Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Deity of Christ

I was recently asked how we know Jesus is divine. The question of the deity of Christ is the heart of the Christian faith. The Word of God presents Jesus as God. There can be no doubt about it. Here are the five main evidences why I believe Jesus is God.

Jesus claimed to be equal to God the Father. The Jews of his day certainly understood that. John 5:17-18 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 10:30-33 “I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Jesus’ name is the same as God. God gave us his name in the Old Testament: Exodus 3:13-14 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”  God identified Himself as the great I AM. Jesus identified Himself as the great I AM. John 8:58-59 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” Again His fellow countrymen knew He was using the name of God for Himself. He is claiming to be the great I AM. He was also claiming preexistence. He preexisted with God for He was God (John 1:1).

Jesus is worshiped as God. Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Jesus was worshipped as God by angels: Hebrews 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” We see the worship of the doubter, Thomas, given to Jesus. John 20:27-28 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus accepted such worship.

Jesus shares the Glory of God. God has made clear He will not share His glory: Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another....” Yet Jesus had that glory and would regain that glory after His resurrection and ascension. John 17: And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Paul tells us that God the Son temporarily “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) to become a man, but the Father highly exalted Him because of His death, burial, and resurrection.  That past glory was restored in His ascension back to be at the right hand of God the Father. To have the same glory as God the Father means He is God.

Jesus is given the titles of God. This is clear in the book of Revelation. Revelation 1:8, 17-18 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” ...  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Notice the divine titles of Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, First and the Last, Living One. All are given to Jesus the one who died, resurrected, and lives forever. He is alive. This book is the revelation of Jesus the Divine Son!

Phil. 2:9 “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” What is true of God is true of Christ, for He is God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A study of Colossians 1:9b-11

Paul makes his request and desire known in prayer. Interestingly, the word ask (aiteo) (1:9) is in the middle voice, denotes one asking for that to which one is entitled.  Lenski observes, “The entitling referred to here is the fact that God commands us to ask; the middle voice implies that only on this supposition do we ask[1] (Eph. 3:10, James 1:5-6, 4:21 John 5:14). Notice two elements regarding Paul and prayer.  First, it was persistent (“have not ceased”]. Second, it was intercessory (“for you”). It was a precise request which was brief, explicit, and direct to the needs of the believers. He precisely prays for them to:

1. To Understand the Will of God (1:9b)

That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (1:9). His desire is that they might be “filled(plerothete), meaning to fill up to completion. It is an aorist passive subjunctive, meaning the believer cannot fill himself. It is referred to as a “divine passive” indicating God is the agent of the filling.[2] There are two things a believer is to be filled with. First, this filling is to be with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The fullness theme is one of the favorites of Paul. The word is used eight times in Colossians, and four times in Philippians. Second, in this case, Paul wanted the believers to be filled with “the knowledge of his will.” The word “knowledge” appears twice in this prayer (1:9, 10). The Greek word is epignosis, meaning to know completely, a clear and precise knowledge, to fully perceive. It is knowledge directed towards an object, in this case God’s will, which comes from God’s Word. God’s will is knowable, and it can be understood. God has expressed His will, which originated in His mind, and recorded in His Word. God is an active God who orders the universe and shapes events according to His will. God has revealed His will in His word. It is necessary to know His will, but it is accomplished by reading the word of God.

This knowledge of God’s will is “in” the sphere of “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” The word for “wisdom” is sophia; it involves the whole range of excellence in the mental process, the intellect. Campbell notes that Paul uses this word with reference to a distinct body of truth for the Church, the Body of Christ.[3]  It is the truth for the church that was taught to them by the Word of God revealed to Paul for this dispensation (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:6-10; Eph. 3:2-10). It was his prayer for believers to know the truth of the mystery that was revealed to and through him (cf. Eph. 1:17, Phil. 1:9). It is insight that is Spirit-given revealed through the Word of God.

Understanding” is the Greek word sunesis; it is the critical, apprehending and discriminating faculty of the intellect. The will of God is revealed in the Word of God and manifested under the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We have the means to comprehend and understand God’s will.  The Gnostic made a pretension of wisdom and of understanding and claimed a special relationship to wisdom as almost a private possession.[4] It was only a show of wisdom (Col. 2:23).  It did not edify; rather it puffed up one with pride. It was simple wisdom of the flesh and the world (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18-2:8).

2.  To Undertake the Will of God (1:10-11)

Once the will is known, it is to be undertaken. Knowledge must be translated to practice. Knowing the will of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding enables one to undertake the will of God.  Straight thinking leads to straight living. We are to know God’s will “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (1:10). The word walk is the Greek word “peripateo” meaning to walk about in the ordinary, the ordinary conduct of one’s self. It signifies the “whole round of the activities of the individual life.”[5]  It is an infinitive of purpose.[6] Lightfoot reminds us that, “The end of all knowledge, the Apostle would say, is conduct.[7] Paul often uses the word walk for conduct. We must walk:

·         In Newness of Life – Rom. 6:4

·         According to the Spirit - Rom. 8:4, Gal. 5:16

·         In Holiness – Rom. 13:13

·         By Manifestation of the truth – 2 Cor 4:2

·         By Faith – 2 Cor. 5:7

·         In Good works – Eph. 2:10

·         In love – Eph. 5:2

·         As Children of Light – Eph. 5:8

·         Circumspectly – Eph. 5:15

The aim or object is to change conduct or lifestyle of believers to bring it in line with the will of God. In other words, to fulfilled His will for us. The will of God pertains to all of life, starting at salvation and ending when  this earthly body is set aside.

[1]  R.C.H. Lenski, COLOSSIANS, 33.
[2]  Douglas Moo, COLOSSIANS, 93.
[3]  Earnest Campbell, COLOSSIANS, 30.
[4]  A.T. Robertson, PAUL AND THE INTELLECTUALS, 34.
[6]  Peter O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS 22.
[7]  J.B. Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 137.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


A Look at Colossians 1:9

The Colossians were abounding in faith and love, this led Paul to report his prayers on their behalf. The phrase, “for this reason,” links verses 9-14 with what preceded in verses 3-6.  It links Paul’s thanksgiving with the intercession and shows the reason or cause for Paul’s prayers. Prayer stems from a thankful heart, for a thankful heart is a praying heart.

Moo notes a number of parallels between the thanksgiving section and the prayer:[1]

“Since the day you heard”      v6                “since the day we heard”                v9

“thanks”                                 v3                “giving…thanks”                            v12

“always”                                  v3                “have not ceased”                          v9

“praying…for you”                   v3               “pray for you”                                  v9

“understood”                           v6                 “knowledge”                             v9, 10

“bearing fruit and increasing” v6              “bearing fruit…increasing”           v10

There is no question that Paul is echoing his thankfulness in his prayers. Thankfulness is the wind upon which prayer glides.

[1]  Moo, COLOSSIANS, 92.