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The Deity of Christ

Part 2:  He is a Person

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

There is no question that the Lord Jesus is deity. John 1:1 tells us so as well as the context of the entire New Testament. The Lord Jesus being the Word of God and the express image of God also indicates His divinity.

 

The Lord Jesus was not the inanimate thought or word of God which then took human form.  As the Word of God, He was a person before He came to earth in the form of a man.  The Bible makes it evident that the Lord Jesus was indeed a person before He decided for Himself to become as one of us.  Given below are a few points to consider.

 

 

 

1)  This can be seen when the Bible shows the Lord Jesus and the apostles speaking of things which Jesus was or has done in heaven, before ever coming to earth as a man. Such statements only make sense when we understand that the Lord Jesus is being referred to as a living person and not a thing, when He was in heaven.

 

Here are some examples:

 

 

Luke 10:

18   And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (NKJV)

 

Comment: How can Jesus refer to Himself in this way if He was supposedly not a person,

but an inanimate force?   It only makes sense if He was an actual person witnessing the event.

 

 

John 1:

15   John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I,

          for He existed before me.'"    (NKJV) 

         

          Comment: John the Baptist is 6 months older than Jesus, but says Jesus – a person, already was/existed.

 

 

John 3:

13   "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.   (NASB)

 

Comment: A person comes down from heaven, and a person goes up to heaven.

 

 

John 6:

37   All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

38   For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.   (NKJV)

 

Comment: He has a will in heaven, but He has come down to not perform His own will,

but the will of His father.

 

 

John 8:

58    Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.   (AKJV)

 

Comment:  He states that He existed before Abraham, implying His personhood.

 

 

John 17:

5   And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.   (NKJV)

 

Comment: Such a statement from the Lord Jesus is sensible only if He was a person

with His own mind who can know and experience the glory of God.

 

 

2 Corinthians 8:

9    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.    (AKJV)

 

Comment:  It is as a person that He was rich in heaven and then became poor (became flesh)

to suffer and die for the atonement of our sins.  It does not make sense to say an “it” was rich and then became poor. In its context, using “rich” here as a description could only apply to a person.  It is using a before and after comparison – He was a person before who was rich, and now He is still a person, but has become poor.


 

 

2) The true meaning of Genesis 1:26 when God says “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” can only be understood if the Lord Jesus was a person with God. Otherwise, who is God speaking to? Who are these persons who share God’s image? Did they share in the creation of man? There are some who say it should not be plural while others say God is referring to the angels. But there are problems with these reasons as they contradict the Bible when it makes unambiguous declarations such as the following:

 

a. The Bible says the Lord Jesus is the image of the invisible God

    (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).

 

b. The Bible says that all things were created through the Lord Jesus and for Him

    (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; 2:10).

 

 

Since we know the Word of God was in the beginning with God and all things were made through the Lord Jesus and for Him, and He is the very image of God, then God’s statement to “Let us make man in Our image” can only refer to the Lord Jesus. There was in the beginning God and another person who was in God’s image, and together they created man in their image. This person is the Word of God who became flesh. The witness of Genesis 1 and John 1 (both Old and New Testaments) agree that two who are of the same image were together in the act of creation and specifically of mankind – as we are made in their image.

 

The fact that He was a person before is also clearly seen in Proverbs 30 which tells us that God’s son was already a person and with Him during creation:

 

Proverbs 30:

4    Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?

(WEB)

 

 

 

3)  The Lord Jesus said He was sanctified and sent. Is it God’s thought or expression which is sanctified and sent to become the Son of God? Or is the Son of God anointed and sent to do His father’s will?

 

John 10:

36   do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said,

      'I am the Son of God'? (NKJV)

 

 

This is verified in Hebrews 1 and 10 – Jesus was already a person when He came into this world:

 

Hebrews 1:

8     But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

9     You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God,

     has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

10   And, "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

11   they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,

12   like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end."    

      (ESV, from Psalm 45:6-7)

 

 

Hebrews 10:

5   Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

    but a body have you prepared for me;    (ESV)

 

 

 

4) Does an inanimate abstraction make decisions or does a person make decisions?

 

Philippians 2 tells us the Word of God was a person:

 

Philippians 2:

5     Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6     who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7     but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8     Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9     For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10   so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11   and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

     (NASB)

 

 

Verse 5 tells us to have the mind which WAS in the Lord Jesus. This indicates that in heaven before coming to earth as a man, the Lord had a mind and only a person has a mind. The verses 6-8 which follow further testify that the Lord Jesus was a person before becoming flesh, because it describes how He used his mind at that time – He willingly decided to humble Himself for our salvation.

 

Verse 6 tells us the Lord Jesus was in the form of God. This is not a reference to an immaterial thought or expression, but a person, because the Biblical context tells us that despite being in the form of God, the Lord Jesus did not try to grasp equality with God (as Satan tried to be “like the most high” – Isaiah 14:13-14). This equality can only be applied to personhood and substance, not an abstraction or thought. Only a person can possibly think to elevate himself in pride to the stature of someone else. So again, we are told that the Lord Jesus was a person – the Word of God, before He walked the earth as a man.

 

Verse 7 tells us that though He had that choice, the Lord Jesus was completely without sin and so He did not attain to equality with His father. Instead, He did the opposite, which was He completely humbled Himself in obedience to His father to take the form of a servant, a man. Yet again, the Lord Jesus is being referred to as a person.

 

Verse 8 further describes his humility and the truth that the divine Son of God became a mere man: He chose to be obedient and He chose to die for us. Hebrews 2 explains more fully what Philippians 2:7-8 is saying:

 

Hebrews 2:

9     But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus,

     because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

10   For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory,

     to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

11   For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father;

     for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,

12   saying, "I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise."

13   And again, "I will put My trust in Him." And again, "Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me."

14   Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same,

     that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15   and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

16   For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.

17   Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high

     priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

     (NASB)

 

 

None of these actions that the Lord Jesus chose to do and actually did can be attributed to an abstract thought or expression, but only to a living being who used His own mind to choose to give us His all – even His life to die on a cross, in love and compassion. We must remember, He chose to become like one of us to taste death in order to conquer it. Only a person with a mind to make decisions can choose.

 

Philippians 2:9-11 punctuate the truth of the personhood and divinity of the Lord Jesus before He came as a man. For the meaning of these verses show us He is only exalted because of what He chose to do while in heaven and what He did do while in heaven and earth – giving up His deity to become a man. There would be absolutely no reason for God to exalt the Lord Jesus if He did not choose and perform the actions which He did. The verses would not make sense if God is exalting an abstract thought. What is being exalted? Is it an abstract thought or a person? The context indicates a person is being honored; God exalts and honors another person – His son, because of the decisions and actions His son made and did, currently makes and does, and will make and do.    

 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The Bible tells us the Lord Jesus, the Word of God, was deity and a person before He came in the flesh. As this person, He spoke of Himself as a person in heaven, participated in the creation of man in the image of His father and Himself and ultimately, He chose to humble Himself and come as a man in order to redeem the creation. These are things a person does and not a non-living thought or force.

 

 

 

This is part 2 of 7 about the Deity of Christ.  Please proceed to part 3: 'Only-Begotten Son'.