When Jesus was born, a star proclaimed the advent of a Divine King and angels joined in choir to announce the birth of a Divine Savior. However, very few in His time ever could believe that He could be the Son of God. His humanity was so normal and evident that it was indubitable. However, the Bible tells us that He was God in flesh (John 1:14).
In the study of Christ, called Christology, there are usually two approaches, a Christology from above that focuses on His divinity and a Christology from below that focuses on His humanity. A balanced study of Scripture teaches us that in His Incarnation, Jesus was fully God and fully Man.
Following are few of the many Scriptures that teach us clearly the divinity of Christ:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
John 20:28,29 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.” In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames of fire.” But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.” He also says,
“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”
1John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
WHAT DOES THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST’S DIVINITY TEACH US
1. As God He is eternal, without a beginning or an end. (Heb 1:12; 7:16; Rev.22:13). He was never created, nor is a creature; but He is the Creator of all visible and invisible worlds (Col.1:16). He didn’t become God at some time, but was and is eternally God.
2. His divinity cannot be mixed up with His humanity; for, His divinity is absolute, perfect, and complete and beyond any possibility of limitation or privation in anyway (Col.2:9).
3. In His humanity, He was perfectly and fully God. His divine personality was not suppressed or cancelled out through His humanity (John 10:30).
4. He died as Man but as the Son of God and offered Himself up through the Eternal Spirit (Gal 2:20; Heb. 9:14).
5. He is the Express Image and the Perfect, Complete, and Final Revelation of God (Heb.1:3; John 14:6-11; Col.1:15).
The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, but the doctrine is explicitly evident there. Much of the confusion governing the doctrine revolves around the human impossibility to conceive how 1 and 1 and 1 make 1 and not three. Perhaps it was Prof. Nathan Wood who once illustrated it this way. He said that the scheme shouldn’t be 1+1+1=1 (couldn’t be), but 1x1x1=1. Of course, though a bit weak in analogy, the illustration seems good (though, of course also, God cannot be mathematically rendered).
He further went to give the following analogy:
Length x Breadth x Height = Space
Energy x Motion x Phenomenon = Matter
Future x Present x Past = Time
Space x Matter x Time = Universe
Nature x Person x Personality = Man
One must take heed not to imagine that the Godhead can in anyway be explained and understood in the mathematical terms of the universe. There are also other ways of unity in this world that seem to be mathematically impossible (see A Dialogue on Trinity for a treatment of this topic with reference to Zeno’s Paradoxes and the concept of empirical unity).
The essential facts of the Doctrine of Trinity have well been laid out by teachers of the Word:
- God is One – The Unity of God. The Trinity doesn’t mean that there are three gods but that there is only one God in three persons.
- Each of the persons within the Godhead is Deity. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. The Three is One God, not by virtue of addition or multiplication, but by virtue of Spiritual Unity.
- The oneness of God and the threeness of God are not contradictions. They may appear contradictions to us; but, in essence God is One in Three persons.
- The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is eternal. Each person is co-eternal, co-existent, and co-substantial with each other.
- Each of the persons of God is of the same essence and is not inferior or superior to the others in essence.
- The Trinity is a mystery which we will never be able to understand fully.
“Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me, Silvanus, and Timothy–was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2Corinthians 1:17-20)
“To err is human…”, so goes the saying.
Human life is composed of an incredible number of decisions that we continuously make; decisions that are the result of either reason or emotion or a combination of both in reaction to some set of information (sensation). Many decisions that humans make are influenced by culture, nature, nurture, and circumstances. And since human nature is imperfect, error is usually natural. There are a number of decisions that one usually would regret in life. However, the Bible calls us not to keep regretting the past failures and bemoan our present human weakness. It calls us to place our lives in the grip of God, in the grip of His Spirit, and walk not according to flesh but according to the Spirit. The Bible calls us to place our faith in the never failing promises of God, promises that have been irrevocably, ineradicably, immutably, and innumerably given to us in the Bible. God calls us to a courageous and confident living that is founded on the sure foundation of the Word of God through Jesus Christ. If there is one thing that man would never regret, it is the decision to believe in the rock sure Word of God and build one’s life on it.
“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” ~S.D. Gordon
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a central to the Christian experience; for, it spells new life. Paul wrote: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Rom 5:10).
A Message of Power and Victory
The power of resurrection is the ultimate that nature had ever seen; for it includes a reversal of the natural law of entropy and death. It overpowers it and through this victory has fully emptied the whole universe of its power over finite man. Further, it not only overpowers biological death, it vanquishes spiritual death and grants men eternal life. Therefore, Paul makes it his goal to know Christ and “the power of His resurrection.” (Phil.3:10). It is the same power in work in the lives of Christians to give them victory over the world, flesh, and sin.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom 8:11-13)
A Message of Life
The resurrection of Jesus gives us a message of hope, the hope of life eternal. The ancient India saints prayed:
“Lead us from falsehood to Truth.
Lead us from darkness into Light.
Lead us from death to Life.” (Brhadaranyaka Upanisad).
The power of life eternal cannot be within the universe for it is itself subject to death and decay. When Jesus defeated death and rose again from the grave, He became the Gospel of eternal life to all those who choose to be the children of God through Him.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
A Message of Order
In a turbulent and chaotic world that we live, the resurrection of Jesus brings us a message of order. Death is the ultimate result of disorder and disintegration. Christ’s life brings order into our lives and eternity. Therefore, when He rose again, it was testified that when Peter entered the grave,
“he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” (John 20:6,7)
Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right…
~Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to into into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. (Rev 5:3-7)
This apocalyptic vision of John unravels a great mystery of God’s design. When John fell weeping that there was nobody worthy of opening the scroll, he was told that the “Lion” of the tribe of Judah had prevailed, overcome, and conquered and was able to open the scroll. John turned around, and what he saw was not a Lion but a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. The Lion of the tribe of Judah had triumphed as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of all mankind. He didn’t conquer sin, the world, and the devil by legions of angels, by weapons of war, or by the power of brute strength. He conquered all by His self-sacrifice. He overcame as the Lamb of God. So, the heavenly chorus sings in great jubilation:
“Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” (Rev 5:9-10)
In this Passion Week as we remember the death and resurrection of the Son of God, let us remember this fact that there is no greater power than the power of sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus is the basis of our victory in this world:
“they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 12:11)
It is also the basis of our victory over every divisive, disruptive, and destructive sin in our flesh; for, the Cross teaches us that the true conqueror is one who erases the spirit of enmity through the act of forgiveness, overcomes bitterness by the spirit of love and understanding, and brings healing to this broken world through his self-sacrifice. We are overcomers because the Lion of Judah has prevailed as the Lamb of God.