The Coming King Foundation

Is Jesus God?

By Rev. J. Stockton Williams, J.D. & D.D, Rector, TCKF Trustee

Is Jesus really God? The short answer is YES! This is proved in Scripture and by the testimony of Christians through all the centuries, including the Disciple, Thomas one week after Jesus’ Resurrection. “Thomas said to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God.’” (John 20:28). But most importantly, it is stated so by Jesus Himself. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). The very reason Jesus was killed was because He not only made those claims, but did only what God did, particularly forgiving sins. We can forgive each other’s sins, but Jesus acted as if every sin was an affront to Him, and He readily forgave those sins, that one person did to another person. Mark 2:7, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone!” Indeed! No one can but God!

Let’s go a little deeper and start at the beginning. For thousands of years, the people of God have known that God is one. The core belief of the Jewish people is found in Deuteronomy 6: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And this is stated clearly not only in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, but in the New Testament as well. “There is no God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4), and “there is one God” (1 Tim. 2:5).

 And yet, even in the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, we can see that the one God is a plurality. There is diversity within this unity. This is found even in the name of God used, Elohim, which is the plural form of El. Christians can see that the “Three-in-One” God was clearly indicated, with verse 1, referring to the Father (“In the beginning, God/Elohim”), verse 2, the Holy Spirit, (“and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”), and verse 26 the Son, “then let Us make God in Our image.”

Genesis 1:26 reminds us that although we sometimes tend to think of the Father as the Creator, the Son as the Redeemer/Saviour, and the Holy Spirit as the Strengthener/Sanctifier, that is not quite accurate. While it is certainly true that each Person of the Godhead has an emphasis, a particular way of commonly acting, all three Persons of God share all of the “Trinity” attributes of each other.

The Father is also the Saviour/Deliverer/Redeemer, which we can see quite clearly at the Red Sea deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. The Son is also the Creator, which is stated in several places in the Bible, including not only Genesis 1:26, but even more clearly in John 1:10, “Jesus was in the world, and though the world was made through Him…”, and Revelation 4:11, in the hymn to Jesus, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. Jesus is not only the Son of God, Jesus is God the Son, the Creator. “God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him (the Father) known” (John 1:18).

Similarly, the Holy Spirit is not just a force and influencer, but a “Divine Person.” The Holy Spirit is not just the Spirit of God, but God the Spirit. The Spirit has personality. He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). He can be sealed within the believer. And, the Apostle Paul notes that the Spirit produces behaviours representative of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit, after all, is Jesus’ Spirit! The Spirit is the “Divine Person” who Jesus sent to be with us and in us after His Ascension. “Jesus said, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you,” (Acts 1:8). “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:28). The Holy Spirit is not just a vague force, but a Teacher.

The Holy Spirit is a “Person” in the Old Testament, too. Besides Genesis 1, we can see this elsewhere.  For example, in Numbers 11:25, repeatedly in Judges, 1 Samuel 10:10, in the Psalms (for example, Psalm 51:11, “take not your Holy Spirit from me”, and Psalm 139:7, “where can I go from your Spirit, where can I flee from your presence?”  The Spirit is God inspiring the Prophets, as in Amos 3:7, 2 Kings 17:13, and Isaiah 6:8. In Isaiah 48:16, the prophet writes, “For now the sovereign Lord has sent me with His Spirit.” This is not to say that Isaiah fully understood all the implications of what God inspired him to write. After all, he was writing centuries before Jesus came to earth. But Isaiah at least got a glimpse of the Person of the God the Holy Spirit.

The point is that all three Persons of the “Triune God” are clearly called God in the New Testament. God the Father in Galatians 1:1; God the Son in John 20:28 (“My Lord and my God!”); God the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:3, where the Holy Spirit is regarded as God Himself, present with His people.

In the New Testament, there are many occasions when all three “Divine Persons” of the “One God” are associated together on an equal basis. These include, for example, Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17 (all 4 Gospels) (voice of the Father, the Son baptized, the Spirit descending like a dove). Similarly, Christian baptism, Matthew 28:19 (baptized in one name, yet three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Consider salvation, as described in 1 Peter 1:2 (chosen by the Father, sanctified by the Spirit, sprinkled by the blood of Jesus). The Christian praying, Ephesians 3:14-21 (strengthened by the Spirit, know the love of Jesus, filled with the fulness of God). Christian growth, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (chosen by God, loved by the Lord, sanctified by the Spirit). Sanctification, 2 Corinthians 13:14 (grace of the Lord Jesus, love of God, fellowship of the Holy Spirit).

There are many more examples, but the point is that the writers of the Christian Scriptures, inspired by the God of the Hebrews, could easily move from one Person of the Trinity to another. And, They always do so in a way that shows Their equality of essence while showing Their distinct personhood.

God is described as “One in Essence”, in “Three Persons.” This is a perfect unity of love, a divine community of one, bound together by infinite love for each other. It is a love so strong and powerful that it reaches out even to us today, and to all creation forever. This is the experience of the Christian believer. We meet God directly in Jesus, and discern that God is truly present as the Son, the eternal “Word of God.” And He is also met as the Father, who sends the Son. And he is experienced as the Holy Spirit, opening our hearts and minds in faith, and living within us. Yet it is the same God who is present throughout: One God!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Rev. Stockton Williams is a distinguished former attorney and Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Kerrville, TX.  He has served for many years on the Board of The Coming King Foundation, the organization that build the non-denominational Sculptor Prayer Garden.

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