Translate

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jesus God and Man



I was compelled to write this when I had a discussion over the topic with a colleague of mine yesterday;


Was Jesus God or Man?



On their website and in official publications, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the doctrine of the Trinity on this basis below;

“The idea of one God consisting in three persons cannot be explained by human reason. In this as in every other area of doctrine, they set man's reason in authority over God's Word.

They call the doctrine of the Trinity "confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in [human] experience."  If something cannot be explained by human reason, they say, then the Bible cannot possibly teach it.”


One thing we should remember when we read the Word of God is that the Bible truth can be revealed to us only by the Holy Spirit, our  Great Counselor and Teacher.

Therefore anyone, any church or any denomination that denies the Personhood of the Spirit of God learns but can never come to the Saving Truth because the Bible was “God-breathed or Spirit-inspired”.

It is a damnable defamation to the Spirit of God, the sin of which is impossible to be forgiven in this age or ages to come.

Let’s ask humbly the illumination of the Spirit when we deal with the pivotal truth of the Word of God - The Blessed Holy Trinity.


Lord Jesus, lead us to Your Truth nothing but the Truth of God!  Amen.


Discussion


Who is Jesus? Is He God or is He a man? Is He human or is He divine? If someone were to ask you these questions, how would you answer, and better yet, how would you prove it?

Most of professing Christianity and theologians have struggled over this question for millennia and are confused about the answer.  We should not be in confusion. We need to know, without a doubt, who and what Jesus is.

Let’s see what the Scriptures say about Christ - Is He God or human.



Jesus has two natures -- God and Man


The first truth we need to understand is that Jesus is one Person who has two natures a divine nature and a human nature. In other words, Jesus is both God and man. We will look at each nature accordingly.

Jesus is God


While Jesus, the Word, experienced humanity, He maintained His deity (conceived of Holy Spirit, Matthew 1:20).

Writing of Christ while in the flesh Paul affirmed; “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2: 9).

When Jesus was born, he had the special title of “Son” (Hebrews 1: 3-14). Hence, the angels worshipped Him (Hebrews 1: 6, angels were not to worship mere man, cf. Acts 10: 25, 26).

Jesus acknowledged His Sonship (John 10: 29, 36). The Jews understood Jesus’ Sonship to constitute blasphemy. They explained, “...because that you, being a man, make yourself God" (John 10: 33, see vs. 30). Jesus, then, was fully and concurrently both man and God.


The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is not merely someone who is a lot like God, or someone who has a very close walk with God.  Rather, Jesus is the Most High God Himself. 

Titus 2:13 says that as Christians we are “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Upon seeing the resurrected Christ, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Likewise, the book of Hebrews gives us God the Father’s direct testimony about Christ:

“But of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” and the gospel of John calls Jesus “the Only Begotten God” (John 1:18).

Another way the Bible teaches that Jesus is God is by showing that He has all of the attributes of God. He knows everything (Matthew 16:21Luke 11:17John 4:29), is everywhere (Matthew 18:2028:20Acts 18:10), has all power (Matthew 8:262728:18 John 11:38-44Luke 7:14-15Revelation 1:8), depends on nothing outside of Himself for life (John 1:414:68:58), rules over everything (Matthew 28:18Revelation 19:161:5) never began to exist and never will cease to exist (John 1:18:58), and is our Creator (Colossians 1:16). In other words, everything that God is, Jesus is. For Jesus is God. 


Specifically, Jesus is God the Son

In order to have a more complete grasp of Christ’s incarnation, it is necessary to have some sort of understanding of the Trinity( as far as I know, there is no such word, ‘Trinity’ in the Bible though).

The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one Being, and this one God exists as three distinct Persons. This means, first of all, that we must distinguish each Person of the Trinity from the other two.

The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Holy Spirit or the Father, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son.

They are each a distinct center of consciousness, a distinct form of personal existence. Yet, they all share the exact same divine nature/essence. Thus, the Three Persons are One Being. The Divine Being/Essence is not something that is divided between the Persons, each Person receiving one-third.  Rather, the Divine Being is fully and equally possessed by all Three Persons such that all Three Persons are each fully and equally God.


How does the fact that God is Three Persons in One Being relate to the incarnation? To answer this, let's consider another question. Which Person became incarnate (flesh) in Jesus Christ? All Three? Or just One? Which one?

The Biblical answer is that Only God the Son became incarnate. The Father did not become incarnate in Jesus, and neither did the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus is God, but He is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God the Son.


The truth that it is only God the Son Who became incarnate is taught, for example, in John 1:14, which says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In context, the Word is God the Son (cf. vv. 1, 18, and 3:16). Thus, it wasn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit who became man, but God the Son. 


Likewise, at Jesus’ Baptism we see the Father affirming “You art My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22). He did not say, “You are me, and with myself I am well-pleased.” Rather, the Father affirmed that Jesus is the Son, His Son, and that Jesus is well-pleasing to Him. In this same verse we also see that the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, for the Holy Spirit is present in “bodily form like a dove.”


Why is it important to know that Jesus is specifically God the Son? For one thing, if we do not understand this we will be mistaken about the very identity of our Savior. Further, it greatly affects how we relate to our Triune God. If we think that Jesus is the Father and/or the Holy Spirit, we will be greatly misguided and confused in our prayers. Last, it is considered heresy to believe that the Father became incarnate in Jesus. 


Jesus is Man

Jesus experienced a normal, human birth (Matthew 1: 18-25). We do not know much about Jesus’ childhood.  However, there are statements which describe a normal physical development. At eight days of age, the baby Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2: 21). “And the child grew,” Luke tells us of Jesus (2:40). Again Luke writes: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature...” (Luke 2: 52).

Jesus the Man was not physically dissimilar from other men (see Isaiah 53: 1-3). Jesus experienced normal physical desires. Jesus knew hunger (Matthew 4: 2), thirst (John 19: 28), and physical depletion (John 4: 6). Jesus suffered pain and when lacerated, He bled (1 Peter 3: 18, John 18: 1-34).

Jesus was made a “little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2: 7). Jesus was tempted in “all points” (Hebrews 4: 15). Alluding to Jesus’ human experience, Paul wrote: “For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2: 5, see John 1: 1-14).

It should be obvious that if Jesus is God, then He has always been God. There was a never a time when He became God, for God is Eternal. But Jesus has not always been man. The fantastic miracle is that this Eternal God became man at the Incarnation approximately 2,000 years ago. That’s what the Incarnation was - God the Son becoming Man.


But what exactly do we mean when we say that God the Son became Man? We certainly do not mean that He turned into a man, in the sense that He stopped being God and started being man. Jesus did not give up any of His divinity in the Incarnation, as is evident from the verses we saw earlier. Rather, as one early theologian put it, “Remaining what He was, He became what He was not.”  “Christ was not now God minus some elements of His deity, but God plus all that He had made His own by taking manhood to Himself.” 

Thus, Jesus did not give up any of His Divine Attributes at the Incarnation. He remained in full possession of all of them. For if He were to ever give up any of His Divine Attributes, He would cease being God. 


The truth of Jesus’ Humanity is just as important to hold to as the truth of His Deity. The apostle John speaks strongly anyone that denying that Jesus is man is of the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:22 John 7).

Jesus’ Humanity is displayed in the fact that He was born as a baby from a human mother (Luke 2:7Galatians 4:4), that He became weary (John 4:6), thirsty (John 19:28), and hungry (Matthew 4:2), and that He experienced the full range of human emotions such as marvel (Matt. 8:10), weeping, and sorrow (John 11:35). He lived on earth just as we do. 


Yet Jesus was a Sinless Man


It is also essential to know that Christ does not have a sinful nature, and neither did He ever commit sin - even though He was tempted in all ways (Hebrews 4:15).

Thus, Jesus is fully and perfectly man, and has also experienced the full range of human experience. We have a Savior who can truly identify with us because He is man, and Who can also truly help us in temptation because He has never sinned.

This is an awesome truth to cherish, and sets true Christianity apart from all other false religions. 

Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment