Beware of those who teach that Jesus Christ is not Deity
It's not just the Jehovah's Witnesses who teach that Jesus Christ is not deity, but there are other people and websites who are spreading this dangerous teaching as well. These groups will teach that "Jesus is not God" despite all the numerous passages in scripture that explicitly state that Jesus is God.
When it comes to the subject of the deity of Christ, there are verses that clearly say that Jesus
Christ is God, then there are verses that only imply Jesus is God, and then there are verses that groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses like to use that could cast doubt on this issue. How do we get our understanding on this subject? It's
simple: we believe the clear verses first and then we can correctly interpret the other verses. Since we are urged to "contend for the faith"/ fight for the truth (Jude 1:3), I would like to share several passages that clearly teach that
Jesus is explicitly called God.
Jesus Christ is explicitly called God by many in the Bible:
1. Romans 9:5 (PAUL calls Jesus God): "Christ came, who is overall the eternally blessed God"
2. Titus 2:13 (PAUL AGAIN calls Jesus God): "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13)
3. Hebrews 1:8 (THE FATHER calls Jesus God): "But to the Son, He says 'Your throne, O God, is forever"
4. John 20:28 (THOMAS calls Jesus God): "My Lord, and my God !"
5. 2 Peter 1:1 (PETER calls Jesus God): "....our God and Savior Jesus Christ..."
6. John 1:1-3, & vs. 14 (JOHN calls Jesus God): "The Word was God" (vs. 14:) "the Word became flesh (Jesus Christ in the flesh) and dwelt among us"
7. 1 John 5:20 (JOHN AGAIN calls Jesus God): "...And we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
8. Rev. 21:6-7 (JESUS -the Alpha and Omega- calls Himself God): "And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
9. Isaiah 9:6 (ISAIAH referred to the Messiah as God): We read in Isaiah 9:6 where it is prophesied that Jesus Christ, the Son of God will come into the world, and one of His names shall be called "Mighty God"
10. Matt. 1:23 (MATTHEW confirms that Jesus is "God with us"): clearly tells us "Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated 'God with us' "
Jesus Christ has also always existed :
1. John 8:58 - "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I am.
2. Rev. 1:8 - "I am the Alpha and Omega, who was and is, and is to come"
3. Rev. 1:17-18 - "I am the First and Last. I am the Living One: I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever"
4. John 17:1-5 - "and now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."
5. Col. 1:17 - "He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together."
Some say that since God is "One", then only God the Father can be God, and not the Son or the Holy Spirit. Yet this is not what the Bible proclaims:
1. 1 John 5:7-8 - "For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit; and these THREE are ONE."
2. Col. 2:1-3 - "...and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, BOTH of the Father and of Christ." (Here it tells us that not only is the Father God, but Christ is God as well).
3. There are verses about the "Godhead" which means the same as "Trinity" and show that the One God consists of three members: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - see: Acts 17:29 (KJV), Rom. 1:20 (KJV), Col. 2:9 (KJV) and plus for more scripture that demonstrates the Godhead see: Gen. 1:26, Mt. 28:19-20, and Luke 3:22
Certain groups try to teach that "Jesus is NOT God" based primarily on the verse John 17:3: John 17:3 is the chief proof text that anti-Trinitarians use to try and prove that Jesus is not part of the Godhead. John 17:3 is a verse that shows Jesus is praying to His Father and here He says: "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Anti-Trinitarians try to make the case that they believe that this verse states that only the Father is the true God. However, this is flawed logic, and bibleca.com shared about the error of this logic in this way:
1. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being called true God, then Jude 4, Acts 4:24, 2 Peter 2:1 excludes the Father from being called our Master. (Yet the Father is called our Master in 2 Tim 2:21, Neh 10:29, Ps 8:1, Isa 1:24)
2. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being called true God, then Jude 4, Eph 4:4, 1 Cor 8:4,6, Mt 6:24 excludes the Father from being called our Lord. (Yet the Father is called our Lord hundreds of times.)
3. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being called true God, then Matt 23:8,10, Mt 10:24 and Jn 13:13 excludes the Father from being called our Teacher. (Yet the Father is called our Teacher in Ps 119:12 and Isa 30:20)
4. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being called true God, then John 10:11,16 and Ezekiel 34:23 excludes the Father from being called our Shepherd. (Yet the Father is called our Shepherd in Isa. 40:11; Ps 23:1; 80:1.)
5. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being called true God, then 1 Tim 6:15-16 excludes the Father from being called Sovereign. (Yet the Father is called our Sovereign in 1 Cor 15:27.)
6. According to this logic - if John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being true God, then 1 Tim 6:15-16 excludes the Father from being immortal. (Yet the Father is also immortal.)
But the fact is that John 17:3 does Not exclude Jesus from being the true God as we very clearly read in 1 John 5:20 where Jesus is called the true God.....
"And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life"
(plus I listed above several other scriptures that proclaims Jesus as God)
So as with all subjects, we simply cannot isolate a few scripture here and there, but we must look at the whole of scripture to see the truth.
What is the meaning behind John 17:3? : Here are some very wise and humble words from bibleca.com that beautifully express the true meaning behind John 17:3...
What John 17:3 is saying:
"While Jesus walked the earth, he took off the outward robes of deity and put on the robes of a servant. (Phil 2:6-8 + John 13:3-20) Jesus on earth was still "very God" or the "only true God" but he took on a new role of a servant where all His efforts were to direct people to the Father as God and not to Himself. He humbled Himself, avoiding the glory of being God on earth and directing it to the Father alone. In the midst of Jesus' final prayer in the garden just prior to his arrest, we see that such submission was not merely a show while in the presence of man, but true to the heart submission to the Father. Jesus was not denying he was the "only true God", but was praising the Father as such. The very next words after this verse are: "I glorified Thee on the earth ... now glorify me". Jesus would not sing his own praises! In very simple terms, if Jesus addressed someone else as "man", that does not mean Jesus himself was not a man. Jesus was not creating a point of distinction between Himself and the Father in the expression, "only true God", but between the Father and any other "so-called god" like idols. Jesus had lived among the Romans with their many competing gods and Jesus was addressing the Father with these idols in mind."
What are the dangers of believing that Jesus Christ is not deity? :
1. To not believe Jesus is God is to reject much scripture that clearly says Jesus IS God and thus we are denying who Jesus Christ truly is. - The Bible has very strong words against those who deny the truth about Jesus Christ. In 1 John 2:22-24 we read that "He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also." How can we say we acknowledge the Son if we deny clear scripture which explicitly calls Jesus Christ God, who has always existed and is the creator of heaven and earth? To flatly deny these truths is to deny who Jesus Christ truly is. It shows our heart of unbelief and our lack of respect for the authority of holy scripture.
2. To deny that Jesus is God is to show disrespect toward Jesus Christ who has always existed as God, yet came to this world out of love and mercy for lost mankind. He came to live on earth as a human being about 2,000 years ago in order to provide the way of salvation for lost mankind. - Apart from the gracious and loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ to provide the way salvation, there would be no hope for any man to be saved since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But the good news is that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life and He alone was the perfect sacrifice who was well pleasing to God. Jesus Christ wondrously provides the way of salvation and a bridge to the Father to all those who place their faith in Christ and His gracious works to save them, and who evidence their faith by a life and heart that has truly been born again as they have turned/repented from a life of sin and self to now live to follow faithfully after Him in sincere obedience. How can we say we honor the Son and yet reject His deity? The Bible has very strong words against those who show such dishonor toward the Son. In John 5:23 we read: "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
3. To not believe that Jesus is God is to be deceived into believing the cunning craftiness of men. - The Bible warns us in Ephesians 4:14 by saying that: "We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." For people to deny clear scripture that expresses Christ's deity is indeed deceitful, and not only that, but they normally want to pass these teachings on to others and cause their trickery and cunning craftiness to expand to those who might not be very mature in the faith. The Bible warns that "evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13). But the hope we have is to trust in Holy Scripture which can make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus and to be assured that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:14-17).
As true believers, we are called to preach and warn every man and teach every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. We are to labor and strive for this. (Col. 1:28-29). - In this world of confusing and deceptive teachings, we should want other's hearts to be encouraged and knit together in love so as to attain to all riches of the full assurance and understanding to the knowledge of the mystery of GOD - BOTH of the FATHER, AND of CHRIST in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:1-3). We are to encourage others in the steadfastness of their faith and to continue to walk in Christ Jesus the Lord as they continue to be rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith as they've been taught with all thanksgiving. We are to continue to warn others lest anyone should deceive them with persuasive words, or seek to cheat them through philosophy and empty tradition of men, according to the basic principle of the world, and not according to Christ, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and we are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power(Col. 2:4-9).
Article by F. A. Butler