CHRIST TAUGHT THAT in order to gain eternal life, we must recognize the Father as the only true God, and He, Christ, as the One Whom the Father has sent (John 17:1, 3).
Despite this biblical truth, there are those who insist that Christ is God. And they cite verses of the Bible in an attempt to prove their belief. But is their understanding of those Biblical verses correct? Does the Bible really teach that Christ is God?
Is Christ God because He is the Son of God?
Those who preach that Christ is God argue that since Christ is the Son of God, then He must be God.
But, nowhere in the Bible is it explicitly stated or even implied that Christ is God because He is the Son of God. On the contrary, being the Son of God makes Christ distinct from the true God Who, according to Christ, is the Father in heaven:
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. … Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’.” (John 17:1, 3 New International Version)
Jesus Christ, the Son, is not the Father in heaven to Whom He prayed when He was still on earth. Therefore, Christ is not God.
Moreover, since the Father is the only true God, there can be and there is no other God besides Him (Isa. 43:10; 44:8; 45:21). Thus, the Son is not God. Rather, Christ affirmed that He is a man in nature:
“But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. …” (John 8:40 New King James Version)
Is Christ God because He is Lord?
Those who believe that Christ is God cite Zechariah 14:9, which declares that God is the only Lord, and I Corinthians 8:6, which states that there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. They then conclude that Christ is God.
The truth that Christ is Lord does not in any way prove that He is God. This is because the Lordship of Christ is distinct from the Lordship of God.
God’s Lordship is inherent in Him; no one made Him Lord. On the other hand, God made Jesus Christ to be Lord:
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36 NIV)
If Christ Whom God made Lord were also God just as the God Who made Him Lord is God, then there would be two Gods. Such belief in two Gods is against the biblical teaching that there is only one true God—the Father Who created all things, based on the very verse Christ-is-God believers cite:
“Yet for us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (I Cor. 8:6 NKJV)
Is Christ God because He is the Savior?
It is argued that since God is Savior (Isa. 45:22) and that Christ is Savior (John 1:29), Christ, therefore, is God.
Jesus Christ’s role as the Savior is not a basis of His alleged deity because such function is God-given (Acts 13:23). Christ was exalted by God to be the Savior:
“Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31NKJV)
While it is true that God is the Savior of mankind, the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s agent in the work of salvation:
“… to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord …” (Jude 1:25 Good News Bible)
Moreover, Christ Himself was saved by God:
“In his life on earth Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death. …” (Heb. 5:7 GNB)
Hence, 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 our Lord Jesus Christ for what He really says He is.