James R. Spencer
Jesus forced His listeners to
think about who He is. He asked the Pharisees, "What do you think
about the Messiah? Whose son is he?"
They answered, "He is the
son of David."
Jesus said, "Then why does
David speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, call
him Lord?" (Matthew 22:41-43, New Living Translation).
Jesus then asked, since David
called the Messiah Lord, "How can he be his son at the same time?"
This question has one answer:
Jesus is before and superior to David. He told the same class of questioners
that He was older than the patriarch Abraham: "Before Abraham
was, I am" (John 8:58, KJV).
Jesus is fully God and fully
God reveals himself progressively in the Bible. From the Old Testament
we learn there is only one God. Once that light is burning brightly,
the New Testament introduces Jesus who says, "If you have seen
me you have seen the Father" (John 14:9).
For two millennia the church has
believed that Christ is both fully man and fully God. Throughout the
last 2,000 years, groups have arisen within the church to reject this
bedrock Christological foundation groups the church traditionally
has called cults.
Two fundamental errors about Christs
nature either deny the full deity of Christ or deny His full humanity.
Those who deny Christs full deity make Him merely a human who
is adopted, in some special way, by God. Those who deny His full humanity
make Christ into a mere appearance of God, making Him something other
than fully human. Although these problems may at times seem only to
be theoretical musings ("What difference does it make if you
love Jesus?"), in reality these errors always produce bad fruit.
Jesus is a real man.
Lets examine the teaching that asserts Jesus is simply an appearance
of God, not really a human. God just sticks His head out of heaven
and pretends to identify with us. If that were true, then Jesus
death the death which is supposed to save us is not
really a death. It is only a spiritual play, an act, a sham.
No, the Bible says Jesus took
upon himself human flesh and upon that flesh were heaped the sins
of mankind. If that is not true, then Jesus did not pay the price
of sin, did not die, is not resurrected. If Jesus was not truly a
human being, we remain guilty before God.
This error is seen in Christian
Science and in all of the so-called "religious science"
denominations. These groups speak of the "Christ Spirit"
or the "Christ Nature." In their minds, God is a concept
Divine Love. Our job, they say, is to become in tune with this
illusory Christ Nature; and, when we do, we will see that the material
world, with its bodily illnesses and human passions, is no more real
than Jesus. They are illusions. Such thinking not only makes Jesus
into an ethereal, wispy ghost, but it makes mankind into that as well.
If real flesh was not resurrected in Christ, we are yet in our sins
and will die in them.
Jesus is fully God.
The most common error about Jesus makes Him human, but not fully God.
He may be "almost" God, or "the Savior," but He
is not the one true living God and Creator of the universe. Some see
Jesus as a great man who attracts the attention of God and is somehow
possessed by God. In reality, that is the description of a Spirit-filled
But Jesus is not merely a human
who is in close communion with God; He is God. The Bible declares
that Jesus exhibits all the attributes of God revealed in the Old
Testament omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. He is
the Creator of all things. He is worshiped by the disciples and even
called God by Thomas. He demonstrates that He is the Lord and giver
of life because He lays His life down and then takes it up, kindling
in us the hope of resurrection.
Those who refuse to make Jesus
Lord of all do not allow Him to be God at all. For He is either the
God of the Old Testament who wraps himself in flesh and presents himself
to us in the New Testament, or He is a pretender. He cannot be another
God, for there is no other God. The Bible eliminates the possibility
that Jesus is somehow or some way another god. The Bible
records Gods final words on this: "Before me there was
no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
I am the first,
and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isaiah
The Bible says of Jesus, "All
things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that
was made" (John 1:3). But those groups which refuse to recognize
Him as the Creator assign to Him a lesser nature: Jehovahs Witnesses
think of Him not as the Creator of All, but as the first thing God
created. Mormonism makes Jesus the son of a god named Eloheim, a god
who has a father and a grandfather (although we do not know their
Words must mean something, or
they mean nothing.
When we say we "believe in
Jesus," we must identify what the term Jesus stands for. If I
believe in a Jesus who is not God, I may as well put my faith in any
other good man. If I believe in Jesus who is not fully man, I am no
better off than those New Agers and occultists who commune with the
Christ Spirit, but who fail to recognize the biblical Jesus.
Spencer is a minister and author of seven books on cults, the occult
and secularism. He lives in Boise, Idaho.