09
Jan
09

Is Denying Jesus…Christian?

    

   jc  “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple”- John 8: 58-59

     This is a quote from chapter 8 of the gospel of John and seemingly attests to what all orthodox Christianity believes; that Jesus is truly God! However, not all who call themselves “Christians” are in agreement over this belief. Does the Bible teach that Jesus is really God? Do both the Old and the New Testaments confirm this? Ultimately, can one be a “Christian” and deny the divinity of Jesus? My answer of course is that the Bible does teach the divinity of Jesus and that in order to be a Christian, based on Biblical evidence, ones needs to believe that Jesus is truly God, the second person of the Trinity along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

     The whole reason for this discussion is based off of a conversation that I am currently having with an internet friend who does not agree with the notion that Jesus is God. This post is not in any way designed to attack this friend personally, but to merely discuss this issue and prove from the Biblical narrative that Jesus views Himself as God. But why the split among people who call themselves Christians? They both cannot be right, can they?

     No! Both sides cannot be right, Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time, so what are we to do with this issue? It would be wise to look at the split and to know where everyone falls on this issue. Of course, there are the Catholics and the Evangelical Protestant churches that hold to the divinity of Jesus, then you have the liberal protestants who are just confused about everything in Christianity and do not know where they stand half the time, but that is for another discussion altogether, finally you have the groups who claim to be true Christianity but do not hold to Jesus being God. These groups include the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians, the Christian Science movement, and many more of the alike who all deny Jesus’ divinity. Why do they diverge away from traditional Christianity then? I think in all of these cases, the answer is simple; all have in some way been started by a person or people who, for personal reasons, whatever they may be, have not agreed with the traditional view of Christianity and turned true Biblical Scripture into what they want it to say. In fact, most of these groups have had so many problems with traditional Christianity that their own “Bible” has come from their thinking. That is why it is hard to talk with a person from one of these groups, because they argue from their Bible that is supposed to be the only correct version, but are not without many inconsistencies in the text. It seems that from each of these groups comes the claim that they are the true church (check out CARM for more information on this). Of course, this could be argued against evangelical Protestantism, but what has the church agreed upon over the course of its history? All of the essential Christian doctrines, the virgin birth, the Trinitarian view of God, Jesus being fully God and fully man, Jesus’ physical bodily resurrection from the dead, the ascension of Christ into heaven after being resurrected, and that Jesus will return at the end of time. These are all orthodox beliefs that are being challenged by many of these new groups, but what does the Bible actually say about Jesus being God?

     The Biblical passage that opened this post can be found in the gospel of John, and is one of many places in the Bible that Jesus’ divinity can be found. I would like to take a few minutes and discuss some passages from the New and Old Testament to establish my case for Jesus’ divinity. Consider these as Biblical evidence,

John 8: 58– Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am”. Jesus here in this verse is clearly claiming divinity by calling Himself the name that God in the Old Testament told Moses (Exodus 3: 14). Jesus is undoubtedly saying to the Jewish leaders that He is the one who was talking to Moses from the burning bush. The Jewish leaders respond by wanting to kill Jesus because they knew what He was claiming.

John 1: 1-14– This is another passage from the gospel of John in which Jesus is viewed as God. John here tells the reader that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word that John keeps referring to is Jesus. So in essence, in the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. John then goes on to tell us that the Word came into the world. Does this sound like Jesus? I think this is very clear, don’t you?

Hebrews 1– This whole chapter is designed to portray Jesus as God. In the opening of Hebrews, the writer says this, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature, and upholds all things by the power of His word. When He made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High”. This person that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is non other than Jesus Himself. Jesus is the exact imprint of the Father’s nature.

Psalm 110– This whole psalm is amazing to read! In the beginning of this psalm, David opens with this phrase, “The LORD says to my Lord: sit at My right hand”. This is a picture of Jesus interacting with the Father on the throne.

Daniel 7: 13-14– Here Daniel refers to some one “like s Son of Man coming”. Jesus often refers to Himself as the Son of Man, and this passage in Daniel shows the Old Testament existence of the Son of Man interacting in creation and the Son of Man is Jesus.

     In conclusion of this discussion, I would just like to say as a closing argument, to undermine the belief of Jesus being God, is to essentially destroy the gospel message. How can the message of the gospel be truly preached if Jesus is not God? It cannot be! As a reminder to those who do not understand what I mean when I say gospel, the gospel message is that God, being perfect and good in every way created the world and all that you see (Genesis 1). God then created man in His image, designing them to worship and love Him while loving them all the more (Genesis 1 & 2). Man in our folly rebelled against God’s decree and that threw all of creation into sin and sin explains all evil that we see (Genesis 3). Man being radically depraved and spiritually dead like spiritual corpses are deserving of Hell of our actions (Ephesians 2). God sent His perfect Son, Jesus the second person of the trinity who is fully God to become fully man and be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of His people (John 3: 16). Jesus was crucified and the sins of God’s people were placed on Jesus and Jesus bore the wrath of God to Himself to save His people (2 Corinthians 5: 21). By doing this, God has now worked through Jesus and by the Holy Spirit to save sinners like you and I (Ephesians 1). Jesus having been physically resurrected is now with the Father on the throne ruling and judging the nations (Colossians 1) and will return soon for His people (Revelation 3: 11). It would do well to consider the message of the Bible and believe Jesus is Lord. Friends, to deny Jesus’ divinity is to deny the gospel message in full. I challenge those of you who consider themselves Christian but do not believe Jesus is God to reconsider your claim. Anything that is not preaching Jesus as God is not the true gospel. Grace and Peace.

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