Biblical and historic Christianity have always affirmed the deity of Christ —that is, that Jesus Christ was and is and always will be completely God. He is, as some have called Him, undiminished deity. The Scriptures are clear on this point, saying, for example, that He “was in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6), and that “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” (Hebrews 1:8 citing Psalm 45:6). At times, Jesus accepts worship that would have been inappropriate for any man, especially a “good teacher.” The New Testament also applies many Old Testament verses to Jesus Christ that spoke in their old covenant context of God Himself.
Jesus Claimed Deity
A recent sermon at Whites Run Baptist Church entitled “Jesus Claims Equality with the Father,” discussed the issue as put forth by Jesus Himself. Jesus was accused of “calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). For this primary reason, the Jewish authorities were seeking to kill Him. What Jesus had said about Himself was scandalous —and, as they saw it, illegal. So beginning in John 5:19, Jesus addresses the issue. Having the opportunity to explain Himself, to correct the record, or to apologize, Jesus instead claimed equality to God in many more ways than just calling God His Father. And to back up His claims, He appealed to the witnesses of this truth: John the Baptist, the works the Father gave Him, the Father Himself, and the Scriptures (John 5:30-48). So obvious were Jesus’ claims to deity that this was the primary charge the leaders used to get Him crucified. When asked during His trials if He was the “Christ, the Son of the Blessed,” Jesus replied, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” The gospels leave the reader with no other choice but to believe because there is no explaining away His obvious claims.
The Reader’s Conundrum
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains it quite eloquently:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Why is this important? The deity of Jesus Christ is a central issue of the Christian faith. At the core of the Christian faith is the truth that Jesus Christ provided salvation by dying a substitutionary death on the cross — taking the place of the believer in paying the penalty for sin. Because of His deity, His death had infinite value, enough to pay the price of sins of the whole world. Had He been a mere man, He could not have died for the sins of the world.
Because He was fully God, Jesus Christ provided a sacrifice of infinite value. Unfortunately, not everyone will believe and so take part in the eternal life He offers. Will you? Do you believe Jesus’ claims of equality with God? Take time to consider this. Read John 3:16-21 and consider these things. Read either Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John and see for yourself His claims and the evidence. Then repent of your sins and trust none other than Jesus Christ to save you, for nothing less than a God-sized sacrifice can pay for sins against God Himself.
See also: http://whitesrun.org/what-we-believe/, section IIB, “God the Son”
See also: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=724192212523834, “Jesus Claims Equality with the Father”
Lewis, C. S. C. S. Lewis Classic Collection: Mere Christianity. Harper One, 2009.