Absolute Deity

A Saviour- not quite God is a bridge broken at the farther end.’ Thus we proceed to consider the grand truth of the absolute Deity of our Lord and Saviour.

Deity defined. It would be well for us to be clear at the outset as to the meaning of the term “ Deity," and to distinguish it from another familiar term, “ Divinity," so widely used among those who, though not disputing the Divinity, deny the Deity of our blessed Lord. In the words of the New Theology, “ God is immanent (i.e. inherent) in human nature, and we are all His sons, whence Christ’s title to Divinity though undisputed is not regarded as exclusive or unique.”

There are two verses which will help us to appreciate the distinction between “ divinity “ and “ deity," viz. Rom. 1. 20 and Col. 2. 9. In the A.V. the English word “ Godhead “ appears in both cases, but different words are used in the original. In Rom. 1. 20 the word is “ divinity “–see R.V. “ For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity …” In Col. 2. 9 it is “ deity “–” In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-head (i.e. deity) bodily.”

From these two passages it can clearly be seen that divine things, whilst they are an evidence of God, do not reveal God ; they reveal the fact of God, but do not interpret the nature of God. By “ deity," therefore, we mean the very nature, essence, and being of God.

Further, John 1. 1 relates, “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God “ or, better, ‘ God was the Word.’

Deity disputed. It is sometimes argued that as the Lord Jesus was the Son of God, He must of necessity be subordinate to the Father. This is not so, for submission does not mean subordination. The fallacy arises from a misunderstanding of the term, “ Son of God.” As “ Son of man “ does not mean that He became son by a human father–{for He was the “ Son of Man who descended out of heaven,” John 3, 13, R.V.)–but rather that He was the perfection of humanity, ‘ very man,’ so the title “ Son of God “ does not refer to a generation from God. He is Son of God because He is ‘ very God ‘ and bears the character of God. The expression “ only begotten Son of God “ does not refer to a ‘ time ‘ when the Father begat the Son, but implies rather an expression of endearment, greatly beloved and ‘ only’ Son, and hence with the meaning ‘unique.’ Here then we must beware of ‘paraphrasing’ what God has ‘ defined.’

Deity described. Having thus begun at the beginn-ing, we may now proceed to a consideration of the name and attributes by which Deity is described.Let us note

(a) the proper names of God are applied to the Lord Jesus. He is Immanuel–God with us (Isa. 7. 14) ; God blessed for ever (Rom. 9. 5); God manifest in flesh (1 Tim. 3. 16) ; the True God (1 Jn. 5. 20); The Mighty God, and Father of Eternity (Isa. 9. 6, R.V. Margin) ; and the Apostle Paul, writing to Titus, exhorts that we look for “ the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.'(Titus 2. 13, R.V.).

(b) the attributes of God are also ascribed to Him. (i) His Eternity of Being is seen in Rev. 22. 13, where He says “ I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” This claim is all the more striking following upon the state-ment of God in 21.6 “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” There can be only one first and one last. He was “ set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was “ (Prov. 8. 23). (ii) In His omniscience He has perfect knowledge of all men (John 2. 24, 25), and of the Father, for “ as the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father “ (John 10. 15). (iii) In His omni-presence He promises to be where two or three are gathered together in His name, in the midst (Matt. 18. 20). (iv) In omnipotence He claims “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth “ (Matt. 28. 18). (v) He, too, is immutable and unchanging, for of the Son it is said, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever … the heavens … shall perish ; but Thou continuest; … as a garment, they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail “ (Heb. 1. 8, 12).

Deity displayed. Let us refer briefly to the fact that the exercises and activities of God are ascribed to the Son.

(a)He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, for we read in Col. 1. 16-18, R.V., that, “ In Him were all things created, in the heavens, and upon the earth … all things have been created through Him and unto Him, and in Him all things consist (or hold together).” Compare this with Paul’s assertion on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17. 24) that it was “ God that made the world and all things therein.”

(b)He it was who inspired the prophets to write, for “ … the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow “ (1 Peter 1. 11, R.V.).

(c)The scribes reasoned that as it was the prerogative of God alone to forgive sins, our Lord Jesus must be a blasphemer, for He said to the sick of the palsy, “ Son, thy sins are forgiven.”

(d)God is the Judge of all the earth (Gen. 18. 25 ; Heb. 12. 23), whilst Peter claims that He who is ordained for God is the Judge of quick and dead (Acts 10. 42), and Paul at Athens relates that God “ hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He hath ordained “ (Acts 17. 31, R.V.).

(e) Further, let us note that worship is accepted by Him, and prayer addressed to Him. When the wise men from the east came into the house, and saw the young child, with Mary His mother, they fell down and worshipped Him (not her) (Matt. 2. 11) ; a leper (Matt. 8. 2), a ruler (Matt. 9. 18), “ they that were in the ship “ (Matt. 14. 33), a woman of Canaan (Matt. 15. 25), His disciples (Matt. 28.17), and a man of the tombs (Mark 5. 6) are among those who ascribed worship to Him. The martyr, Stephen, (Acts 7. 60) prays, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

For yet another display of Deity we have space only to mention the miracles, for John tells us that these signs “ are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God “ (John 20. 30, 31).

Finally, the glorious fact of His Resurrection displays the power of Deity. Who else but God could utter such words, “ I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10. 17, 18).

Deity declared. We now refer to His own claims to Deity. It has been said that if Christ was not God, He was the greatest egotist the world has ever seen. He claims equal honour with the Father (as John 5. 19-23, R.V. clearly indicates) ; in activity, “ for what things soever He (the Father) doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner “ (v. 19) ; in quickening power, “ for as the Father raiseth and quickeneth (the dead), even so the Son … whom He will “ (v. 21) ; in judgment, for *’ neither doth the Father judge any man, but He hath given all judgment unto the Son, that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father “ (v. 23).

He is the self-existing One, and claims that “Before Abraham was, I am “ (John 8. 58), the name of God revealed to Moses in Ex. 3. 14, “ I am that I am.”

Space would not permit a fuller exposition of this thought, except to refer to some of the claims of “ I am “ in John’s Gospel: I am the Light of the World (8. 12) ; the Door (10. 7) ; the Resurrection and the Life (11. 25) ; the Way, the Truth, and the Life (14. 6); the true Vine (15. 1).

We conclude this brief outline by quotation from the pen of a late expositor of the subject: “ If He is only man, then I am an idolater. If He is very God, then the man who denies it is a blasphemer. There can be no union among those who hold his Deity and those who deny it.” We are not of those who doubt or deny, but bow in wondering and adoring worship.

Thou art the Everlasting Word,

The Father’s only Son,

God manifest, God seen and heard,

The heaven’s beloved one ;

The Lamb of God, exalted Lord !

Worthy art Thou to be adored !


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