Is Christ God?

Part 3: A discussion on Romans 9:5

and I John 5:20

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THOSE WHO BELIEVE that our Lord Jesus Christ is God cite verses of the Bible in their attempt to prove their position. Studying them closely, though, would prove that the biblical verses they use are either given wrong interpretation or were wrongly translated.

Is Christ God according to Romans 9:5?
In Romans 9:5 of the King James Version (KJV), Christ-is-God advocates say that Apostle Paul referred to Jesus Christ as God who is over all and who should be blessed or praised forever:

“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

But there is reason to doubt the correctness of such rendition of the verse because Apostle Paul is consistent in teaching that the Father—not Christ—is the one God who is above all and is to be praised forever:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and god of all comfort.” (II Cor. 1:3 New King James Version)

“One God and Father of all—who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6 NKJV)

Apostle Paul could never have called Christ God in Romans 9:5 since that would contradict his other pronouncements in the Bible—something which the learned apostle would never do.

In the rendition of Romans 9:5 in the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the statement “God who is over all be blessed forever” is a doxology or praise to God for His blessings to the Israelites. It does not refer to Christ. Bible scholars themselves prefer this rendition of Romans 9:5 (RSV) over that of the King James Version. The Interpreter’s Bible explains why:

“This half verse has been the center of interminable controversy. The issue appears from a comparison of our two English texts. Is God over all, blessed for ever (or the one who is over all, God blessed for ever) a phrase in apposition with ‘Christ’ and belonging in the same sentence as the rest of vs. 5 (so the KJV and RSV [margin]), or is this phrase grammatically separate, a doxology to God at the end of the recital of the privileges of Israel (so the RSV and the most modern translators)? The question cannot be answered on the basis of the Greek since it is a matter almost entirely of punctuation, and Greek [manuscripts] in the early period were not punctuated. … but the choice is probably to be made between the KJV and the RSV translations. The majority of modern commentators favor the latter because of the unlikelihood of Paul’s having here referred to Christ as ‘God’ …” (p. 540)

Why it is unlikely that Apostle Paul referred to Christ as God in Romans 9:5, the book The God of Jesus clarifies:

“Looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans as a whole, it will be seen Paul always distinguishes between Jesus Christ and God. … Therefore, it appears extremely unlikely Paul changes his manner of expression by suddenly calling Jesus God when in every other instance he associates God with the Father.

“A number of commentators have focused attention on what appears to be doxology at the end of 9:5. … Paul’s statement in 9:5, … (RSV) is seen as a clear doxology in the same vein as others found in the writings of Paul. …

“In view of Paul’s consistent use of doxologies in praise to God the Father, it is very unlikely Paul suddenly uses a doxology in praise to ‘God the Son.’ … Paul consistently writes in terms of the ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus.’”

Indeed, Apostle Paul did not teach that Christ is God but that the “man Christ Jesus” is our “one Mediator” with God:

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Tim. 2:5 NKJV)

Is Christ God according to I John 5:20?
Those who believe that Christ is God argue that Apostle John referred to Christ as the true God and eternal life in I John 5:20:

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” (NKJV)

Note that the verse clearly identified Jesus Christ as the Son of God Who has come to give us understanding that we may know the true God and receive eternal life. If Jesus Christ were the true God, then it would appear that He (Jesus Christ) has a Son also named Jesus Christ! Hence, our Lord Jesus Christ is not the One referred to as the true God about Whom He (Christ) came or was sent to give us understanding in order to receive eternal life.

Christ proclaimed that the Father in heaven is the only true God and not Himself:

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, … And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent’.” (John 17:1, 3 NKJV)

Christ taught that to gain eternal life, we should recognize the Father as the only true God, and He, Christ, as the One Whom the Father has sent.

We should exalt and honor our Lord Jesus Christ for all the great qualities that God has endowed Him with. But while His qualities raise Him over and above other men, they do not prove that He is God.

Let us, therefore, accept Christ for what He says He really is:

“But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. …” (John 8:40 NKJV)

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