The Deity of Christ (summary)
(this page is a draft, lifted from the 1999 archive version of JCisGod.com. Over time, I’ll add pages behind each reason. )
The central truth of Christianity is the incarnation and Deity of Jesus Christ. All of Christianity hinges on the person and redemptive message of hope found in the babe in the manger whom the Prophet Isaiah called “Mighty God”. The line in the sand between Christianity and cults is the doctrine of the Deity of Christ.
The Deity of Christ has the key dividing line between believers and heretics. During His earthly ministry, Christ was nearly stoned, accused by a mock trail, and then crucified for the crime of blasphemy. All because they understood so well, that His message was that He is YHWH, the living and true God, the Ancient of Days.
In the fourth, fifth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries Christ’s claim to Deity continued to be attacked by many heresies. Yet, the scriptural proofs for the Deity of Christ are specific, throughout the Holy Scriptures, and simply overwhelming.
A Study of the Deity of Christ
Any study of the Deity of Christ must begin with the strong Scriptural doctrine that there is only one God, who has revealed Himself to us in three persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in Deity and power.
1 – Salvation is of the Lord
The first Biblical reason that Jesus is God comes from His name, Jeshua (same as Joshua, and Jesus in English), which literally means “Jehovah is Savior”. Jesus is repeatedly called savior.
Throughout the Holy Scripture, the Lord God adamantly proclaims that there is no other savior besides Himself..
Salvation belongs to the LORD – Psalm 3:8 ESV
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior – Isaiah 43:11
Only God can save. The sin debt of the world is an infinite debt against an infinite God. Only God can possibly pay that debt. If Jesus is anything less than God then He could not have paid the debt, and there is no hope of salvation.
2 – Lord means Deity
The title Lord was first applied to Jesus by Simon Peter just prior to his declaration that “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.” Thereafter, Lord is increasingly applied to Jesus. Although the title of Lord may mean simply a master, to the Jews “Lord” was a reverent title of Deity. The Bible of their day was the Septuagint – a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. The Septuagint translated the Hebrew word for God (YHWH) as the Greek word meaning Lord. In fact, it was the early church’s refusal to agree that Caesar was Lord that caused the Christians to be martyred.
3 – Christ means Messiah
The very title of Christ means God’s Holy One or God’s Anointed One. The Jews looked forward to this person’s coming as the Messiah.
4 – Son of God
When the scribes and Pharisees understood that Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God, they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy because he was claiming to be equal with God. Jesus and Hebrews also explain that the Son of God means deity.
5 – Son of Man
The Son of Man is Jesus favorite name for himself. This name reaches back to Daniel’s name for the Messiah. By calling Himself the son of Man, Jesus was identifying Himself as the anointed one – the Christ.
6 – Lord of Glory
When Jesus is called the Lord of Glory, this title refers specifically to His Deity.
Christ’s self-claims to Deity
7) Claimed to be One with the Father
There is a oneness to the triune God that is beyond our comprehension. Not only is the Father in Jesus, but Jesus is in the Father. Truly, the Lord is one.
8) Claimed to Be Lord of The Sabbath
The Sabbath is the day is the day of rest at the completion of the creation. By claiming to be the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus is claiming to have been the one who rested on the seventh day.
9) Claimed to be Lord over All
There can only be one supreme commander in chief. And there can only be one Lord over all. Jesus is not competing with the Father, because Jesus too is YHWH – the Lord over All.
10) Claimed to be the Alpha and the Omega
Only six times in scripture does anyone claim to be the very first and the very last. Three times the LORD God makes this claim, and three times Jesus Christ makes the same claim.
11) Made several “I Am” statements
It seems no coincidence that Jesus Christ, when asked question concerning His nature, replied with the same answer that the Lord God used when Moses asked questions.
12) Christ dared to forgive Sins
Only one person can forgive a sin against God, and that’s God. Yet Jesus repeatedly completely forgave sin.
13) Christ spoke with authority
All the other prophets spoke saying, “Thus Says the Lord,”. But not Jesus. When He taught, the listeners marveled at His authority.
Christ is worshiped
If the greatest sin is breaking the greatest commandment, then worshiping anyone or anything besides God is the greatest sin possible. Yet, Jesus regularly received worship, and blessed those who worshipped Him. Is this blasphemy, or obeying the greatest commandment?
14) He is worshiped at His Birth
At His entry into His Earthly ministry, Jesus was worshipped by shepards, wise men and angels.
15) His disciples worshiped him
Those closest to Christ, who heard His private teachings and prayed daily with Him, worshiped Christ!
16) Those he healed worshiped him
Those Christ healed responded with appropriate worship for their God!
17) The Holy Scriptures worship Him
So often a New Testament writer is explaining some aspect of God, or our salvation, and He breaks into a passage of worship and praise for God, and for Christ. That the God-breathed Holy Scriptures worship Christ is perhaps the most significant proof of the Deity of Jesus. If Christ is not God, then by this proof, the entire foundation of Christianity just came tumbling down!
18) Heaven worships him
The book of Revelation is an incredible glimpse into the worship of heaven. The focal point of the book is worship directed toward our Lord Jesus Christ. One hundred million angels, the twenty-four elders and the four heavenly being can’t be wrong.
19) Angels are commanded to worship him
God commands the angels to worship Christ! Is the Lord God committing idolatry?
20) Every Knee shall bow
In Paul’s great hymn of the incarnation, the song concludes with the bold statement that every knee, believer or not, all will bow before Christ – and declare that Jesus Christ is LORD!
Evidence of Christ’s Divine Nature
Christ has no beginning – as only God can claim
Christ has all power – as only God can have!
Christ’s divine nature is infinite and without boundary – as only God can be!
Christ knows every secret – as only God can know!
Christ is holy and righteous – as only God is holy.
Christ is good – as only God is good.
Christ is fair and just, and judge of everyone – as only God shows justice.
Christ is eternal, pre-existent and the ancient of days – as only God is beyond the markers of time.
Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever, consistent, unchanging – as only God is immutable.
30) The Creator
Christ is no other than the one who spoke time, the universe, the laws of physics, and your soul into being – as only God can do!
31) Sustainer of Life
Christ is the one who sustains all life – as God is the source of life
32) The King
Christ is the King of the Universe – as only God can rule!
33) sends forth the Holy Spirit
Christ sends forth the Comforter – as only God can send forth His Spirit.
34) The Light of the World
Christ is the source of spiritual light and truth and the light of heaven – as only God is the source of truth.
The Old Testament Prophets Prepared for the Messiah as YHWH Himself
The Prophet spoke of the Messiah as the Mighty God!
36) John the Baptist
The final prophet of the Old Testament made straight the path of the Lord
Several Psalms speak to the Son as God.
The Apostle John Taught that Jesus is God
38) John’s Gospel Prelude
The Gospel of John opens with the clearest possible way that John can say that Christ both “is God” and “is with God”. John say that the word became flesh and tabernacled among His people.
39) John calls Jesus True God
In one of John’s letters, he directly calls Jesus the true God.
40) Jesus blessed Thomas’ confession that Jesus was his God
John records Thomas’ confession that Jesus was his Lord and his God. And Jesus responds by blessing the confession.
The author of Hebrews taught the Deity of Christ
1) The letter to the Hebrews revels the Glory of Jesus’ Deity
Hebrews opens the Holy Scriptures (O.T.) and shows how Jesus is higher than the angels by showing that Jesus is God Himself.
42) The Builder of all things
In my personal favorite passage of Deity, the writer of Hebrews weaves a wonderfully concise progression of logic explaining that Jesus is greater than Moses, because Jesus is the builder (of the law, and of the church)and the builder is God.
43) The Father calls The Son God
The writer of Hebrews opens the Old Testament and shows points to a dialog between God the Father and God the son, wherein the Father calls the Son “Oh God”!
Paul the Apostle teaches that Jesus is God Incarnate
The Apostle Paul persecuted Christians before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. The glory of God shinning from Jesus blinded Paul. Paul’s personal encounter with the Deity of Christ changed him. Paul became a bondservant of Jesus, an apostle called to preach the gospel.
44) the Incarnation Hymn
Paul’s famous incarnation hymn guides the reader with Christ as Christ humbles Himself and becomes a man. Christ is then obedient to the cross and is then glorified by the Father.
45) Jesus is our great God
Paul writes to his friend, Titus, with the great hope of the appearance of Jesus Christ, our Great God and Savior.
46) Jesus is the bodily image of God
In several passages, Paul explains that Jesus is the God made visible.
47) Christ is God of all
In a passage of praise and worship to Jesus Christ, Paul praises Christ as God, over all, blessed and eternal.
48) It was God who bled on the cross
In a sad farewell to a beloved congregation Paul says the church was bought by God’s blood.
49) The Incarnation is the Mystery of Godliness
To Timothy, Paul’s protege, he writes that the incarnation is the great mystery of Godliness.
Christ’s Followers have always believed in the Deity of Christ
50) The Early Church Believed that Jesus is God tabernacling among his people
It is well documented that the early church believed in the Deity of Christ
51) All branches of Christianity agree on the Jesus is God
The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestant Church all agree on the Deity of Christ.
52 The Reformers confirm the Deity of Christ
Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Zwingle all affirmed the Deity of Christ.
But what about?
Those who deny the deity of Christ offer the following objections.
1) Jesus is the firstborn
The objection: If Jesus is the firstborn then he was born, right? So, how can a God have a beginning?
The answer: Firstborn is the position of greatest honor in the family and is more of a title than actually saying Christ is born. Also, firstborn refers to Christ as the first to be raised from the dead with a glorified body.
2) Jesus is the mediator between man and God
The objection: How can Jesus be between God and man and be God at the same time?
The answer: Christ is the perfect mediator because He is both man and God. How could a mere man serve as God’s mediator?
3) Jesus prayed to the Father
The objection: If Christ is God he would not need to pray to communicate with the Father.
The answer: Jesus prayed in submission and worship to His Father.
4) Jesus Called God His God.
The objection: Jesus worshiped God as His God. If Jesus thought God was God why don’t we take the same position and simply worship God and not Jesus?
The answer: In submission and worship to the Father, Jesus called God the Father His God. (see Psalm 45.)
5) Jesus said he didn’t know the hour of His return and Jesus learned as a human would learn.
The objection: If Jesus is God how can He not know the hour of His return? And how come Jesus had to learn anything at all?
The answer: Jesus set aside some of the glory of deity when he chose to become human (Phil 2).
6) How could God die?
The objection: God can’t die. But Jesus died. How is that?
link to Scripture Index
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
– Matthew 16:13-16
Poll: How do you answer Jesus’ question?
Make your voice heard:
You are my Lord and my God.
You are a political rebel.
You were a good and moral teacher.
You are one of many gods.
I have my own ideas about who you are.
You are a mystery to me. I don’t know for sure who you are.
Lord, I worship your majesty and your Deity.
Nothing anyone can ever do can compare to Your glory, Your Holiness, or Your Love. Our very best pales in Your presence.
I am a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips. We are profanity in a Holy place.
How arrogant we are to think we can describe Your glory with our words.
How foolish to think that we can understand Your Deity with an outline.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Never let us fail to be awed by You.
Never let us think too highly of ourselves.
We praise You, Lord Jesus Christ, YHWH. You are our rock, our refuge, and our fortress.
Only in Your mercy can we find hope from Your wrath and Your terrible Holiness.