The Deity of the Lord Jesus

The Deity of the Lord Jesus

Dr. John Boyd

By the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ we mean that He was God, that He was equal with God the Father — in being, in power, and in glory.

Deity is different from divinity. Divinity is being like God. All believers have this in a greater or less degree (2 Pet. 1:4). Deity is being God — this word can only be used of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Proofs of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ abound. They depend not only upon the scriptural passages which assert it, but also on His entire impression on the world. A further evidence is in the believer’s own inner experience of the transforming power of the Lord in his heart and life. Let us consider some of these proofs. First, note

The Claims Of The Lord Jesus Christ Himself

He claimed the attributes of God: omnipresence (Matt. 18:20), omnipotence (Matt. 28:18), omniscience (John 2:24), eternal pre-existence (John 8:58).

He claimed the power of God: the power to raise the dead (John 11:11), to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5-7), to do miracles (John 10:37).

He claimed the authority of God. Prefacing His remarks with “Verily I say unto you”, He stamped His words with the authority that God alone could use (Matt. 5:18). He had authority to forgive sins (Luke 4:24). The men of Capernaum acknowledged His divine authority as they saw demons obey Him (Mk. 1:27).

He claimed equality with God. In John’s Gospel the Lord affirmed that He was equal with God the Father in Power (5:18-19), Honour (5:23), Doctrine (7:16), Judgment (8:16), Essence (10:30), Glory (11:4), Dependability (14:1).

He claimed to be the Son of God.

He revealed Himself as such to the man to whom He had given sight (John 9:35-37). To Nicodemus He spoke of Himself as “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

In all these claims the Lord during His sojourn on earth sought to impress on man the fact that He was God. How far He succeeded in so doing may be judged from the New Testament Scriptures, particularly from the books written by those who had known Him best. Of all His disciples possibly the closest were John and Peter. Let us hear their witness.

John’s Witness To The Deity Of Christ

John wrote the fourth Gospel that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31).

He introduces us to the Person of the book under the title of ‘The Word’—a title not used by any other of the New Testament writers. This term had been used by Greek philosophers in their search after God—in their desire to make God intelligible to man. John took the term which human reasoning had chanced upon, and fixed it by identifying it with Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, “The Word” is the expression of Deity.

In the first verse of his Gospel we get a three-fold proof of the Deity of Christ, (1) His eternal pre-existence, (2) His intimate association with, and personal distinction in the Godhead, (3) His essential being—God. John was in no doubt about the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter’s Witness To The Deity Of Christ

Peter, the outspoken disciple, expressed with deep conviction the impression the Lord had made on him. At Caesarea Philippi, in reply to the Lord’s query, “Whom say ye that I am?”, he stated categorically, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Speaking of the Lord after His ascension Peter declared Him to be the Prince (R.V., the Author) of life—an attribute belonging to God alone.

In his second Epistle Peter gave to the Lord Jesus Christ the title of “God and Saviour” (1:1, R.V.). He describes for us in the first chapter the impressions received on the Mount of Transfiguration. He never forgot the voice of God, that said of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son.” Peter firmly believed in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Witness To The Deity Of Christ

Paul met the Lord on the Damascus road, and was immediately convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead. To him the resurrection of Christ was a declaration of His Deity (Rom. 1:4). In his Epistles he constantly affirms the Deity of Christ. In Phil. 2:6 we are shown Christ as One Who had the form of God, Whose essential nature was God, Who thought Deity not something to be grasped at as a prize, for He was God. In Col. 1:15 Paul speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as the image of the invisible God. God hitherto unseen is made visible in the person of Christ. In the same Epistle (2:9) we are told that in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. In the incarnate Christ was all that could be known or seen of God. In 1 Tim. 3:16 Paul calls it all a great mystery—but nevertheless a fact—that God was manifest in flesh.

The Holy Spirit’s Witness To The Deity Of Christ

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not named, possibly that we might regard the Holy Spirit as its author.

In chapter one we are told that God’s last message to man was in His Son. Then the Son is described by seven statements that can only be applied to One Who is God. He is (1) Heir of all things, (2) Maker of the ages, (3) Reflector of God’s glory, (4) Replica of God’s essential being, (5) Upholder of all things, (6) Purifier of the sinful creation, (7) Occupant of the seat of majesty on high.

The Old Testament Witness To The Deity Of Christ

After His seven-fold description of the Son of God the Holy Spirit, in Heb. 1:5-13, cities seven Old Testament passages that teach the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1) His manifestation as Son of God (v.5a, Ps. 2:7), (2) His relationship to God (v. 5b, 2 Sam. 7:14), (3) His worship by angels. These only worship God (v. 6, Deut. 32:43, LXX). (4) His servants (v. 7, Ps. 104:4), (5) His reign (vv. 8-9, Ps. 45:6-7). Here He is designated as God in the glory of His millenial reign. (6) His eternity (vv. 10-12, Ps. 102:25-27). (7) His exaltation (v. 13, Ps. 110:1).

The Evil Spirits’ Witness To The Deity Of Christ

The demons whom the Lord cast out of men bore witness to His Deity. They appreciated His authority over them (Matt. 8:29); they knew His identity; they called Him the Son of God (Luke 4:41), the Holy One of God (Mk. 1:24).

Thus the Lord’s claims to be God are fully attested. God the Father opened Heaven and spoke of Him as His Son. God the Holy Spirit witnessed to His Deity after He had risen from the dead, and had ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on High. Those who companied with Him on earth were convinced beyond doubt that He was God. Paul, who saw Him glorified, and knew Him as Lord and Master, was fully persuaded of His Deity, and constantly wrote of it.

With such a cloud of witnesses we are left in no doubt whatever. Christ is God — supreme, eternal, majestic, all-powerful.

Let us praise and adore Him, for He, of Whose Deity we are assured, is none other than our Saviour and our Redeemer. Let us prostrate ourselves before Him, that we might worship Him—for He is worthy.

In Thee most perfectly expressed,
The Father’s glories shine,
Of the full Deity possessed,
Eternally Divine!
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!