripture. It is this doctrine that opens everything else in scripture. Many Christians believe many doctrines not because they have reasoned their way through them as logical or reasoned conclusions but as results of some mystical experiences. They also divide the truth divine authority of the One who taught them, as recorded in the Bible and transmitted by the church.

If Christ was only human, he would’ve been a flawed person and have made mistakes. Thus, anyone who wants to deny Christ or any of Christ's popular teachings will want to deny his divinity. We see this is Islam and other religions. They believe Christ was a great wise man, sage or even prophet…but they claim that He certainly was not divine. Even we as Christ’s will not be hard pressed to find things in His teachings that each of us finds offensive-if we look at the totality of those teachings we will find truths that rub us the wrong way but that is not a reason to deny divinity…it is just a failure to acknowledge the sinfulness of the flesh and the wicked pull of this world. That is why many within the church itself spend so much time trying to find a church that teaches and speaks a message that does not offend them. They do not want to hear about their sin, they want to hear about how great they are. They need to realize that without Christ we are dead in our sins and we are not good people.

The divinity of Christ is the most distinctive Christian doctrine of all. A Christian is defined as one who believes in Jesus Christ the very one whose namesake we carry. No other religion has a doctrine that comes close. Buddhists do not believe Buddha was divine. Islam does not believe that Muhammad was God since only Allah could be God an he is essentially unapproachable.

The essential postmodernist, emergent, or liberal theology revision or version of Christ is to see Christ simply as an ideal man, or the all-purpose “man for all seasons”; as a prophet, rabbi, philosopher, teacher, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, reformer, sage or magician…but not God. Goodness no. That would make a Christian need to make an exclusivist absolute truth claim to the One True God and we couldn’t possibly do that in a pluralist society could we?

If Christ is divine, then the Incarnation, or Jesus taking on the attribute of the flesh and humanity is the most important event in history. It is a pivot point in history. It changes everything. If Christ was fully God which I believe he was than the day he died the doors of heaven swung open for the first time since Genesis. No singular event could possibly have been more important.

There is an incomparable bite of reality in the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. If God in Christ was indeed flesh, died and then Resurrected…He can and promised He would do the same for you if you would only believe that He could and did do that. The same power that transformed Jesus from dead to life and raised Jesus from the grave is the same power that completely transforms your life also.

If Christ is divine, and He could be raised from the dead and transform your life for the better…He then also has a right to your entire lives, including our thoughts or minds. If He is divine our absolute allegiance and devotion becomes an obligation to serve and take on His yoke as there is no substitute. If He has a right to our lives then He can also set the stipulations for gaining the eternal life He promised. Unfortunately, the requirement requires that those who accept Him acknowledge their sins and repent. This requires one to humble themselves and admit they are even in need of a Savior…and this is where many damn themselves in a refusal to acknowledge their fallen sinful condition.

Because Christ is divine…in our freedom we must choose to serve Him as a slave serves his Master because He truly owns us, mind, body and soul. To do this we must admit sin and repent of it…and most will not do this nor do they know how because humbleness is totally foreign to them.

[...continued in Part II ]

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