Is Jesus Christ God? Jesus Christ: Was He just another man or was He God? Was He a prophetor a fanatic? Was He merely a nice person that taught good ethics or was He the Messiah sent to save mankind? Different people have different ideas and views about this, but what does the Bible say?The New Testament is centered around the life and ministry of Jesus. The Gospel of John begins with these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was notany thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4) Then verse 14 says: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Here, the Bible provides us with an accurate description of who Jesus is. John refers to Him as "the Word", but we know that He is talking about Christ because John points out that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". Notice that it says "the Word was with God and the Word was God." These verses also tell us that "all things were made by him". We canobviously see that Jesus Christ is not a created being, but He is the CreatorHimself. John assures us that Jesus is God and that He took upon the form of a human being in order to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Not only is Jesus called "the Word", but Matthew 1:23 points out thatJesus was to be called "Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Jesus was not just another man when He was down here on earth, but He was "God with us". The Bible is clear when it says that God is the Creator: "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewestlovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathersinto the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, theLord of hosts, is his name" (Jeremiah 32:17-18, See also Genesis 1:1). In
the New Testament, verses such as John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-16, and Hebrews 1:2 all tell us that Jesus is the Creator. The disciples knew without a doubt that Jesus Christ was in fact God. evendoubting Thomas acknowledged this is John 20:28, "And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." If Jesus was not God, then why didnt He correct Thomas for saying this? Instead, Jesus simply said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blesssed are they that have not seen me, and yet have believed."The New Testament contains many occasions where people worshipped Jesus as God and He never rebuked them for doing this: In Matthew 2:11, the wise men from the east "fell down, and worshipped him". Matthew 8:2 recalls this incident: "behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean."Then in Matthew 9:18, "behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him". Matthew 14:33 provides this account: "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." Matthew 15:25 tells us about a woman of Canaan who "worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me."In Matthew 28:9, after His resurrection, the Bible tells us that Jesus metHis disciples and said to them "All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."These are just the verses found in Matthew, but the other Gospels contain many similar passages of Scripture.We know that Jesus was God because, otherwise, He would not have allowed the people to worship Him. How do we know this? The book of Revelationtells us that when John became overwhelmed with the visions he saw, he said"I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me thesethings. Then saith he unto me, see thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant
and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings ofthis book: worship God." (Revelation 22:8-9) John was rebuked by the angel for worshipping him. This also happened in Revelation 19:10, where theangel again said, "See thou do it not". If the angel reacted this way, surely Jesus would have too, if He were not God. But He was, and so He always let everyone worship Him.What claims did Jesus make about Himself? Did he say that He was God? In John 10:30, Jesus said these words: "I and my father are one." Then the Bible goes on to say that the Jews wanted to kill Him because of thisdeclaration, but Jesus responded, "Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; andbecause that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." (Verses 31-33) Jesus did not deny this claim because He was God.Mark chapter 2 provides us with another instance where Jesus revealed His true character. A man was brought before Christ that was "sick of the palsy". Jesus said to him, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there wascertain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? Andimmediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." (Mark 2:5-12) Everyone knows that God alone has the power to forgive sins, and Jesus had that power!This is what John 8:58-59 has to say: "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to castat him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was proclaiming Himself to be God and they wanted to stone Him to deathbecause they didnt believe Him. Jesus said that He was "I am". This is what
God called Himself in Exodus 3:14 "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT IAM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." In John 5:18, the Bible says that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because Christ claimed "that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."Here is what Jesus said about Himself in the book of Revelation: "I am Alphaand Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:18) Also, in verse11, He proclaims, "I am alpha and Omega, the first and the last". Then again, in verses 17-18, He says, "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Now lets compare this to Isaiah 44:6"Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of host: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is not God." This verse tells us that the one who is "the first and the last" is God. This is the same title Christ applied to Himself in Revelation chapter 1. On another occasion, Jesus healed a man possessed by demons and said,"Return to thine house, and show what great things God hath done unto thee. And he went on his way and published throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done unto him." (Luke 8:39) This man perceived Jesus and God as one and the same person! Why didnt Jesus correct the man if this wasnt true?How did the other Bible writers view Jesus? Paul maintained that Jesus was God in the flesh: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen ofangels, preached unto the nations, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:16) In Titus 2:13, Paul clearly linked Jesus to God: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior, Jesus Christ." Notice what Paul also wrote in Colossians 2:8-9 "Beware lest any man spoilyou through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." In Romans 14:10-12, Paul interchangeably used the words "God" and"Jesus" in reference to Jesus Christ: "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Paul explains in Philippians 2:5-11 that Jesus is God and that He chose to take the form of a man in order to die on the cross. He also points out that the day will come when everyone who ever lived will bow down and worshipJesus: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and wasmade in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Its interesting that in Isaiah 45:22-23, the Bible also saysthat every knee will bow to God, which we can see, based on Philippians 2 and Romans 14:10-12, is Jesus Christ.The writer of the book of Hebrews included this passage about Jesus: "Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8) Once again, Jesus, the Son, is referred to as God. In Isaiah 9:6, The Messiah is called both the son and "the Mighty God". Micah 5:2 describes Jesus as everlasting being who has always been, which is a quality that belongs only to God: "But thou, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shallcome forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
The Bible writers often applied the term "Savior" both to God and Jesus Christ: "But after the kindness and love of God, our Savior, toward manappeared." (Titus 3:4). Then just 2 verses later, Paul writes, "Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior" (Titus 3:6). In conclusion, we can see that the Bible clearly portrays Jesus as God, andyet He is also called the Son of God (Mark 1:1 and 1 John 5:5). How is this possible? The answer to this is found in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." There is only one God: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord". (Deuteronomy 6:4). However, according to 1 John 5:7, God reveals Himself in 3 ways: the Father, the Word (which is Jesus, see John 1:1-3), and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one. First, lets take a look at the true meaning of baptism from a Biblicalperspective. Without question, the best explanation is given to us in Romans 6. In order to get the context, lets begin in verse 1, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that asmany of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just asChrist was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Romans 6:1-5). We find that baptism is full of significance! Paul teaches us that theChristian is supposed to go through a similar experience to what Jesus wentthrough in His death, burial, and resurrection. The difference is that Jesus died physically and actually came back to life; were to die to our sin, self, and old ways, and then rise again to live a holy life through the power ofJesus. As Paul said in verses 6-13 of that same chapter, "Knowing this, thatour old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done awaywith, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has beenfreed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died,
He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Romans 6:6-13) In other words, baptism is an outward symbol of an inner change and transformation that is supposed to take place beforehand. Its veryimportant to emphasize the fact that this can only be accomplished through the power and strength of Jesus! Its not that we have to completely overcome sin before we can be baptized, but we need to repent of our past sins (Acts 2:28) and have our mind made up that we want to overcome sin, as we will allow God to give us the victory. In the same way that Jesus went down into that grave, we go down into thewater of baptism, which represents our death to sin and the burial of our old life. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (1 Corinthians 5:17) Sin needs to "die" and "pass away" in our life and Jesus will take its place. Thisdoesnt mean that well never sin again, because sin has a way of coming backto life, but it does mean, like Paul said, "that we should no longer be slaves ofsin" and that we should "reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but aliveto God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts." Sin will no longer dominate or control our lives and we will strive to "be holy even as He is holy" (1 Peter1:15-16), as the Lord works in us "both to will and to do His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) Here are some more verses that speak of "dying" to a sinful lifestyle:"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Jesus said "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)
"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live accordingto 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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:12-14)"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5) How Important is Baptism? Now that weve discovered the real meaning of baptism, lets look at its importance. Its essential to understand that baptism does not guarantee anyone a trip to heaven. Salvation comes only through the death andforgiveness of Jesus Christ and theres nothing we can do to earn it. Unless true conversion comes first, then baptism is just a meaningless ceremony. Now lets look at what Jesus said about this subject:"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)From this statement, we see that Baptism is very important to Jesus, which means that it should be just as important for all of His followers today. If we believe in Jesus, then we should take part in baptism. Jesus is our example (1 John 2:6) and He was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17), which means that we should follow His leading in this matter.We know that baptism means a lot to Christ, especially since He emphasized its importance in His closing words here on earth: "Go ye therefore, andteach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Ihave commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20) In Acts 2:37-38, the people who wanted to be right with God asked this question "What shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and bebaptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." So we see that
everyone who wants to give their heart to Jesus and please Him will follow through with Gods plan of baptism. In Acts 8:12 and Acts 16:30-33, we find again that baptism follows conversion and acceptance of Jesus. (See also Acts 8:35-38 and Acts 22:10-16) Necessary for Salvation? But do you have to be baptized to be saved? The Bible is clear: Christians should be baptized. Its not something we do in order to be saved, but its something we do because we are saved. We cant earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:21), but if someone knows what the Bible says about baptism and how important it is to God, then they certainly will want to bebaptized. Otherwise, if they deliberately disobey the Lord in a major matter such as baptism, then are they really a "born again" Christian? (Rememberthat those that have accepted Jesus and love Him will want to obey Him; see Hebrews 5:9, John 14:15, Ephesians 2:10, 1 John 3:18) This is a very difficult question because of the simple fact that we are not God and we dont decide who gets into heaven and who doesnt. God is the great Judge and He knows everyones heart and intentions. But we need to keep in mind that there will probably be people in heaventhat were never baptized because they didnt have the opportunity or they didnt know any better. The Bible never mentions the thief on the cross getting baptized, yet Jesus promised Him eternal life (Luke 23:39-43). Oftentimes, the outward act of baptism is emphasized, but its the inward change that we truly need to focus on. The Bible clearly states that we are saved "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according toHis mercy, He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of theHoly Ghost; which is shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 5:6) This "washing" is what baptism represents, but its only Jesus who can wash us. Our own actions simply cannot bring us salvation. But if weare walking with God and seeking to do His will, then why wouldnt we want to be baptized? 1 Peter 3:21 tells us that baptism is "an answer of a good conscience towards God" which means that its what God wants us to do since its one of the important steps we take in the Christian walk.