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Question #1:  Can you explain to me IF Jesus is God why is it such a mystery? If it is so important then why isn't it more clear...(salvation is very clear) and if he is, why does the Bible say that no one knows the hour or day including Jesus. and it even says that Jesus does not know all that God will do. And can you explain to me I cor.15: 24-28 especially vs 28 (then shall the son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. My reasons for these questions: I have been a Christian my whole life. I was always taught that Jesus IS God! And that IF He is not then we are not putting all the power and credit etc on Him.... but I recently came across a person who believes that Christ has ALL He needs in him but that person does not believe that Jesus IS God. That person also told me that if Jesus is God then he could never have sinned... but he says that Christ chose NOT to sin. Can you help with this?

Thank you and God Bless you and your ministry!


Response #1:
 

Thank you for your question. Please bear with me in this rather long and indirect approach to your it: I do get to the specifics at the end.

There are indeed many subjects and topics in the realm of divine truth which at one time or another we would all wish were "more clear". As I often have occasion to remark, the Bible is not written as a text-book or an encyclopedia, and for a number of very good reasons. One incredibly important reason for what may seem to be a certain lack of specificity in many areas has everything to do with faith and free will. Just as Jesus taught in parables so that "they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding" (Mk.4:12 NIV), not so that His hearers might not be saved but so that they their free will opportunity to deny the truth might be preserved, so in many ways the Bible has a veil pulled over the truth which is only "removed in Christ" (2Cor.3:13-16). In other words, unbelievers have to be free to disbelieve; and believers have to be free to walk in ignorance of the truth (cf. Is.45:15). Only in this way is true faith in Jesus Christ and the genuine desire to draw close to Him through the truth after salvation truly revealed. But for all who turn to Him, He is found (Is.65:1); and to all who seek the truth from Him, He answers (Matt.7:7; Lk.11:9). God never allows the genuine desire for truth to go unsatisfied. It may take time, it may take effort, it may take patience, and it may take perseverance, but all who want to be filled with the truth will be (cf. Ps.81:10). That is how He separates the wheat from the chaff (Ps.1:1-4), and the lukewarm from the red hot (Rev.3:14-18).

Secondly, it is also very often the case that the manner in which scripture presents the truth – as a beautifully embroidered tapestry rather than as an owner's manual – means that we may delight in it without trouble until we have a particular question that makes us nervous or unsettles us for whatever reason. When this sort of pressure occurs, and because of the evil one and his tactics it occurs over and over again in every life, the way in which the Bible expresses truth tends to reveal our doubts and any or all "kinks" of reluctance we may have that cause us to resist accepting its truth. And it is often true when this happens that, even though objectively a matter can be made clear, yet emotionally we may still find ourselves unsettled. In such cases, the procedure is always the same: 1) diligently seek what the scripture has to say; 2) seek the Lord in prayer on the issue; 3) seek reliable Bible teaching on the issue; 4) when the issue has been resolve, yield up unreserved faith in the power of the Spirit to the glory of God; 5) recognize that the only defense against constantly going through this procedure over and over again (instead of only once in a great while) is a commitment to and a pattern of consistent spiritual growth which builds up knowledge and faith, leaving the devil and his minions scant space to attack: when the wall is strong and high and well-defended around the entire perimeter, the enemy has a tendency to go in search of easier targets.

Therefore subordinate yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (cf. 1Pet.4:8-9)

So what may be "unclear" or "not as clear as one would like" from one point of view, may in fact (and is always in fact) "more than clear enough" from God's point of view for the edification of His saints, for their spiritual safety, and for informing them of all the information they genuinely need on this earth. Now it is true that there are many subjects and topics in scripture which Christians cannot be expected to solve and figure out all on their own. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, confusion and misunderstanding has resulted from insufficiently deep or orthodox teaching. It is a hallmark of the current Laodicean era of the Church for both teaching and the desire for it to be sadly lukewarm and lacking. In such an environment, it is often the case that neither the teachers nor the taught really care very much what the scriptures have to say. But for the genuine believers, times of pressure and crisis always come, and when pressure is put on faith that is insufficiently edified, problems always result along the lines of what you report in the case of your friend. Believing false doctrine and/or refusing to believe the truth puts the spiritual life into regression and, left unchecked, can result in apostasy. That is especially important to emphasize in our day, because in short order when the end times commence, fully one third of the Church is prophesied to fall away from Christ, and that is only possible if the truth has first been rejected (please see the link: "The Great Apostasy").

As to your specific set of questions, viewed from the perspective above, my response would be that the Bible is as clear as it can be about the divinity of Jesus Christ without 1) removing the possibility of those who wish to disbelieve to do so, and 2) without making statements which are theologically contradictory. After all, Jesus is God; but since the incarnation He is also Man. Therefore anything said about Jesus in His capacity as a true, genuine human being is likely to strike some people as indicating that He is not "truly divine" (which of course He is). Likewise, since He is now a true, genuine human being, anything said about His divinity is likely to strike some people as calling into question His humanity (which is every bit as genuine as yours or mine), and both of these propositions have provided fuel for many historical heresies.

Blessedly, however, everything the Bible says about Jesus is true, and the Bible says more than enough about Him to establish beyond any doubt for all who are willing to believe the testimony of scripture that He is God and He is man, the unique person of the universe. I believe that this is true enough from a secular point of view. That is to say, I think there is no question that an honest, unbelieving scholar who carefully examined the New Testament in toto without any preconceptions or "ax to grind" would come to the conclusion that the writers of the gospels and epistles understood Jesus as divine (even if this hypothetical scholar should personally think the idea rubbish). But for us, believers who have the ministry of the Spirit, the issue is crystal clear even if the texts do not seem to be so at our first perusal; for the Spirit makes it clear and gives us a faith that surpasses any doubts based upon someone else's clever (and satanic) parsing of scriptures.

To put it another way, I would certainly hope that a believer pursuing spiritual growth with the aid of a good teaching ministry if confronted by an "expert scholar" who told them in no uncertain terms that "the Bible doesn't say Jesus is divine and that this is merely a later ecclesiastical 'development'" would have the confidence of faith to reject that statement out of hand, even if he/she didn't have the linguistic, historical and theological training to offer a scholastic defense. I would hope that such a person would be able to say in full confidence, just as you have "Jesus is God! I know that by faith. And, furthermore, I am confident that this is what the Bible teaches, even if at this moment I am unable to demonstrate that to you." We all have our unique "jobs" in the Body of Christ that accord with our individual spiritual gifts, and apologetics of this sort is something which while we are all supposed to be "ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us" (1Pet.3:15), doesn't necessarily mean that we are going to be able to engage prepared persons advocating for un-scriptural positions without some prior consideration, scripture searching, prayer, and consultation with our teachers.

Getting this sort of help is precisely what you are doing, and I commend you for it. For our personal apologetics are to be directed towards those who see our witness and are intrigued and thus who want to know about Jesus. Fencing with those who are only out to undermine our faith is a different sort of matter. In such cases, defending our own wall is the main concern. There are also times, and from you have reported, this may be one of them, where we are trying to help those fellow believers we come across who have fallen into some bad behavior or bad doctrine to extricate themselves (cf. Jas.5:20). In such instances, it is always important to avoid being adversarial (2Tim.2:25-26), and if the other person insists, then to realize that it is more a case of looking to our own defense (it is always dangerous to throw pearls before swine: Matt.7:6; cf. also Jude 1:23).

These may be preliminary matters, but I think they are crucial to answering what is really at the heart of your question. As to some specifics, Jesus' "not knowing" is clearly a statement from His humanity during the first advent (you can be sure He in His divinity has always known). During the first advent, Jesus became a true human being; He "limited Himself" deliberately in order to carry out the Father's plan for salvation (Phil.2:6-8); this is known theologically as kenosis. Jesus refrained from helping His humanity with His divinity in a variety of ways, the most astounding and significant of which was in the case of His suffering and dying for our sins on the cross. But this instance you mention of not accessing His divine omniscience is one of many much more mundane ones (e.g., He walked from place to place and did all the other things that human beings have to do).

The subordination of the Son to the Father I take in precisely the same way; in His divinity, Jesus is coequal and co-eternal; in His humanity, He lived a live of subordination, voluntarily becoming a man and living under the Father's authority. As a result, He is the unique Person of the universe and has won the "Name which is above every name" (Eph.1:22; Phil.2:9), and has also won us, His Bride, the Church (Eph.5:25-27). In His glorified humanity He shares the throne with the Father and will for all eternity; these verses about handing over the kingdom, 1Cor.15:24-28, do not diminish the divinity of Christ. Rather, they look forward to the end of history when the Father will return to earth as well and the eternal state will begin (Rev.21-22).

Jesus is the Mediator between God and Man as the God-Man. He is the link. Through Him, we are wedded to the divine forever as part of the Savior's Body, for He is God as well as Man in One Person forever. That is why Peter says, we are "partakers of the divine nature" (2Pet.1:4), because we are one with Christ and He is one with the Father. Christ did choose not to sin, in His humanity. Given who He is, He also was never going to sin, but was certainly going to complete His mission and go to the cross and die for us. For no matter how difficult it may seem to us to be to live a perfect life and never sin (it is mind-boggling and Jesus is the only one who ever accomplished it), what He did in the darkness on the cross in suffering the penalty for every sin ever committed by others outstrips this by an unimaginable magnitude.

All of these questions and issues are addressed in the soon forthcoming Bible Basics 4A: Christology. In the meantime, please also see the following links:

Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?

The Divinity of Jesus.

Kenosis: How did Jesus know He was divine?

"The Persons of God: The Trinity", in BB 1: Theology

I hope you will find the above helpful. I would be happy to address any of these issues further with you. Meanwhile, keep up the good work in sticking up for the truth of the Bible! And thank you for your good words.

In Him who is our Savior, the God-Man Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill


Question #2: 

A JW has asked me to show them where Jesus is referred to as hO Theos in the NT. I mentioned Hebrews 1:8 where it quotes from the OT, but the JW said that it couldn't be considered because it could be translated a couple of different ways. I know that it quotes Psalm 45:6 and I'm wondering if the Hebrew can be translated also in several ways.

Thank you for your time. I really appreciate any help you can give me.


Response #2:
 

I have taken the liberty of attaching to this e-mail a file in Adobe.PDF format which should be easily readable by your Adobe Reader (let me know if you have any trouble opening this and I can send it along in another format). This file is the beginning of the yet unpublished "Bible Basics 4A: Christology" and contains the fairly extensive section which demonstrates that Jesus Christ is truly divine (the main point at issue in your discussion). You may also want to have a look at the following links:

Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?

The meaning of Jesus' words "I AM".

The Divinity and Humanity of Christ.

Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ.

Some Greek Questions in the Gospels.

The Persons of God: The Trinity (in BB 1)

As to your specific question, you are absolutely correct that Hebrews 1:8 does refer to Jesus as ho theos, "the God". It is generally rendered in English versions "O God" since the Greek text here is a translation (as you rightly note) from the Hebrew of Psalm 45:6 (45:7 in the Hebrew MT). For in Hebrew, which has no vocative case, the indication of address is the definite article (i.e., "The God" = "O God" in Hebrew). The article, of course, is not present in the Hebrew of Psalm 45 (which has just 'elohiym, "God"), a fact that makes the inclusion of the article here in Hebrews 1:8 even more significant. It shows that the writer of Hebrews (Paul, in my opinion), wanted to leave not doubt about the definiteness of the Messiah's (and so of Jesus') divinity.

It is true that, then, that this verse "could be translated a couple of different ways", but I fail to understand why that means the verse "doesn't count". There is virtually no substantial sentence in any language that could not legitimately be translated at least "a couple of different ways" when being brought over to any other different language. By this canon, no passage in the New Testament could count for anything whatsoever!

Even more to the point, really as far as this phrase goes, there are only two good ways to render it: "the God" or "O God". Now since one would never and could never address anyone or anything indefinite as "O", the latter is just as definite as the former whether considered from the English, or Greek or Hebrew perspectives. To put it another way, anything addressed in a vocative is, by definition, "definite". According to this passage, then, Jesus is either "the God", or "O God [the definite One we are addressing in our hymn of praise]". In either case, the fact of His divinity according to this verse is indisputable (at least by anyone conducting an honest debate on the basis of reasonable canons of logic).

Moreover, there are any number of passages in which the divinity of Christ is proclaimed where the grammatical definiteness of that divinity is clear even without the definite article (in ways analogous to the vocative example above: please see the attached file and/or the links above). But if you want another one specifically with "the", try 1st John 5:20 (be advised ahead of time, however, that this person no doubt has "an answer" for that passage too, one which involves mistranslation or tenuous interpretation or both):

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us a mind-set for coming to know the truth. And we are in [the One who is] the Truth, even in [God's] Son Jesus Christ. This One (i.e., Jesus Christ) is the true God and eternal life (cf. Jn.14:6 where Jesus is "the life").
1st John 5:20

Yours in the Name of God our Savior, our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill


Question #3:
 

Good afternoon Bob. I don't mean to be a bother, but I was hoping you might be able to look at the response this got from JW friend and respond:

Professor Luginbill also stated regarding this: "Hebrew has no vocative case, the indication of address IS the definite article (i.e., "The God" = "O God"). The article is not present in the Hebrew of Psalm 45, a fact that makes the inclusion of the article here in Hebrews 1:8 even more significant. It shows that the writer of Hebrews wanted to leave no doubt about the definiteness of the Messiah's divinity.

While Luginbill is correct that there is no vocative case in Hebrew, he is incorrect as to the use of the definite article in Greek. When a nominative is used in the vocative, the article is grammatically necessary, and so may lack significance.

Even more to the point, as far as this phrase goes, there are only two good ways to render it: "the God" or "O God". Now since one would never and could never address anyone or anything INDEFINITE as "O", the latter is just as definite as the former whether considered from English, Greek or Hebrew perspectives. To put it another way, anything addressed in the vocative is, by definition, "definite". According to this passage then, Jesus is either "the God", or "O God" [the definite One we are addressing in our hymn of praise]. In either case, the fact of His divinity according to this verse is indisputable (at least by anyone conducting an honest debate on the basis of reasonable canons of logic)."

Let's look at this argument from a grammatical and historical point. The first point that should be considered is that (as was stated), God (Elohim) in Psalm 45:6 (in Hebrew) has no article. This means that the Jews didn't equate the one addressed here as ha Elohim (God), but Elohim (god). And as Professor Luginbill states, had the Jews considered Psalm 45:6 a vocative addressed to someone identified as God, the article (ha) would have been used here. Secondly, the Jews who translated this verse into Greek in the LXX, although knowing that the scripture was addressed to a human king, still included the article in their translation. Why? This is because when expressing a vocative using a noun in the nominative (QEOS), the definite article (hO) is grammatically necessary. Hence, even though the translators did so in the case of this human king, they understood that this would not necessarily equate him with YHWH.

But let's for a moment say that this verse does identify Jesus as hO QEOS (as Trinitarians point out). There would still be problems with this interpretation because the hO QEOS of Hebrews 1:8 would have a hO QEOS above him. This would not only express that there are two 'Gods', but that one 'God' is above the other. There would also be an issue as to how Jesus could have been hO QEOS in the flesh and lower than the angels at the same time. Thus, the point that there are only two good ways to translate this verse is incorrect both theologically and grammatically, especially when we notice that John avoids calling the Logos 'hO QEOS' at John 1:1.


Response #3:
 

It's no bother at all. I'll happy to reply seriatim.

Paragraph 1) Here some examples of passages in the NT where the nominate is used as vocative without the definite article: Matt.17:17 (apistos); Acts 13:10 (pleres); Lk.12:20 (aphron); Matt.9:27 (huios); Acts 7:42 (oikos). While I don't believe any this is truly germane to the question at hand, and it is of course typical of people who are not interested in the truth to focus on what they feel to be a weak argument in a panoply of proofs and ignore all the rest (rhetorically effective but fallacious in the extreme). Nevertheless the statement made here by your correspondent is incorrect as the examples provided demonstrate.

Paragraph 2) I find it hard to believe that this individual honestly believes that the Psalmists are in the habit of praising other "gods". It hardly seems necessary to recall that the ten commandments and the shema really do prohibit idolatry. However, if this vocative does not refer to the God, then that is really the only other possibility. For the idea that a "king" (or any other normal human being) is being addressed here is equally impossible. There is simply no precedent for the word for God, 'elohiym, being used to refer to any other single human being. Although there are occasions where in the regular use of the plural it may refer to "gods" et al., as an intensive plural and applied to a single person (which it would have to be here to refer to a king), it always refers to "God".

As to the lack of the definite article or anarthrous use in the Hebrew of Psalm 45:7 here, even in English, poetic diction is different from prosaic diction. And a very common feature of Hebrew poetry (which of course the Psalms all are) is the omission of the definite article in places where in prose it would normally be present. Trying to read something significant into the lack thereof in Hebrew poetry only demonstrates a lack of understanding of this common peculiarity of Hebrew poetic usage.

On what follows in paragraph two, my earlier explanation is essentially ignored, but I stand by my analysis. What the translators of the Septuagint did or did not do is largely moot (and the logic used here is circular, especially once the "necessity of the def. art." theory is removed). The point is what Paul did in Hebrews and why. One does not have to be a theologian or even a believer to see from a simple reading of the book of Hebrews that the author is trying to support the position and authority of Jesus as the Messiah. So this individual has it exactly reversed. The definite article's omission in Hebrew is not surprising. It's presence in Greek is also not unusual, but not necessary. The text of Hebrews 1:8 would mean pretty much the same thing without it (i.e., that Jesus is the Messiah, God incarnate). But, given the liberties all the New Testament authors take with the Septuagint, if the author of Hebrews had wanted to show that Jesus were just "a god" rather than "God", he certainly could have left the article out (or used the vocative case without the article). Without a doubt, if the author of Hebrews had this individual's agenda, he would most certainly have left out the article. If or no other reason, then, the inclusion of the article here is significant, and clearly points to Jesus' divinity, precisely the opposite of what this individual falsely claims.

Paragraph 3) If this person is really interested in learning about the Trinity, the following link will be helpful: The Persons of God: The Trinity. Most believers who have advanced past spiritual infancy understand that God is three in Person, one in Essence. Therefore there is one God who exists in three Persons. Hebrews 1:8 clearly introduces the quote by saying "to the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God . . . '". This may constitute a problem for this individual's religious views, but it fits perfectly with what Christians understand about the Trinity. Jesus is unique in that He is, after the incarnation, both God and a true human being. He is coequal, co-eternal, and consubstantial with the Father in His deity. In His humanity, He has indeed chosen to play a subordinate role, "taking on the form of a servant" (Phil.2:5-11). This was essential, moreover, if He were going to go to the cross and die in our place (cf. Heb.2:8-10). This is blessed beyond description – but very basic Christian theology. I suspect what is really happening here is what often happens when a person is getting the worst of an argument. It is an old debaters trick to try to "shift" the ground of the discussion where one is at a disadvantage to some other related topic, if only to buy time or obfuscate. Again, effective rhetoric but not honest argumentation. Case in point is the final salvo of John 1:1. This is a favorite hobby horse of this group, but it really isn't applicable to this discussion – except to the extent that almost any scripture would be applicable – and I thought we were talking about Hebrews. Whatever one might think of the Pauline authorship theory, Hebrews was most assuredly not written by John, so that whatever John might be doing in a completely different context is largely irrelevant to this discussion of the vocative phrase here. But if either you or your correspondent is interested in that passage, I have written on it elsewhere:

John 1:1-2:  What does "the Word was with God mean"?

Some Greek questions in the Gospels.

I hope this is of some help. It seems pretty clear to me that there is not much hope of any change of heart on the other side here, but I do commend your efforts in standing up for our Lord and His Word. Feel free to write me back any time.

In Him who though eternal God became flesh to die for us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.


Question #4:
 

Hi again Doc!

I believe in the Trinity, but a Christian brother has a weird view on the Deity of Christ. I don't know how to reconcile what he wrote with the doctrine of the Trinity. He wrote: 

"It pleased the Father that in Jesus all HIS fullness should dwell. That clearly shows the Father defined Jesus's being." Col.1:19

If Jesus was a God who always was and not God's Firstborn how then did He become the Son? Again Jesus calls the Father His God. Jesus stated the Father was greater than Him"

Yes, there is only one God. He seems to call Himself Father. Jesus indicates the one He prays to as Father is His God. I guess according to you Jesus could pray, "oh myself" and then think why do I keep speaking to myself? Why do I need to ask? Why do I need the Father? How did I get to be the Son? We are only One. Why didn't I say Father into your hands "I commit our Spirit when I was on the cross" Why did the Father have to allow His fullness to dwell in Me am I not already God? Why do I have to obey myself to remain in my own love?

This is really confusing me. I would greatly appreciate your help because this topic is very close to me. Thanks in advance!


Response #4:

You are right to be concerned, although I don't really see anything in this person's comments of any particular substance. The deity of Jesus Christ is a very important and I would say essential part of the gospel. Of course the concept of someone who is both God and man in a single person is difficult to understand, something Jesus Himself broached on our behalf when He asked the Pharisees how David could refer to the Messiah – who is clearly his son and a human being – as "Lord", therefore being also clearly God (cf. Lk.2:11). The answer with which every Christian should be completely and fully familiar is that Jesus who is God became, in addition to God, a true human being at the point of His virgin birth. As John explains, the Word which had been face to face with the Father before time began "became flesh" – Jesus, true deity, took on true humanity and become in addition to God also man (Jn.1:1-5).

This is an indescribably wonderful and sublime thing! But it is also a critical point of Christian doctrine, the ignorance of which has always often led to heresy and unbelief (most of the attacks on the church visible in the early post-apostolic centuries came in the form of just such "questions" about the nature of the God-man, Jesus Christ, whether doubting His divinity or His humanity). For the gospel is centered around the Person and the work of Christ. Without becoming a man, Jesus could not die for our sins in our place. But without being God, Jesus could not be "sent" in the first place to come into the world from outside of it in order to save it. The God-man dying for the sins of the world is the essence of the gospel, and it is difficult for me to see how someone could fail to accept this essential core of truth and still truly be a Christian (a Gnostic, maybe, or one of any of the many variety of false sects which masquerade as "Christian", but not a true Christian). Paul's words in Philippians say it all:

You too should have this attitude which Christ Jesus had. Since He already existed in the very form of God, equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for. Yet in spite of this [co-equal divinity He already possessed], He deprived Himself of His status and took on the form of a slave, [and was] born in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even [His] death on [the] cross [for us all].
Philippians 2:5-8

Thus all the instances of Jesus not "acting like God" were necessary restrictions taken on by Him voluntarily in order to accomplish the Father's plan, chief among which is the humiliation of the cross. But it doesn't take much imagination when reading the gospels to understand that only God could have accomplished what Jesus accomplished in His three year ministry (e.g., just look at His testing in the desert), and, as a matter of fact, we do pray not only in the Name of Jesus but to Jesus Himself (Jn.14:14; He is also the object of our worship; see the link: "The Worship of Jesus: a proof of His divinity?"). The fact that part of Jesus' testing and self-imposed yet necessary humiliation included not using His own divinity to aid His humanity in all of His exceptional trials should not be taken as any lack of deity but really just the opposite: only someone who was both God and man could ever have done all that Jesus did; only someone who was both God and man could ever have spoken about Himself as Jesus did.

"Before Abraham came into existence, I AM."
John 8:58

"I and the Father are One."
John 10:30

"He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in He who sent Me.
John 12:44

"I am the way: the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

Everything in the heavens and on the earth was created by Him (Jesus Christ), things invisible as well as those visible – whether thrones, authorities, rulers or powers, everything was created through Him and for Him. And He Himself is before everything, and everything subsists in Him.
Colossians 1:16-17

This is such an important issue that I hesitate to give it short-shrift here. Please do see the following links (and don't hesitate to write me back about anything here or there):

Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?

The Persons of God: The Trinity (in BB 1)

In Jesus Christ, our Lord God and Savior,

Bob L.


Question #5:
 

I was trying to explain to a friend how Jesus is God and used these passages to explain after some studying:

The Holy Spirit is also the Eternal spirit of the Son (Rom.8:9).

Romans 8:9 - But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

There is One eternal being in three "persons" according to our finite understanding. Btw, Jesus said that He will raise "Himself" from the dead...

John 2:19 - Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple (His body), and in three days I will raise it up. I agree with you that there is One God.

And he replied with and odd response which I am unable to reconcile with what I have been taught:

"All that the Father has belongs to the Son and the Holy Spirit who represents Christ Jesus in us is still part of the One who gave that gift to the Son. As Jesus prayed to the Father "I gave them the gift you gave me" The Father in Jesus and Jesus in those that belong to Him

Acts 2: 33:Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear "

Is this biblical?


Response #5:

I'm not sure I understand this person's response or what the point is or whether or not there is an objection here. I think your reasoning is certainly good and correct. Of course as you no doubt know the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church split ostensibly over this issue of the "procession of the Spirit", i.e., whether the Spirit is sent by the Father or by the Father and the Son. In fact, both are true. The Trinity are Spirit; they are three in Person but One in essence. All of the passages in the Bible which show the subordination of the Son reflect His role in history and not a difference in essence; that is, the only essential "differences" are to be found in the way the Trinity has chosen to act within the created world. Jesus' role is one of subordination wherein He took on Himself the mission of coming into the world to save it. The role of the Father is different and the role of the Spirit is different, but these are roles they play of their own divine will and not indications of any inferiority or superiority. For they are "One"; God is One in essence; God has One purpose, so the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are never at odds to the slightest degree. This is incomprehensible to human beings (without the aid of the Spirit and scripture), and so it is largely for our benefit that the Trinity roles have been expressed in the Bible the way they are expressed. But it is and has always been a mistake to think or say or teach that because of the role differences there is also a difference in divine essence (and so in rank or nature). There most decidedly is not, and any notion, teaching, argument that heads in that direction is the very definition of historical heresy. For fundamental to orthodox Christianity is the proper and biblical understanding that God is One in essence; three in Person. These two propositions are complementary and not contradictory. They are both necessary to understand in order to appreciate who God is, who Christ is, and what it meant for the Son to take on true humanity in order to come into this world and die on our behalf. Any teaching which seeks to diminish the deity of Christ or question His true humanity loses touch with the true gospel by definition.

Please see the following link:

Bible Basics 1: Theology: The Study of God

In the One who died that might live forever, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.

Bob L.


Question #6:
 

Thanks. He responded to me with this:

"You have the Lords own testimony that the Father is greater than Him yet you don't accept that testimony. I believe in that testimony. Jesus stated "how can the Christ be Davids son if David calls the one sitting at the right hand of God Lord" (Not exact but you know the scripture) The Father was considered over the Son or why would Jesus state that? You can bow out since Jesus calling the Father His God wasn't of substance to you or the Father declaring to be the God of the One He called God wasn't of substance to you."

I don't know what to say...

Response #6: 

As I say, the person seems pretty confused to me. Clearly, scripture teaches that Jesus is God (see the link: "Where does the scripture teach that Jesus is God?"). Now if Jesus is God and the Father is God and the Spirit is God (the essential teaching of the Trinity which is clearly taught in the Bible), then any sense in which One is "greater" than the Other has to be just for the benefit of our human frame of reference. Jesus took on true humanity and humbled Himself in order to come into this world and save us all through His death on the cross on our behalf. That act of supreme self-sacrifice on His part did not in any way diminish His deity. Jesus also said, "I and the Father are One". So all individuals and groups who seek to deny Jesus His divinity based upon His taking on of true humanity in addition to His deity not only completely misconstrue the teachings of the Trinity and the unique Person of Christ, but they do a tremendous disservice to His unique life and death for us all.

As I say, this "problem" is a very basic and fundamental issue of the Trinity (see the link: "The Trinity"). God is One in essence. Jesus and the Spirit share the same divinity, the same divine essence with the Father. They are God, and as such are co-equal and co-eternal and co-transcendent. Of course Jesus in His humanity during the first advent was limited, self-limited – He had to be otherwise He could not run the gauntlet of suffering to get to the cross and then die for our sins on the cross. That is the glorious good news of the gospel! Jesus had to be God and Man to save us, and save us He did. Denying either His divinity (as this person is doing) or His humanity (as some other historical heresies and present day cults do) are equally cancerous to true faith (and equally contradicted by scripture).

One of the things I have found in the course of this ministry over many years is that there are some large number of people out there who become fixated on one false point of misinterpretation of scripture or another. Such types became fascinated with their "unique view" as they see it (although there is nothing new under the sun), and will belabor this one single false issue until doomsday if you allow them to do so. There comes a point when further apologetic ministry becomes counterproductive, pointless, and sometimes even spiritually dangerous. In this case that would be up to you do decide, but I do see all the symptoms.

In Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.

Bob L.

 


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