The Deity of Christ
It is of the utmost importance during our day and time that we know what we believe and why we believe it. One reads of the struggle between the early church and the heretics of old, but I submit that the heretics of old are not even in the same class as what we face. We are constantly bombarded with false doctrine and worldly philosophy that those not founded upon and rooted in the Rock of Ages will fall away. It seems as if we are in the days that Paul spoke of to Timothy in II Timothy 4:2-3
In the early part of the past century, a group of men including the likes of R.A. Torrey gathered to decide upon which doctrines Christianity could not do without. Their conclusions were printed in a set of books known as The Fundamentals. One of these doctrines they determined that Christianity could not exist without was that of the deity of Christ.
This is not a new battle by any means. There were those in the early days of the church that promoted the idea that Christ did not possess both Divine and Mortal. Some said that he was only a spirit and was in no wise human flesh, others that he was simply a great teacher exalted by His followers to the place of deification.
In our modern day, scholars have not been able to disprove the existence of Christ. Both Biblical and Extra-Biblical accounts prove that there was man named Jesus Who went about teaching in Israel some two thousand years ago. Our battle does not lie within the scope of proving that Jesus lived, because History's witness testifies that He lived. Our battle lies on the field of His deity.
How fierce this battle has raged! Satan has led his forces of scholars and heretics in one of the vicious battles that he has ever waged. He is not on the defense in this confrontation, but is constantly attacking with any means he can. But the other forces have still not faltered. They still stand with resiliency and vigilance, not given even an inch of ground. Some have fallen. Many have stood.
Today the battle still rages. It has not lessened or abated. It has kept long and hard. It is the purpose of this paper to but send yet another shot Satan's way. Greater and more nobler have sent forth more powerful projectiles than this, but is my duty as a good Soldier of Christ to stand for my Lord and Saviour. May I henceforth fight such a good fight that when I pass from this world to the next Lucifer will breathe a sigh of relief at my passing.
Let us now consider some facts that shout out that Jesus is, not merely some great man, but is God.
The facts concerning Christ's advent prove that He was God. In His birth, He fulfilled prophecies and showed that He was not merely a mortal man. First of all, He was born of a virgin. The miracle in this needs no explaining. How is this possible without God doing it?
The angelic proclamation that heralded Christ's coming to the shepherds also sets this birth apart from the rest. Would God allow his heavenly messengers to announce the birth of a mortal man in such a fashion? Didn't the angels proclaim exactly who Jesus was: the "Savior, which is Christ the Lord"? (Luke 2:11)
The wise men that came show that there was something peculiar about this birth. They came following a star and something inside them saying that they would find something special when they came. They came asking of the whereabouts of this King of the Jews. I have yet to see, or do I know of history recording any, other people do anything such as this for a normal birth.
Consider the many fulfilled prophecies that occurred just at that time. The place of Christ's birth: by a virgin. His tribe: Judah. Even Daniel's sixty-ninth week of Daniel 9 show that Christ time of birth was known.
Jesus, by His own acclamation, claimed that He was equal with God. He said, "I and my Father are one". What a bold statement for anyone, especially a Jew to make. This statement was punishable by death by the Jews. However, no one could argue against His claim as they saw His deeds and heard His words.
Jesus, by the acclamation of others, is also shown as God. Jesus did not rebuke men from calling Him God because it was truly so that He was God. How could those who sat near and close to the Lord during His earthly ministry preach that He was God when they themselves had been rebuked for saying so?
By His actions, Christ proves His own deity. Can anyone give life save God? God gave us our very breath of life, and He may at anytime choose to resuscitate us. Jesus brought forth at least three people from death unto life again: Jairus' daughter, the widow's son, and Lazarus.
Who else but God can heal the crippled limbs, open the blinded eyes, loose the dumb tongue, and liberate the deaf ears? Man has made such scientific progress in our own time that these are possible to an extent, but not wholly. Christ touched the sick and spoke to the ailing, and what did the do? They left whole, instantly. No mortal can boast of this record.
In exercising power of demons, Christ shows that He has more might than they. Mortals can in no wise match to the power, let alone overpower, these mysterious spirits. No man can rebuke the demons out of a man, nor can he give them leave to find other abodes.
The attributes of God are ascribed to Christ. First of all, He is eternal. John stated in the first verse of his gospel "In the beginning was the Word." John would go a step in the book of Revelation, when the Holy Spirit led him to write these words of Christ: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending".
Christ is omniscient. He knew the hearts and thoughts of men, as shown as in Luke 6:8. He knew that the widow had cast all in all she had, while the show-offs had not.
Christ's omnipresence is shown in the Bible. He Himself stated that He would be with us always in Matthew 28:20, and he promised that when two or three or more were gathered in His name, that He would be in their midst.
The Omnipotence of Christ is shown throughout the Gospels. His many miracles over sickness, nature, death, and demons were merely a glimpse of the infinite power of Christ. Did not Christ say in Matthew 28:18: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth"?
To finish out this particular division, let us consider Christ's immutability. Hebrews 13:8 declares that Christ is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Wouldn't we be in trouble if Christ suddenly decided to change the Gospel, or to just give up on the human race? Praise God for His not being able to change!
The appellations of Christ are reason enough to see that He is God. His earthly name was Jesus, which means "Saviour". This name is a statement of mission- "to seek and to save". Notice Matthew 1:21 - "thou shalt call his name JESUS: for his shall save his people from their sins".
Christ is more of a title than a name. It's meaning in the Greek is "the anointed one". This is equivalent with the Hebrew term Messiah. Notice the words of Peter in Matthew 16:16 ñ "Thou art the Christ". Peter's confession of faith was his saying, "Thou art the Messiah." anointed to signify God's empowering them to do their task. As a side note, only three offices were initiated through anointing: prophet, priest, and king.
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be called Immanuel, or "God with us". What did Matthew say about the birth of Jesus ñ "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew, writing to the Jews, showed not only the fulfillment of prophecy, but also the nature of Christ. As John so majestically stated: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Paul, contrasting Adam to Christ, called Jesus the Second Adam. What a beautiful message here. One is the cause of the fall of mankind and the other the cause of the Redemption of mankind. In the midst of this illustration found in I Corinthians 15, Paul calls Jesus the Lord (vs. 47), which is from a Greek word found sometimes translated elsewhere God.
These are but a small sampling of the many names describing Christ. So many more are found in not only the New Testament, but also the Old Testament, that space and time will not permit the description due this wonderful topic.
Last of all; consider the acceptance of Christ as God. Even those who looked ahead in time to His coming had accepted Him as God. Christ's followers accepted this fact. Why then would the Apostles suffer martyr's death for such an out and out lie? Men do not die for lies, for that innermost conscience cracks under the pressure of impending execution. If there were such a case, it would be very much isolated. How then can we explain the death of countless martyrs, not just those who never physically saw Christ but also those who actually walked and talked with the Saviour? This is no isolated case.
Even at the Lord's death, the Roman centurion stood amazed and exclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God"! Even he, though it is quite unfounded to assume that he had ever seen Jesus before time, saw in His death something that clicked in his mind and heart. In the short hours that he looked upon the Christ hanging on that cruel tree, he saw that this man was not as the others, but that He was deity.
I know and will readily acknowledge that this small work is not exhaustive and is not as thorough as perhaps it needs to be, because it can very certainly be improved upon and discussed more highly in detail. We cannot but confess that our knowledge is so finite when compared to God's, and it is my humble opinion that we will spend a great part of eternity learning more of this great subject. What a day that will be when our faith becomes sight, and we see Christ in all of His glory seated on His celestial throne!