Jesus Christ: Who is He? Part 10

 

Jesus Christ:

Who is He?

(Part 10)

Richard Hollerman

Basic Truths about our Blessed Lord

Although we have concentrated our attention on the question of Christ’s deity and relationship to God the Father, it is vital that we at least look at the basic truths about Jesus.  We will not discuss these points, but merely list them.  The serious reader should be acquainted with each of the points and be prepared to defend them against all detractors.  Paul said, “I am appointed for the defense of the gospel” (Philippians 1:16).  Jude wrote that we should “contend earnestly for the faith of the gospel” (v. 3), and Paul said that elders or overseers should know how to “exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).  The following arrangement is chronological:

 

1.    Jesus is eternal (John 1:1; 8:58).

2.    Jesus created all things (John 1:1-3, 10; Hebrews 1:2, 10; Colossians 1:16-17).

3.    Jesus may have appeared, as a theophany, during the Old Testament era (Genesis 18:1-33), though this is not explicitly stated.

4.    Jesus existed in spirit form before He became flesh or man (John 1:1, 14; Romans 1:3; 8:3; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 John 7).

5.    Jesus was conceived of God by the Holy Spirit and born through a virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Galatians 4:4).

6.    Jesus had two natures—both deity and humanity (John 1:1, 14; Romans 1:3-4).

7.    Jesus was sinless His entire life—in thought, word, attitude, and deed (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:14-15; 7:26; 1 John 3: 5, 7).

8.    Jesus died a sacrificial death to redeem us and reconcile us to God the Father (Matthew 20:28; Romans 3:24-26; 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 4:9-10; Isaiah 53).

9.    Jesus was resurrected from the dead by God (Acts 2:24; 17:30; Romans 6:3-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-22).

10. Jesus ascended to God the Father in heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 9:24).

11. Jesus was crowned with glory and honor and sat down on the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 3:22).

12. Jesus presently “lives to make intercession” for His believers (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34) and is “an Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1).

13. Jesus will return to judge those in sin and to save those who know Him and live for Him (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Although we may not know the technicalities of theological statements and theoretical beliefs, we can know these basic facts about the Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

What if we Fail to Embrace the Truth of Christ?

We definitely are living in a pluralistic age, thus many people think that it is a small matter to believe wrongly about Jesus.  They assume that God will “overlook” their false beliefs.  Scripture, however, gives us a different view.  We must remember that God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), thus we must beware of following our own ways and thoughts.  “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).  The following Biblical principles should be kept in mind (taken from Robert M. Bowman’s “A Biblical Guide to Orthodoxy and Heresy,” apologeticsindex.org/d01).

 

1.    “Not everyone who acknowledges Jesus as Lord will be saved.”  Remember that Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21; cf. Luke 6:46).  “Simply acknowledging that Jesus is Lord does not guarantee a person’s salvation. . . . Or someone might call Jesus ‘Lord’ and not mean the same thing as what the Bible means by it” (Ibid.).  Do you call Jesus Lord but fail to have a Scriptural faith and obedience?

 

2.    “Many who claim to acknowledge Jesus actually believe in ‘another Jesus,’ and are either deceived or deceiving.”  Paul speaks of the possibility of preaching “another Jesus.”  “Many who speak of faith in ‘Jesus’ have an understanding of who and what Jesus is that differs so much from reality that in truth they do not have faith in the real Jesus at all” (ibid.).  We must have an informed faith that believes in the “Jesus” described in Scripture if we would be saved.

 

3.    “Those who are zealous in religious matters are not necessarily saved.”  Paul writes of those who have “a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” (Romans 10:2).  The Jews had a zeal and a “sincerity” in their own way, but this zeal was directed to the wrong ends—salvation by their own works and they rejected the true Messiah, Jesus the Son of God.

 

4.    “Those that appear to seek for God but do not come in God’s way are not seeking for God at all.”  Many assume that when we find a devoted “seeker” for God, surely this testifies to His genuineness, sincerity, and relationship with God.  But not necessarily.  “When people . . . appear to be ‘seeking God’—when they study the Bible (2 Peter 3:16), attend meetings, pray, change their lifestyles, attempt to obey the commandments, even speak of their love for God and Christ—yet persist in worshipping a false God, or honoring a false Christ, or following a false gospel (Galatians 1:7-9; 2 Corinthians 11:4), we must conclude that they were not really seeking God.  Rather, they may have been seeking spiritual power, or security, or peace of mind, or warm relationships, or knowledge, or excitement, or anything other than simply God.” (ibid.).

 

5.    “Anyone who truly desires to know the truth about God and His way of salvation above all else can and will be saved.”  “The cost of abandoning heresy is usually great—the loss of friends, the embarrassment of admitting error, the threat of the heretical teachers that all who leave their teaching will be lost.   But salvation is available for anyone who by God’s grace puts truth (and the One who is truth) above these things” (ibid.).This shows how utterly important it is to have an informed, accurate, truthful, Scriptural faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The above points show that this is no small matter; it is deadly serious!  What are the results if one who does not believe in the Biblical Jesus?  What does Scripture say about his end?

First, He will be condemned.  “He who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

Second, He will be judged.  “He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:12).

Third, He will die in his sins. “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

Fourth, He will receive God’s wrath.  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

Fifth, He will be sent to the lake of fire.  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving . . . their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In reality, if one does not believe in the Christ of Scripture, he will experience these results.  Further, he will not receive the many spiritual blessings we noticed before.  It is something that we must share with everyone—whether it be the dedicated cultist who knows his doctrines well and his packaged answers handed down by religious authorities, or whether it be the uninformed professing “Christian” who has had a lackadaisical attitude toward his beliefs, or whether it be non-Christian religionists who have drastically faulty views on our blessed Lord Jesus.  Let’s encourage a true faith in a true Christ and warn of the eternal tragedy of rejecting the Biblical view of the Lord Jesus.

 

Results of knowing the position and nature of our Lord Jesus Christ

This study was not meant to merely inform our mind and make us aware of certain Biblical facts about God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.  We know that Satan and the demons know certain facts about Jesus Christ, yet this knowledge does them no good.  It serves to increase their guilt and condemnation. 

But when we come to personally and spiritually know God through Jesus Christ, there definitely will be numerous blessings and benefits to this knowledge.  We just can’t assume that we will believe in Jesus or know Jesus but be unconcerned about the real identity of the Biblical Christ.  He is a person—a divine person—and we must believe certain truths about Him in order to be saved.  We must also know certain facts about Jesus in order to experience many of the blessings in our life as saved people.  Notice the following (perhaps you can think of others):

 

1.    We will believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9-17).

2.    We will love Jesus (1 Peter 1:8-9).

3.    We will submit to Jesus (Luke 6:46).

4.    We will worship Jesus (Revelation 5:11-14).

5.    We will obey Jesus (John 14:15).

6.    We will pray to Jesus (John 14:13-14).

7.    We will preach about Jesus (Mark 16:15).

8.    We will confess Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33).

9.    We will rejoice in Jesus (Philippians 4:4).

10. We will avoid false doctrines about Jesus (1 John 4:1-4).

11. We will want to know more about Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).

12. We will find our life in Jesus (Philippians 1:21).

13. We will thank Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12).

14. We will suffer for Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3).

15. We will enjoy the presence of Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

The present study about the Lord Jesus Christ should have an effect on our life—one that will change our life and direct it to find fulfillment now and eternally in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Truth of Christ and its Effect on our Life

Now that we’ve examined what God’s Word reveals about the nature, essence, and identity of Jesus Christ, and His relationship with God the Father, and have also noted the absolute necessity of believing that Jesus is who Scripture claims he was, we might well ask, “What does this mean to life?  What practical value is it?  Is this only meant as an intellectual exercise, or is there some definite effect in our life?”  The truth of Christ’s identity does have great effect on our life.  Consider this. 

First, since Jesus is who He claimed to be, we can worship Him and pray to Him.  Each day, we can thank Him for His love and sacrifice and salvation, and each day we can ask for His physical and spiritual blessings.  Our spirit was created to worship, and now we can freely worship God through Christ Jesus.

Second, since Jesus is true, we can rejoice in His daily fellowship.  He is the Friend who stands with us, through difficult days and through successful accomplishments.  He will see us through persecution and suffering for His sake.

Third, since Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior, we can depend on Him to bring us safely to the very end and on to His eternal kingdom of joy and peace.  He gives us hope and expectation that our present problems will result in everlasting bliss.

Fourth, since Jesus is Lord and Ruler, we are protected by His power and we are under His authority.  Whatever He says, we will do; whatever He prohibits, we will abandon; whatever He wills, we shall likewise will.  His word and will shall be our daily quest and our precious treasure.

Fifth, since we know who Jesus is, we have a message that everyone needs to hear and know.  We have the mandate to share the Lord Jesus with all who will hear (Mark 16:15).

Indeed, the identity and nature of Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord and God, has a dramatic bearing on our life now and eternal life.  It is not “a dead, cold, and empty doctrine,” as some have assumed and charged, but the Scriptural teaching of Jesus Christ is living, powerful, enriching, and fulfilling!

A Crucial Balance of Faith

We must have the right emphasis on the identity and relationship of Jesus Christ with God the Father.  It is a delicate balance—but a Scriptural one.  On the one hand, we must avoid being merely intellectual in our view of Christ.  This insistence on being absolutely right about Jesus, but limiting this to the intellectual and factual realm, proved to be one of the issues that consumed and eventually destroyed the second and third century established church.  (Ironically, even with such an emphasis the institutional church began to apostatize during this time!)  On the other hand, we must avoid having a belief that is without content, one that is satisfied with half truths or even half falsehoods.  This has been a plague through the ages.  It must be a faith that consists of a whole-hearted reliance on God’s work in Christ Jesus.

Thus it is essential that we have a balance.  Let us have a true and accurate faith in the Christ of Scripture, a belief that accepts all that God has revealed about His Son, Jesus Christ.  Let us deny and even oppose the many distortions in the religious world about Jesus’ identity. Along with this, let us have a loving trust in Jesus as He is presented in God’s Word, as Savior and Sin-bearer, and let us determine to have a submissive obedience to Him as Lord and King.  This simple faith will be one that transforms our life and issues in deeds of love, mercy, and kindness.  Both of these emphases are crucial characteristics of the faith that saves.

 

How Crucial is Jesus to Your Salvation?

Your eternal life with God utterly depends on your relationship with Him and Jesus Christ.  Although some religionists say that millions will be saved on earth apart from Jesus, He declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).  Christ is the only way of salvation (cf. Acts 4:12).[1]

Why did Jesus come to this earth?  Paul answers, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).  Christ Himself tells us:

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).

But how did Christ’s coming and death relate to our salvation?  He came for the purpose of bearing our sins in death.  “At the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).  “Christ died for us” (v. 8).  “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24).

Christ alone was qualified to bear our sins by dying on the cross where He offered His body and blood as the ransom price to rescue us from sin, death, and hell.  One person could never have died for even one other person (cf. Psalm 49:7-9), but Christ was able to die for the whole world (cf. John 3:16; 4:42; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 1 Timothy 2:4, 6; Hebrews 2:6; 1 John 2:2; 4:14).  How could one person do such an amazing feat?  Because Christ is who He is!  “When he suffered for our sins, he suffered not just in his physical human body but in this divine nature as well.  Such suffering was infinite and thus sufficient for all the sins of the whole world.”[2]  He was able to save and redeem us from sin, reconcile us to God, and give us eternal life because He was both God and man.

How vital is it that you know this Savior from sin?  Jesus prayed to the Father, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).  Do you see what Jesus is saying here?  To receive eternal life, you must “know” both God the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.  Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Luke 11:22).  We can “know” the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father—and we must know them to be saved! 

Paul tells us how important it was for him to know Jesus: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).  Do we consider knowing Christ to be of “surpassing value”?  Are we willing to turn our backs on everything and everyone who would hinder our holy quest?  We escape the defilements of the world when we attain the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:20; cf. 1:8).  Can you now see how crucial it is to know God through Jesus Christ?  We know God through knowing Jesus (John 14:8-10).  Let us know the Lord Jesus as He truly is and value this knowledge above every other passion.

The Message of Jesus Christ to a Lost World

Knowing who Jesus is was not meant to be a truth that would benefit ourselves alone, but it was meant to share with others.  Think of it: If Jesus is who He said He is, it is utterly crucial that others know this truth!  It is a message that the world needs—for without a knowledge of Christ Jesus, the world is lost in sin and will forever be separated from God!  As Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).  The dreadful prospect of dying with unforgiven sin can only be remedied by knowing Christ Jesus!

The message of the early Christians was not philosophy but Christ!  Jesus gave His parting orders: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).  They were to preach the gospel of Christ to everyone.  What was the result of Philip’s preaching in Samaria?  “When they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and woman alike” (Acts 8:12).  Following the orders of Christ, Philip proclaimed Jesus and the Kingdom.  Philip then met the Ethiopian on the road and Luke tells us that “he preached Jesus to him” (v. 35).

The message of Paul the apostle was the same.  He wrote, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  Christ and His crucifixion were central to Paul.  He then continued, “We preach Christ crucified . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (vv. 23-24).  Again, he explained, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (2:2).  In other words, the message of salvation was one that focused on the person and work of Christ Jesus.

Many do not have an appreciation for the need to share Jesus with friends, loved ones, and strangers.  Few regularly even mention Christ to others.  Consider the results of one survey.[3]  The question was asked: “How often in the last month did you participate in witnessing/sharing your faith with strangers?”  This was the result of the poll:

Church

Once or more in past month

Pentecostal

70 percent

Assemblies of God

43 percent

Baptist

40 percent

   All conservative Protestants

44 percent

United Church of Christ

0 percent

Unitarian

3 percent

Lutheran

17 percent

Methodist

28 percent

Presbyterian

17 percent

   All liberal Protestants

19 percent

Roman Catholic

22 percent

Mormon

49 percent

Jewish

3 percent

 

Obviously, not all of these expressions of “witnessing” involved the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  Evidently most of them have reference to a false gospel that cannot save.  But the point is that many people don’t even share a message of any kind, of whatever character.

If the message of this little book is correct and it is vitally essential to believe in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in God’s Word, we must conclude that it is important for each of us to communicate that message to others—for without that message, people are lost in sin and will forever be separated from God and the Lord Jesus (see Romans 10:13-17).  Let us take this to heart and allow it to transform our thinking and our life!  (This very booklet may be a way to share the message of Jesus with others.)

What about You?

Have you come to Jesus and accepted all that Scripture affirms about Him?  Or have you accepted a false gospel, a counterfeit theology, a deficient faith, and an imaginary Jesus that fails to accept all that the Word of God says about Christ’s glorious person and saving work?  Have you believed an aberrant “gospel” that will not save you?  As we noted, Paul speaks of “another Jesus” and “a different spirit” and “a different gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4).  This couldn’t save from sin then and can’t save from sin today.  The apostle also said that if someone teaches “a different gospel” than the one he preached, such a person was to be cursed or rejected by God (Galatians 1:6-9).  Those who would distort or twist the scriptures to their own ends face destruction, according to Peter (2 Peter 3:16).

Have you lived according to what you thought was the truth but you now realize that it was a half-truth, which amounts to theological falsehood?  Beware, for “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Now is the time to turn from all false ideas and faulty beliefs about God and about the Lord Jesus Christ!  And now is the time to come to God through the Lord Jesus in the way that Scripture demands!

Come to Christ as He is presented on the pages of your Bible.  Believe in God through the Lord Jesus, accept Christ’s death as sufficient payment for your sins, and be willing to repent of all your sins, turning from your self-life and turning to God and His will (Acts 3:19; 17:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  Be willing to be baptized into Jesus Christ and into His saving death, and rise to walk in newness of life with your sins forgiven and the Holy Spirit in your heart (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38-39; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-13; Galatians 3:26-27).  Come to Jesus Christ without delay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Note our booklet, Is Jesus the Only Way?

[2] Cottrell, Ibid., p. 245.

[3] Rodney Stark, What Americans Really Believe, p. 25.


 

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