On The Deity of Christ

Recently, I posted a reformed theology commentary on John 1:1-5 and spoke of the deity of Christ within the context of that passage. But now I’d like to focus on the deity of Christ throughout the entire Bible. This will probably be a more lengthy post but I hope that it will edify you in your understanding of the deity of Christ, as well as give you scriptural passages that you can use to defend the deity of Christ against any who may object to His deity. 

Now firstly I’d like to look at John 1:1, now don’t worry I’m not going to go too indepth to this verse but it is an essential verse to the deity of Christ so we shall look at it.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    – John 1:1

Here Christ is called the Word, the λόγος (logos), but one might say, “Christ is not explicitly declared in this passage, but instead this “Word”.” And this is a objection that we must answer. Now, turn your attention to what John writes later in that chapter, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Here John explicitly teaches that this Word “became flesh and dwelt among us”. And also that It’s physical gender was a He: “and we have seen his glory,”. Now we see that this Word was “full of grace and truth”, but later John also says this, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17). Here we see that through Jesus Christ was grace and truth, which is what the Word is full of. Thus, those two verses combined explicitly prove Christ to be “the Word”. Now let us go back to John 1:1 and briefly examine it.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

Here Christ was in the beginning, or before the beginning as the Greek word for ‘In’ can also be translated ‘Before’ (see On John 1:1-5 – Reformed Theology Commentary for more detailed information regarding the Greek text). Thus if Christ is before the beginning He is, most definitely, eternal. Christ was also with God, but not just with God, He was with God from before the beginning in the most intimate way possible. This idea of being “with” is an intensely intimate thing in the Greek. And lastly here we see that Christ is God. Not meaning that God and Christ are one in the same, on the contrary, Christ being with God shows a distinction, so in light of that we must understand that when it says “and the Word was God” that is speaking to Christ’s equality with God, while yet being a disctinct person from God the Father. 

Now I’d like to deal with another question that arises concerning this verse and that is this: why is Christ Jesus called “the Word”? This was a question that I myself had bouncing around in my head the first time I ever seriously studied the prologue to the Gospel of John, which is now my favorite Gospel. And I shall give you the biblical answer, in fact the answer comes straight from the mouth of our Lord. 

26 “I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” – John 8:26

For the purpose of answering that question, I’d like to focus on Jesus’ words “and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”; now, we all would agree that the “him” is the same as “he who sent me”, whom Jesus often calls “Father”, no even more so, “my Father”. Now we will get into statements like those more indepthly later but for now just know that “him” and “he who sent me” is God the Father. Here we see that Christ tells us that He declares what He has heard from the Father to the world, thus He is called the “Word” because He utters the words of God, as John the Baptist says, “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34). Now Christ is the one whom God has sent, and He doesn’t speak on His own but speaks what He has heard from the Father, and He does not do His own will but the will of His Father, as it is written: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38). Thus Christ is called the Word because He utters the words of God.

Now that we have dispensed with John 1:1 let’s move on to another passage which I believe will hold ample edification:

2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’ 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-he then said to the paralytic-“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home.  -Matthew 9:2-7

Now for the purposes of today do not spend time on the mircale (although it is an amazing thing, as are all the miracles of Christ) but rather focus on the following: 1.) Christ claiming to be able to forgive sins, 2.) His knowledge of the Pharisees thoughts, and 3.) the authority exemplified in the miricale.

Let’s take them one at a time, from first to last:

  1. Christ claiming to be able to forgive sins. Here Christ claiming to be able to forgive sins is not a little thing, because forgiveness is the prerogative of the person who has been offended by another. Now when we sin, we do not always sin against others but we always sin against God. Therefore Christ saying, “Take heart my son; your sins are forgiven.” is not claiming anything less than equality with God. 
  2. His knowledge of the Pharisees thoughts. After Jesus tells the man that his sins are forgiven, the Pharisees present begin to question what Christ said, thinking that Christ is wrongfully claiming equality with God. They do not do this verbally but internally – mentally. And then, Jesus questions their thoughts! He answers the doubts, the accusations, that they are bringing up concerning him in their hearts! As it is written: “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts,” (Matthew 9:4). Now understand this is not some vague or uncertain knowledge, on the contrary, this is certain and clear knowledge. But who else, besides God, knows men’s thoughts in and of their own power? No one, but God, for it is written, “would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalm 44:21). 
  3. The authority exemplified in the miricale. Jesus said to them,”For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” (Matthew 9:5). Here Christ is asking which is easier to say, not which is easier to do. Now, naturally, to a paralytic, it is much easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ than ‘Rise and walk’. Now since this question’s answer is so easily attained, it would, most likely, lead one to say, “If Jesus merely says, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, then really, it’s all just empty words!” And to this logical realization that Jesus brought about by asking the previous question, Jesus answers thus, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-he then said to the paralytic-“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (Matthew 9:6). And how does the man, the paralyzed man, respond to this direct command of Christ? “And he rose and went home.” (Matthew 9:7). Here, by doing the harder of the two, Christ’s actions imply this question: “If He can do what is harder to say, then can’t He do what is easier to say?”

Now that we have finished with that verse let us move on to another one. Since I’ve shown two examples from the New Testament, let’s look at some Old Testament passages.

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Here we see the prophet Isaiah speaking of a child to be born, earlier  he is more specific and says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14), but this child who is to be born of a virgin shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. Does not the scripture say, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)? Here John is calling Jesus, the logos, “the only God”, and is not the only God mighty? Indeed, He is mighty, for the scriptures say concerning His might, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8). And if one is the Prince of Peace, then is not peace His to give? And who gives true peace? Christ Jesus, for it is written: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). Who gives us peace? And whom’ peace do we receive? We do not receive the world’s peace, which is fleeting and false, but we receive His peace, the peace of Jesus the Christ. Thus who is to be called Mighty God? Who is to be called Prince of Peace? None save Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God! 

Next let us look at another passage, this one comes from the New Testament:

16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him.

17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:16-17

Here these two verses are clearly speaking to deity, but who all this attached to? Who is “he”? We must look at Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Who is the physical image of the invisible Father? Christ, for it is writtten: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) and again: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3). Thus it is Christ who is the image of the invisible God. Now that we know that in Colossians 1:16-7 the “he” is Christ, we then see that by Chris, through Christ, and for Christ all things were created. And not only that but in Christ all things are held together! This statement of Christ’s deity is similar to John 1:3: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”. So we see that the deity of Christ being expressed this way is not exclusive to one New Testament writer but two! Both being the most prolific writers in the New Testament. 

Combining all these passages we’ve looked at together, we see that the deity of Christ is not only boldly proclaimed but also repeatedly proclaimed with boldness. 

But I would like to look at one last passage:

17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”  – John 10:17-18

Here we see the Gospel laid out by Christ Himself. But see here: Christ lays down His life “that [he] might take it up again”. And He also says: “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”. The word for ‘authority’ can also mean ‘power’. Christ has the power to lay down His holy life, and to take it back up again! Essentially, Christ is saying: I will raise myself from the dead. If that is not deity, then I don’t know what is. 

Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t ever doubt the deity of your Savior. 

Much Blessings,

Michael Hall

    On The Deity of Christ