The Deity of Jesus Christ

by Charles F. Baker

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Having seen the necessity for the Virgin Birth, it will be our purpose now to show the necessity and the proof for the Deity of Jesus Christ. The Modernist speaks of the divinity of Christ, but he also speaks of the divinity of all men; so that Jesus was no different in nature from other men: He merely realized more of the Divine in Himself than others have done, and there is the possibility that others will yet arise who will utilize the divine in themselves more than Jesus did. Such teaching exalts man but debases God. By ascribing Deity to Jesus Christ we mean just the opposite: Jesus Christ is the eternal Creator, who, though He became man, yet was different in essence from every created being in the universe.

The one great necessity for the Deity of Jesus Christ is seen in the scriptural doctrine of salvation. Because the Modernist denies the former, he must denounce the latter. He argues that salvation based upon the substitutionary death of an innocent man is unethical. It would be unjust for God to demand the death of a good man in order that a bad man might be saved. We absolutely agree with this, if that good man be not God Himself manifested in human flesh. It would not be right for God to take any good or innocent created being and cause that one to die for a bad one; neither could there be any virtue or value in such a death. Surely no man could ever redeem his brother (Psalm 49:7), neither could any angel redeem man. Jesus was not merely a third party who stepped forward to pay our fine. He was the very God against whom we have sinned and to whom we are responsible. Let us illustrate. Suppose you owe me a debt of five hundred dollars, but you haven’t a cent with which to pay (see Luke 7:41 to 50). Now if a third party gives you, that amount and you pay it to me it can in no sense be said that I forgave you the debt; for I received my money in full. But suppose the debt was so large that no one could pay it for you. This is the intended meaning in the story of Matthew 18:21 to 35, where the debt of 10,- 000 talents (over 300 million dollars) represents our debt to God because of sin, and that of 100 pence (15 dollars) represents our debt to our fellow man. You owe me this enormous debt, but you have not a cent to pay, neither can any one else pay it for you. Now suppose I freely forgave you that debt. Who paid it? Did not I? for I suffered the loss in forgiving you. Just so in all true forgiveness, the one who forgives suffers the loss of that which is forgiven. This is also true in the case of God. The debt of man’s sin was too great for man ever to pay; so God in His mercy and grace paid the debt Himself by becoming a Man in order that He might die the death which sin demanded. Thus Jesus Christ is either God and the scriptural doctrine of salvation is perfectly ethical, or else Jesus was a mere man and the scriptural salvation is extremely unethical.

Scriptural proofs of Christ’s Deity are so abounding as to be beyond the scope of this brief message. Suffice it to say that He is called God (Hebrews 1:8; Matthew 22:44); He claimed to be God (I AM or Jehovah—John 8:24, 56 58, 59; equal with the Father—Matthew 28:19; Mark 14:62; John 10:30, 31, 32; John 14:8, 9; John 17:5; exercised God’s prerogative—Mark 2:5 to 7; Luke 7:48 to 50; omnipresent—Matthew 18:20, omniscient—John 11:11 to 14; Mark 11:6 to 8 omnipotent—Matthew 28:18; Luke 7:14; John 5:21 to 23; John 6:19; divine power over nature—Luke 9:16, 17; John 2:9; John 21:6; Luke 8:24; received human worship due only to God—Matthew 14:33; Matthew 28:9; John 9:38; Matthew 20:28, 29; arose from the dead— Romans 1:4); all of the Bible writers ascribe Deity to Him—Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 2:2 to 9; Psalm 45:6, 7; Psalm 110:1, 4; John 1:1, 3, 10; John 20:31; Acts 20:28; Acts 2:36; Romans 9:5; I Corinthians 15:47; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15 to 19; I Timothy 6:15, 16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 7:3; James 2:1; II Peter 1:17; Revelation 1:8, 17, 18; Revelation 19:16.

Some who claim to believe the Bible teach that because Jesus is called the “only begotten Son” or the “first begotten” that He was born or created of God as the first of His creation and then all else was created by Christ. If Christ be but the greatest of creatures, then all of the above scriptures are in error. Such passages as John 1:14, 18; John 3:16, 18; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5 I John 4:9; Revelation 1:5; Matthew 1:25; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18 do not teach that the Son of God came into existence at some point in time, but refer to His position in the Godhead, His humanity, and His resurrection, cf. Hebrews 1:5 and Acts 13:33. The fact that “all things were created by Him” (Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:3), excludes the thought that He Himself was created. We bow our knees at the name of Jesus, and confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father; as every one must some day bow and confess Him either as Saviour or Judge (Philippians 2:10, 11).