Jesus is God

     Does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?  Yes, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God.  He is properly identified as one of the three Persons of the Godhead, commonly referred to as the Trinity.  There is God the Father (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:14).  All three Persons of the Trinity are co-equal, co-infinite, co-eternal, and worthy of all praise and service.  The three Persons of the Trinity are one in essence (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 18; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). 

     The Bible presents Jesus as God.  In the OT, the proper name of God is YHWH (sometimes used with vowels as Yahweh) and is translated LORD, using all capital letters.  When the Septuagint was written around 250 B.C. (the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) the translators chose the Greek word kurios as a suitable substitute for the Hebrew name YHWH.  Though the word is sometimes used in the NT to mean sir (John 4:11; Acts 16:30), and master (Col. 3:22), it is also used to refer to the deity of Jesus Christ (compare Isa. 40:3 and John 1:23; or Deut. 6:16 and Matt. 4:7; cf. John 20:28; Rom. 10:11; Phil. 2:11).  The NT writers clearly saw Yahweh-God from the OT as referring to Jesus as God.  Please note the following comparison:

OT Passage about Yahweh/God

NT Passage applied to Jesus

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD [Yahweh or Jehovah] in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God [Elohim]. (Isa. 40:3)

He [John the Baptist] said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord [kurios – referring to Jesus],’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:23)
You shall not put the LORD [Yahweh or Jehovah] your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. (Deut. 6:16) Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord [kurios – referring to Jesus] your God to the test.’” (Matt. 4:7)
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14) Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (Ps. 45:6)

But of the Son [Jesus] he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. (Heb. 1:8)

The NT reveals Jesus as God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh [Jesus in hypostatic union], and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him [Jesus], because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)

“I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:30-33)

Thomas answered and said to Him [Jesus], “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Col. 2:9)

[We are] looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Tit. 2:13)

As God, Jesus accepts the worship of men and angels:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Matt. 4:10)

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matt. 2:2)

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt. 2:11)

And those who were in the boat worshiped Him [Jesus], saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matt. 14:33)

And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them [the disciples]. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. (Matt. 28:9)

When they saw Him, they worshiped Him [Jesus]; but some were doubtful. (Matt. 28:17)

Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him [Jesus]. (John 9:35-38)

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” (Heb. 1:6)

As God, Jesus forgives sins:

I, even I [Jehovah], am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isa. 43:25)

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7)

     Some—such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons—see Jesus only as a man, or as a god lesser than what the Bible teaches.  The end result is that they’re trusting in a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Bible, and are therefore putting their hope in a false Jesus who cannot save them (Gal. 1:6-9).

Steven R. Cook, D.Min.

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The Hypostatic Union

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

     John uses simple words to reveal profound truth…“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14a).  At a point in time, God the Son added to Himself humanity, forever uniting His divine nature with a perfect sinless human nature, becoming the God-man.  In the field of systematic theology, this is called the hypostatic union.  “Though His deity is eternal, the humanity was gained in time.  Therefore, the theanthropic Person—destined to be such forever—began with the incarnation.”[1]  God the Son did not indwell a human, but forever added humanity to Himself.  “When Christ came, a Person came, not just a nature; He took on an additional nature, a human nature—He did not simply dwell in a human person. The result of the union of the two natures is the theanthropic Person (the God-man).”[2]  Reading through the Gospels, there were times that Jesus operated from His divine nature (Mark 2:5-12; John 8:56-58; 10:30-33), and other times from His human nature (Matt. 4:2; Luke 8:22-23; John 19:28).  Concerning both natures, Paul Enns writes:

The two natures of Christ are inseparably united without mixture or loss of separate identity. He remains forever the God-man, fully God and fully man, two distinct natures in one Person forever. Though Christ sometimes operated in the sphere of His humanity and in other cases in the sphere of His deity, in all cases what He did and what He was could be attributed to His one Person. Even though it is evident that there were two natures in Christ, He is never considered a dual personality. In summarizing the hypostatic union, three facts are noted: (1) Christ has two distinct natures: humanity and deity; (2) there is no mixture or intermingling of the two natures; (3) although He has two natures, Christ is one Person.[3]

      Jesus is the God-Man.  He is eternal God (Isa. 9:6; John 8:56-58), yet He was born of a woman in time and space (Gal. 4:4).  He is omniscient (Ps. 139:1-6), but as a boy, He grew in knowledge (Luke 2:52).  He created the universe (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3; Col. 1:15-16), but as man, He is subject to its weaknesses (Matt. 4:2; John 19:28).  Concerning the complexity of the union, Lewis S. Chafer states:

The reality in which undiminished Deity and unfallen humanity united in one Theanthropic Person has no parallel in the universe. It need not be a matter of surprise if from the contemplation of such a Being problems arise which human competency cannot solve; nor should it be a matter of wonder that, since the Bible presents no systematized Christology but rather offers a simple narrative with its attending issues, that the momentous challenge to human thought and investigation which the Christ is, has been the major issue in theological controversy from the beginning to the present time.[4]

       We struggle to comprehend the union of God and Man; however, it is with certainty that the Bible portrays Him this way (John 1:1, 14; 20:28; cf. Luke 1:31-33; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15), and this truth is essential to Christianity.  As God, Jesus is worthy of all worship and praise (Luke 24:51-52; John 9:38; 20:28; Heb. 1:6).  As a perfect sinless Man, He went to the cross and died a substitutionary death in my place (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18), and bore the wrath of God that rightfully belonged to me (Isa. 53:1-12), so that I might have the gifts of righteousness and eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9).  What a blessing my Savior is to me. 

Dr. Steven R. Cook

[1] Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1993), 383.

[2] Paul P. Enns, Moody Handbook of Theology, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1989), 227.

[3] Paul P. Enns, Moody Handbook of Theology, 225.

[4] Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, 387.