Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Identity Crisis

Too many people are confused about Who exactly Jesus is. We’ve confused the issue by placing all the emphasis on His humanity. We’ve majored on how He relates to us at the exclusion of all other aspects of His nature. Whenever we give Him a title, it’s almost always “the Son of God.” I think we’ve lost sight of something in church - His deity! Jesus is God!

Of course He is the Son of God - but not in the same way that we are sons of God! He isn’t only the Son of God, He is God the Son! The Jesus in the New Testament is one and the same as Yahweh in the Old Testament! This is the central doctrine of Christianity. This one thing is where we disagree with Judaism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mormonism. Jesus isn’t the son of God and brother of Lucifer (Like the J.W.s claim). He isn’t a god (like the Mormons claim). He isn’t a good teacher or a good prophet (Judaism and Islam). He is 100% God, and we need to be bold about this!

Modernist liberals (even in the church!) have made it a point to claim that we all serve the same God. But I want to make it clear - we do not! My God isn’t named Allah, He’s named Jesus! That is the one true God! And while I respect my Jewish heritage; Abraham, Moses, and David all looked forward to Emmanuel! Jesus is Yahweh of the Old Testament!

Isaiah 9:6 testifies to this truth, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus also confirms this over and over. In John 8:56 He said that Abraham rejoiced when He looked forward to Jesus’ coming. He said in verse 58, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” - That was the eternal name of God! I AM is the name of Yahweh! His Jewish listeners knew exactly what He was claiming, they tried to kill Him for it!

This is why the virgin birth of Jesus was so important. Jesus had no natural parents, His body was planted in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. From the moment of conception, He was God in the flesh! Think of it - the eternal God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the all-powerful, the all-knowing, the one true God stepped from His throne into the unformed and undeveloped body of a baby in the womb!

Philippians 2:5-11 states this doctrine as clear as any passage. This passage is known as the kenosis, or the emptying of Christ:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form (exact image and nature) of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul quotes an Old Testament passage from Isaiah 45:22-23. This is what Yahweh says in this passage, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.

Paul quotes this again in Romans 14:10-11, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” Clearly, the New Testament writers saw that Jesus was the One that every knee would bow to!

Yahweh repeatedly declares that He is the only true God in chapters 43-46 of Isaiah. Many of those same statements are also used of Jesus in the New Testament!

Isaiah 43:11 says, “I, even I, am Yahweh, and besides Me there is no Savior.”  Yet Titus 2:13 says that we’re “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Clearly, if there is no other Savior than Yahweh - then Jesus is more than just “the Son of God”!

Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.” But we see the title “the First and the Last” again in Revelation 2:8 - this time describing Jesus! We also see in Galatians 3:13, Titus 2:14, and Revelation 5:9 that our Redeemer (called Yahweh in Isaiah 44:6) is Jesus!

Can you see how we’ve cheapened Jesus’ true nature by making Him like one of us? Sure, Jesus did humble Himself and become like us; but only by taking on a physical body! He never stopped being God! While He was inside the body of that baby, He was still filling the universe with His glory! While He limited Himself in what He did, He still had all the power that ever was! Now do you see how amazing it was that Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified? Jesus, God in the flesh, created the very tree that He hung on!

Refuse to compromise on this point, Christian! If Jesus isn’t God, then our faith in Him is pointless and we of all men are most pitiable!

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