I heard a message at my school’s chapel this week that covered the great Philippians 2 creed, the one that says, “Christ, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself NOTHING, taking on the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, in which he was obedient to the Father, unto death, DEATH ON A CROSS, and on account of his obedience, the Father had him raised and exalted him to the highest place, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that JESUS IS LORD!” My paraphrase off the top of my head. An awesome passage. It details what is doctrinally called Christ’s states of humiliation and exaltation. His state of humiliation commenced from the moment he assumed a human nature (his conception) until his death, at which point he entered into his state of exaltation. Want more info…. watch this video! Peace in Christ, Andy.
Muslims say that Jesus never claimed to be God. Some religious pluralists might say this too. Some humanists will likely say this also. And many people will not care.
I believe that we can trust the Gospels to be Historically reliable. With that being said, I believe Jesus actually claimed to be God and that he backed up such claims by living the perfect life that none of us can live, dying the death that none of us can die, and rising from the grave, something that we all will do, however, some to everlasting life, and others to everlasting condemnation (Daniel 12:1-3).
People struggle to admit that Jesus claimed to be God, because they really like his teachings of universal love and compassion towards others. They like his don’t pay back evil with evil mentality, because although we all break his commands, we recognize that they are the highest road of morality, and the path that most be followed for world peace.
People who want to embrace the Jesus of pacifism, but reject the Jesus who is the Messiah, will sometimes say, “Well, he never said the exact words, ‘I am God,’ so what Christians interpret to be claims to be God, must somehow be misunderstood.” So, I’ll change the lyrics of the Animals song slightly to fit this situation, “Oh Lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood.” Make no mistake, Jesus claimed to be God. Here is how he claimed to be God as recorded in his biographies, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:
Divine Titles Proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ:
God (John 1:1, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1)
Lord (Mark 12:35-37, John 20:28, Romans 10:9-13, 1 Cor. 8:5-6, 12:3, Philippians 2:11)
Messiah (Matthew 16:16, Mark 14:61, John 20:31)
Son of God (Matt. 11:27, Mark 15:39, John 1:18, Romans 1:4, Galatians 4:4, Hebrews 1:2)
Son of Man (Matt. 16:28, Matt. 24:30, Mark 8:38, Mark 14:62-64, Acts 7:56, Dan. 7:13-14)
Divine Names, actions, or roles proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ:
Creator (John 1:3, Col. 1:16, Hebrews 1:2,10-12)
Sustainer (1 Cor. 8:6, Col. 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)
Forgiver of sins (Mark 2:5-7, Luke 24:47, Acts 5:31, Col. 3:13)
Object of prayer (John 14:4, Acts 1:24, 1 Cor. 1:2)
Object of worship (Matt. 28:16-17, Phil. 2:10-11, Hebrews 1:6)
Object of saving faith (John 14:1, Acts 10:43, Romans 10:8-13)
Divine Attributes or Qualities proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ
Eternal Existence (John 1:1, John 8:58, John 17:5, Hebrews 13:8)
Self-existence (John 1:3, John 5:26, Col. 1:16)
Omnipresence (Matthew 18:20, Ephesians 1:23, Ephesians 4:10, Col. 3:11)
Omniscience (Mark 2:8, Luke 9:47, John 2:25, John 4:18, Col. 2:3)
Omnipotence (John 2:19, Col. 1:16-17)
Jesus equated himself with the Father
To know Jesus is to know God – John 14:7
To see Jesus is to see God – John 14:9
To encounter Jesus is to encounter God – John 14:11
To welcome Jesus is to welcome God – John 5:23
To hate Jesus is to hate God – John 15:23
To obey Jesus is to obey God – John 14:23
Jesus made direct claims that many Jewish religious leaders considered to blasphemous – John 5:17-18, John 8:58-59, John 10:30-33, and Mark 14:61-64.
So based on these claims…
Who do you say Jesus is?
Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s no way of knowing God”?
How did you reply? Here are some possible replies that I hope you will find helpful
With all the competing views of who God is, it is difficult to know which view of God is true. If you mean that it’s hard to relationally know God, I’d agree with that too. I mean, I know who the President of the United States is, but it’d be next to impossible for me to have relational knowledge with him. I can’t just text him and meet up with for coffee as I could with any of my friends, and he’s just a human being, now imagine an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God, who happens to be everywhere at all times, oh, and he can’t be seen. I agree; it would seem as if there is no way for us to actually know who he is.
“Does this mean you believe there is a God, he’s just not knowable? (if the answer is yes…) Why do you believe there is a God? What makes you believe you can’t know God? Do you think it’s possible that God has somehow revealed himself to us?”
“If there is a God and he created everything, why do you think he made us? Do you think he’d want us to know him? Do you think he would want to reveal himself to us if it was possible for us to know him?”
“If God were to reveal himself to us, how do you think he’d reveal himself to us? The Bible teaches that Jesus was God incarnate, God in human flesh. Who do you think Jesus is? How much do you know about Jesus? Have you ever read the Gospels, the biographies written by eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ’s life, or written by people who wrote based on eyewitness testimony?”
I think you are partially correct. It’s impossible for us to know who God is on our own. God is spirit and in our 4-dimensional existence of length, depth, width, and time, there is nothing we can do with our five senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste to uncover or discover who God is. However, that doesn’t mean God is incapable of revealing himself to us. God is God and he can do anything he pleases, and he has shown himself to us indirectly and directly. God has indirectly revealed himself to us through what he has created. When we look around us and observe the universe, we see design, order, complexity, and beauty all of which point to a creator. When we consider the first cause of the universe, an eternal, all-powerful God who exists outside of time is the best explanation for the genesis, the beginning, of the universe. Nothing comes from nothing, and life does not come from non-life, as the atheistic model of Darwiniansm projects. So simply from what he has created, God has made it plain that he exists. But I would also say that God has directly revealed himself to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, the fullness of God dwelled in human flesh and he proved his divinity through his life, death, and resurrection.
Romans 1:18-20 – “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Colossians 2:9 – “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
- All Religions Teach the Same Thing. (andywrasman.com)
Have you ever heard someone say, “All religions teach the same thing”?
I know I have. Here is a response that I find helpful. It comes in a few different segments. First, it is good to validate the argument, you know, show that you understand where the person is coming from and that you can relate to why he or she might feel this way. Don’t validate the argument, unless you will provide the appropriate rebuttal. Here you can spoon feed the correct answer to the person, or you can ask a bunch of questions that lead the person the fault in professing that all religions have the same doctrines. It’s good to know a few Scripture verses to support what you are saying from God’s Word and it’s always the goal to present the Gospel in any apologetic endeavor.
I think many religions agree on certain points, such as there is life after death, or that there is some sort of higher power or entity in the universe, and most religions have similar moral laws, so I can see where people can come to this conclusion. I think the real reason people come to this conclusion is because they don’t want to exclude anyone from having the best existence possible after this life. We don’t want to say anyone is wrong and we want to avoid drawing lines of division which lead to segregation, elitism, and at times hate and violence.
It might be possible to squeeze the world’s religions into teaching the same thing on secondary, or superficial, levels, but on the primary, or fundamental, doctrines, they contradict each other. For instance, Christians believe that Jesus is God and the Savior of the world, where as Muslims believe that Jesus is just a prophet who should not be worshiped, and Jews, at least conservative Jews, would say that Jesus was a false prophet. These are just the views of three religions concerning one person in history! Clearly, they don’t all teach the same thing and they can’t all be true due to their contradictory teachings.
“How do they all teach the same thing?”
“On what doctrine do they all agree?”
“Do they all teach the same thing concerning the afterlife?”
“Do they all agree on what mankind’s ultimate problem is and how that problem can be overcome?”
“Do they all agree on who, or what, God is? Do they all even believe in an eternal, transcendent God?”
“How do Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism teach the same thing?”
1 Timothy 4:1 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
Acts 4:12 – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Back to the Gospel:
Let’s look at what Christianity teaches concerning the way of salvation. Romans 4:4-5 says, “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” In Christianity, salvation is free for men. God steps into redeem and rescue mankind through the work of Jesus Christ. None of us can save ourselves by our own work, or merit, because we are all sinful people who do evil. In all other religions, people must work to earn a good afterlife. In Hinduism, a person must practice yoga and have good karma. In Buddhism, a person must follow the eight-fold path. In Islam, a person must excel in the five pillars of the Islamic faith. In Judaism, Jews have rejected Jesus their Messiah and have chosen to justify themselves through observance of the Law. All religions do not teach the same thing. In Christianity, salvation is free. In all other religions, salvation, if they call it salvation is not free and must be earned through personal works.
I saw a Go Animate video put together by a student for a class project. It got me thinking, maybe I can make a Go Animate video for the Contradict Movement. I managed to make a Jesus character and a Buddha character. I wanted to share a lot of verses from Jesus’ own mouth, so this was a great way to do it. About 95% of everything the Jesus character says in this video is all “words in red!” That’s what I like so much from this video.
If the verses I have quoted in this video are all true, and I firmly believe they are, they are the best news anyone can hear! There is life after death, death has been swallowed up in victory. Jesus is our all sufficient Savior and he loves us all, so much, that he innocently died in our place, like a an exchange on death row!
The downside, the side that brings me tears, is that if the verses quoted in this video are all true, and I firmly believe they are and that there is historical proof that they are, then all must repent and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. Apart from Christ there is no salvation is what these verses claim, so it’s great that our savior is revealed, but they also reveal the depth of our sinfulness, we must be in Christ to be a new creation, to have eternal life. Many are not. Many actually believe that it doesn’t matter what we believe as long as we do good. But all of us have fallen short of God’s standards and we aren’t good in his sight, no matter how much we serve the poor. The only way to be seen as good in the eyes of the Lord is to have the righteousness of His Son, which only comes from faith in Christ. Don’t fool yourself – yoga leads to death, the eight-fold path leads to death, the five pillars lead to death, observing the Laws of Moses leads to death, and so on and so on. For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, for it is a gift, so that no man may boast.