The Deity and Worship of Christ

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 6
I have received your tract, and am glad to have done so, as it affords me an opportunity to give a little more fully the scriptural evidence of the Deity of the Lord. How much it pained me to read it, I cannot tell you; but I apply myself at once to the point. The rash expressions of individuals are nothing to the purpose: the question is, what does scripture say? No Christian denies he should pray to the Father, but it is equally certain the Lord is prayed to—nay, calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus is, so to speak, a definition of a Christian in 1 Cor. 1:22Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (1 Corinthians 1:2). Stephen called on the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit, and Paul that the thorn might be taken from him. A child prays to his Father, but the administration of the house is in the Lord's hands.
It is a strange assertion that the scriptures do not say that Jesus is God: and I pray you to note that the question connects itself directly with that of -.What was He before He was a man? "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." You will not deny that that was Jesus: did God, for such the Word was, cease to be God? He was "in the form of God," laid aside His glory, "and took upon him the form of a servant;" but He is called God: Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. (Matt. 1:2323Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23).) The scriptures do therefore call Him God. Again, Jesus means Jah, or Jehovah the Savior; His name states that He is Jehovah: is not Jehovah God? Jesus received it, because He was to "save his people from their sins"—whose people? Hence, in John 12, the evangelist cites a passage from Isa. 6, where the highest glory of Jehovah is displayed, and says (ver. 41) the prophet saw Christ's glory and spake of Him Hence the Lord says to the Jews, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Your question as to the Son of David is nothing to the purpose; no one says God is the Son of David: all Christians own that Christ was born into the world as a man: what they say is that the Son of David was also God. Take the end of 1 John 2 and beginning of chapter 2:28, "he shall appear;" that is, Christ: in verse 29, saints are "born of him;" but they are "sons of God" in chapter 3:1; but the world "knew him not": that is, the same Person is Christ on earth. In verse 2 we are "the sons of God," but, "when he shall appear;" now it is Christ. No one can read this passage and not see that Christ and God were one Object or Person before the apostle's mind; and so at the end of the epistle, "We are in him that is true, that is, in his Son Jesus Christ: this [He] is the true God and eternal life." And even the Old Testament knows this. In Dan. 7 the Son of man comes to the Ancient of days (ver. 13), but further on in the course of the chapter, the Ancient of days comes. (Ver. 22.) So in Rev. 1:1717And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (Revelation 1:17): "The first and the last" is "he that liveth and was dead." In chapter 1:8, Alpha and Omega is the Almighty; in chapter 22:12, 13, it is Christ who comes. In 1 Tim. 6:14, 1614That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: (1 Timothy 6:14)
16Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16)
, "the blessed and only Potentate" is "King of kings and Lord of lords," but in Rev. 19:1616And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16) this is Christ. In John 17 He looks to be glorified with the Father, but He had had it before the world was. What He says is that He does and can do nothing as originated by Himself, ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ (John 5:1919Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19).) The same is said of the Holy Ghost (chap. 16:13), 'He shall not speak of himself"—ἀφ ἑαυτοῦ—"from himself" as a source. No Christian denies He took the form of a servant, and always so lived on the earth: but who "took upon him the form of a servant"? Not an angel; he is a servant, and cannot leave his first estate. Christ "made himself of no reputation" when He was in the form of God: was it a false form? The Lord forgive the question: I put it for your sake, dear sir. He could say, "before Abraham was I AM." The fullness of the Deity, you admit, dwelt in Him. The Son of David was much more than the Son of David: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself." Whose thoughts and words were Christ's? were they not a man's, yet whose? He could say "the Son of man who is in heaven." What was He before He came down? Was the Word which became flesh (σὰρξ ἐγένετο) before [He became so] God or not?
Proving He was Man, proves nothing; we all believe it as fundamental truth: but was He only a man? Clearly not: He was "the Word:" He "came down from heaven." What was He then before He became a man? He claims to be One with the Father (John 10:3030I and my Father are one. (John 10:30))—can a creature? If He was not a creature He was God; or we have one not created at all, of independent existence in Himself, yet not God, which is confusion and impossible. "By him were all things created:" who did that? He is the Firstborn of the creation, because He created it: all things, moreover, consist by Him. (Col. 1:1616For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Colossians 1:16).) He was "in the beginning," and then by him were all things made that are made. (John 1:1, 31In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)
.) He, then, was not made: are there two Gods? He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands; they perish, but He remains. (Heb. 1:8, 10, 118But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)
10And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; (Hebrews 1:10‑11)
.) All the angels of God are to worship Him. (Ver. 6.) "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him" (Psa. 2:1212Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12)), but "cursed be the man that trusteth in man." (Jer. 17:55Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5).) He and the Father are one: can any creature say that?
I find, then, that He is called God before He came into the world (John 1), after He came into the world—" God with us." He created all things, and "by him all things consist," is to be worshipped as the first and the last, Alpha and Omega—which is the express title of the Almighty, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Ancient of days: and, lest we should think Him some inferior God, we are told that all the fullness of the Godhead (θεότητος) dwelt in Him bodily. (Col. 2:99For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9).) The moral teaching of scripture confirms it. "Christ is all" to the Christian, so that if He be not God, God is nothing. The object of the supreme devotion of the heart, I am to live to Him (2 Cor. 5:1515And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)); is this to a creature? This is the real question: Is He the creature or the Creator? No Christian denies that He is true, very Man, and that He has taken a place inferior to the Father; but for this He made Himself of no reputation when in the form of God, and took upon Him the form of a servant: no creature could do that; he is one by nature.
He was, as you say, the foreordained Second Adam, but that Second Adam was the Lord from heaven. (1 Cor. 15:4747The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47).) He came not to do His own will surely; as Man, obedience and dependence was His place, but He came into a prepared body, having offered Himself to do it. You may say, He is Son of God. What do you mean by that? "Kiss the Son lest he be angry." God spoke ἐν υἱῷ. (Heb. 1:11God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1).) The exaltation of Jesus, of which you speak, was after He had been "made a little lower than the angels [whom He had created] for the suffering of death," being " made like to his brethren in all things." He "maketh his angels spirits... but unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, Ο God"—He does not make Him anything. Would the blood of a mere man cleanse from all sin?
How you can say the scriptures do not say He is God, I do not understand: they do over and over again, directly and indirectly, in equivalent terms. I have not quoted "God manifest in the flesh," "Christ who is over all, God blessed forever," as critics may reason about them. The last, however (Rom. 9:55Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)) is as plain a testimony as can well be conceived, and the language such as makes it impossible to apply it to anyone but Christ. Is it not singular that you should have passed over all the passages I have referred to, and only quoted what shows that Christ was truly a man, which nobody denies—without which, indeed, His Godhead is of no avail to us? I cannot in the compass of a note pretend to discuss fully such a subject. But all scripture confirms the truth, that Jesus is Jehovah. John the Baptist was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord"—that is, Jehovah (Isa. 40): so Luke 7:2727This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Luke 7:27), from Mal. 3:11Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1): so Luke 1:7676And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; (Luke 1:76): so when He says to the leper, "I will, be thou clean." In Isa. 66:1515For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. (Isaiah 66:15) Jehovah comes with fire and the sword, but we know it is Christ who comes. What is the meaning of Mic. 5:22But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)? Who is Jehovah's fellow? (Zech. 13:77Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7).) The cleansing of the leper was Jehovah's work: the feeding of the five thousand, a reference to the Psalms speaking of Jehovah; and though done as Son of man (Luke 9:10-17 and following) accomplished Psa. 132:1515I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. (Psalm 132:15), spoken of Jehovah. He not only works miracles, which God can enable any one, if He pleases, to do, but He confers the power of working them by His own power on others, which man cannot do. (Luke 9) All these I refer to as confirmations of the direct statements of scripture that He is God, and they are consistent with no other doctrine. And they might be multiplied by reference to every page of the gospel. He quickens whom He will (John 5:2121For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (John 5:21)); can that be said of a mere man, a creature? The Old Testament declares that Jehovah was to come, and His way be prepared, but this was Christ. Heb. 12:25, 2625See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. (Hebrews 12:25‑26), chew positively that Christ is the Jehovah of mount Sinai.
I do not write in a controversial spirit, and beg you to weigh the passages, because it is the greatest of all comforts to know that God did thus come down and become a man—reveal Himself to us so near us. I know God in knowing Christ, find Him grace and love, and cannot in any other way know Himself. May the gracious Lord give you to see it!
[Date unknown.]