Articles

The Deity of Christ

The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:28) that Jesus Christ was the Word and the Word was God (John 1:1) that He was God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).

God is spirit.  When we consider the wonder of God, His infinity, and the glory of His awesome majesty, we must ask ourselves the question, "How can we ever comprehend Him?" But this unfathomable God, whose ways are described as being past finding out, has provided a way by which we can come to know enough about Him that is life saving to our mortal sinful souls. He has shed His light and His love; and this is bound up in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Essentially God is Spirit (John 4:24), but in the New Testament He makes Himself known as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and each are ascribed with true Deity and given equal glory as a consequence. These three expressions of Himself equal the one and only true God, or God absolute (Hebrew Elohim); "I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me" (Isaiah 45:5).

Deity of ChristChrist manifests the Person of God. Whilst the Son, Jesus, is said to be "begotten" of the Father, the Holy Spirit is described as "proceeding" from both Father and Son. Even so, both the Father and the Holy Spirit point to Christ as the way. Along with the close communion and co-operation of the Father and the Holy Spirit, Christ is the One who manifests the Person of God Himself and makes Him known to us. He reveals His attributes including His grace and His love. He accomplishes God's will and purpose for the heavens and the earth. He carries out every aspect of God's work, including creation and redemption, and He is the One who executes God's justice. If therefore we want to know anything about God or about His will and purpose, then we can only do this through and by Christ who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Christ has first place. With this in view it therefore becomes very fitting that the Open Bible Trust gives Christ and His Deity first place in its doctrinal basis. As a Trust, we believe that in the beginning when the world came to be, or at creation, Christ as the eternal Word was already in existence. He was with God and was God, (John 1:1-3), and when He became man and dwelt among us, He manifested God in the flesh (v.14). He was "God with us"(Matthew 1:23). The Apostle Paul adds his testimony of Christ by saying, "He is before all things" (Colossians 1:17), and Old Testament prophets add theirs by speaking of Him as being from everlasting (Micah 5:2). (See also Christ's own words in John 17:5.) As a consequence, we can associate Christ with infinity and ascribe to Him the attribute of eternalness, and in this refute Unitarian teaching which regards the beginning of Christ's life as being at Bethlehem, as the babe Jesus, and also Arian teaching that sees Christ as God's first created being. Christ therefore is one with the God of infinity Who is Spirit and consequently invisible and intangible. No man has seen nor can see God absolutely as He is, because such a sighting would consume him, and it is here that Christ becomes the means or the way, so much so that Jacob could say, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Who, then, did Jacob see? The Bible's answer to this mystery is that Jacob saw Christ: "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:18).

Christ, the image of God and the Creator. Christ is described as being, "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15), also "The brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Hebrews 1:3). The appearances of God in Old Testament days, whether as "The angel of the Lord", "The Angel of God's presence", "The Word of the Lord", "The Captain of the Host of the Lord", or in any other form, all these manifestations were in and through Christ and we can do no other than be brought down to our knees in awe, when we encounter the everlasting invisible God in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord. However, before God showed Himself to any man, the creation of the heavens and the earth became visible evidence that the invisible God had stepped out into the realms of the manifest (Romans 1:20), and this He did in and through Christ. Christ, as God's Eternal Word in action, became the means of creation. He became God's hands that stretched out the heavens and who made the earth and created mankind upon it (Isaiah 45:12, John 1:3, Psalm 33:6, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2; 2:10). Christ was the initiator, the source, and He is the upholder and sustainer and the very reason for the creation, visible and invisible. He holds it all together because life is in Him. He is the fountainhead through whom all life flows.

Christ! My Lord and my God. John's Gospel brings to the fore Christ's Deity. It records Christ's claim to be the "I am", the name of the eternal God (compare John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14), and tells us that we must honour the Son, even as we honour the Father (John 5:23). During His earthly life Christ proved to be extraordinary. He performed miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead, forgave sins (compare Exodus 34:7); even the wind and the waves obeyed Him (compare Psalm 107:29). Titles given to God in Old Testament Scripture such as The only Saviour, The Redeemer, The King, The Shepherd, The Rock, The Judge and The Light, are unreservedly given to or claimed by Christ. Christ was also the object of worship, which He accepted without rebuke (contrast Revelation 19:10), even though He Himself had said, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Matthew 4:10; see Colossians 3:24). Christ came to us as the Holy One (Acts 3:14 - see Isaiah 43:3) and proved Himself to be so to the bitter end. Let us then bow down to The Holy One and join Thomas with the declaration "My Lord and my God" (Ho Theos); John 20:28.

Christ! Both man and God. Christ was both man and God and whilst the immortal God could not die, He did in Christ Jesus the man. But God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him to His own right hand to be one with Him again. He gave Him back the glory He had with Him before the world was. But even more so, Jesus Christ has been given the highest place and there will be a day when at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow (Philippians 2:9-10); even as God had said, "To Me every knee shall bow" (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:10-11). At His resurrection God said to Him, "Today I have begotten You" (Acts 13:33). At incarnation Christ became the begotten of God in weakness, but now at His resurrection, He becomes the Son of God in power (Romans 1:4). As the firstborn from the dead, He becomes the initiator and source of a new spiritual creation for all who believe in Him, and He is made the Head of the Church, His body, the life source and hope for those called to an inheritance in the spiritual realms.

Christ! First and Last. In the book of Revelation Christ is given the title of The First and the Last, The Alpha and the Omega, The Beginning and the End (Revelation 1:8,11; compare Isaiah 44:6), because Christ is to return to complete God's will and purpose. He will come to judge and reign and bring all things under His feet, both that are in heaven and on the earth. He said, "Behold, I am coming quickly; and My reward is with Me" and "I am He who searches the minds and hearts" (Revelation 22:12; 2:23 compare Isaiah 40:10, 1 Chronicles 28:9). And when the new heavens and the new earth are established and the holy city comes down from God out of heaven, the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it and His servants shall see His face and they shall serve Him (Revelation 22:1-5). The Lamb is its light (21:23); the Lord God gives them light (22:5).

Christ reveals the very person of God. How then can we fail to ascribe Deity to the One …

  • Who is from infinity;
  • Who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and also the new spiritual creation;
  • Who reveals the very Person of God and His attributes and possesses such;
  • Who claims the name of God;
  • Who is called God;
  • Who is called the Lord (Jehovah);
  • Who is unreservedly given every title of God;
  • Who is the object of worship; even the angels are called to worship Him (Hebrews 1:6);
  • Who forgives sins;
  • Who calmed the sea;
  • Who is the only Saviour;
  • Who is The Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End of the purpose of God towards the heavens and the earth?

He is the One who is, who was and is to come, the Almighty! (Revelation 1:8). Indeed, "Christ is all and in all", even as "God may be all in all" (Colossians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 15:28). How can we fail to ascribe Deity to Jesus?

Further Reading More information on this subject may be obtained from the following Open Bible Trust publications: The Greatness of Christ by W. M. Henry The Fullness of the Godhead by Michael Phelan The Deity of Christ by Vicky Wilkinson The Person of God in the Form of Man by Vicky Wilkinson