Lesson 2

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Lesson 2: More singular verses that demonstrate the deity of Christ

Welcome to Lesson 2 of A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the deity of Christ. In case you missed them, links to the Introduction and Lesson 1 are above. This lesson will continue with Section One of our study: singular verses that demonstrate the deity of Christ. Please remember to look the verses up in context, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. Also remember, there is no rush. Take your time so that you can get the most out of the material. Please take a moment to pray, get your Bible, and then let’s begin!

Colossians 2:9

The following verse is only eleven words long, but it says a lot. Like Romans 9:5 that was covered in Lesson 1, it too speaks of the two natures of Jesus. It speaks of all the fullness of deity dwelling in a human body. God and man.

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,” (Colossians 2:9)

The Greek word for deity here is θεότης (theotēs) and only appears here in the New Testament. Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines it in part as:

1a) the state of being God, Godhead

The state of being God is not something created beings like us could contain with our singular human nature. Jesus is incredibly different from us and awesomely unique in His duel natures. Also, notice that Colossians 2:9 says all the fullness of deity dwells in Jesus. It is all there, and it is dwelling. Jesus is fully God. Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines the Greek for dwells (κατοικέω) thusly: “to house permanently, that is, reside (literally or figuratively)”.

Let’s take a minute to look at some of the context of Colossians 2:9. In Colossians 2:8, Paul writes that there are a number of things that the Christians in Colossae needed to guard against. He mentions things that could be used by others to ensnare them like philosophy, deception, traditions of men, and rudimentary principles. (Not all these things are always bad. It depends on their message or use.)

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,” (Colossians 2:8-9)

We too must be on guard. Sometimes, some of these things may seem attractive; but they do not offer what Jesus does. We have all we need in Him. In Him, the one in whom the full “state of being God” dwells, we are complete. Paul tells us this in the very next verse.

“and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”
(Colossians 2:10)

In Christ, we are complete! No doubt our having been made complete (or filled, see: ESV) is connected to the fact that He is God. What hope and joy are in these verses for the believer who knows Jesus as God! To Him be the glory. Amen!

Philippians 2:6

Our next look at the deity of Christ is in Philippians chapter two. It appears in a passage that includes a call to a life of humility, and it also speaks of the two natures (God and man) of Jesus. God provided much for us in these verses because they speak of the two natures of Jesus in such close proximity to each other. These verses help us to have a correct understanding of Jesus and help us to identify and defend against teachings that contradict this truth.

The verses in Philippians chapter two that we are most interested in for the topic at hand are Philippians 2:5-7. There we will read about the incarnation, but let’s back up a bit for more context. Philippians 2:3-4 sets the stage with a command for us to live selflessly and with humility.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

These verses always land hard on me. Such a way to pursue! Thankfully, God helps us by working in us. (Philippians 2:13) We also find His provision in the immediately following verses where the incarnation of Jesus is mentioned. In view of His incarnation, Jesus’ attitude of humility shines brightly as an example for us to imitate. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Jesus is the best example of humility. This is true because He lived a sinless life and that would include perfect humility. But He is also the best example because no one has ever been more humbled. Can you imagine a better illustration of humility than the God of creation being made in human flesh? Maybe only if in that human flesh, God served. And that is exactly what happened! Let’s focus in on Philippians 2:5-7 now.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus existed before He was born. It also tells us how He existed. It was in the form of God. Jesus was God. When He came into the world (was made in the likeness of men), He emptied Himself and took the form of a bond-servant. The Greek here for bond-servant is δοῦλος (doulos); which actually means slave. His emptying and taking the form of a slave is a lowering beyond our human comprehension. What a powerful example of humility for us!

We must be careful here to note that this emptying does not mean that Jesus stopped being God, as if such a thing was possible anyway. While here, He simply operated differently for a while. John MacArthur says this of Philippians 2:6 in his Bible commentary:

2:6 being in the form of God. Paul affirms that Jesus eternally has been God. The usual Greek word for being (existed in the NASB quote above) is not used here. Instead, Paul chose another term that emphasizes the essence of a person’s nature – his continuous state or condition.” [1]

and..

“Though Christ had all the rights, privileges, and honors of deity – which He was worthy of and could never be disqualified from – His attitude was not to cling to those things or His position but to be willing to give them up for a season.” [2]

Jesus did not capitalize on His deity. Instead, He humbled Himself and died! (Philippians 2:8) He saved His people from their sins as the suffering Servant. (Matthew 1:21, Isaiah 53) I love Him so! It is verses like these that always make studying our Christian doctrines so edifying. What comfort and joy we have in the man, Christ Jesus, God incarnate!

Hebrews 1:3

Our last verse for this lesson is in Hebrews chapter one. This chapter is brimming with verses that speak of the deity of Christ. Not only is the fact that Jesus is God repeatedly affirmed (vs 3, 6, 8, 10-12), the fact that He is not an angel, as some anti-Trinitarians like the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society claim, is made fully evident. (vs 4-5, 7-8, 13) Sweet truth.

Right now, we will only be looking at one of the deity affirming verses, Hebrews 1:3. We will see others in later lessons.

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. The Greek word here for radiance is ἀπαύγασμα (apaugasma). Strong’s Greek Dictionary gives the definition: effulgence. I had to look that word up in an English dictionary! Dictionary.com defines effulgence as “a brilliant radiance; a shining forth.” [3] It is quite a thing to say that anyone “shines forth” the glory of God, unless of course they are God. We are also told that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature. It is hard to mistake the meaning there unless you want to.

John MacArthur sheds some interesting light on the meaning of the Greek word that is translated “exact representation” (χαρακτήρ). In his commentary on this verse he states that Hebrews 1:3 is the only place that this Greek word appears in the New Testament. Here is more of his commentary about this:

“In extrabiblical literature, it (χαρακτήρ) was employed for an engraving on wood, an etching in metal, a brand on animal hide, an impression in clay, and a stamped image on coins. Person (nature in the NASB quote above) is a word conveying nature, being, or essence. The Son is the perfect imprint, the exact representation of the nature and essence of God in time and space (cf. John 14:9; Col. 1:15; 2:9).” [4] (parenthesis mine, except for the cross-references)

This would be a great place end this section, but I must share one more thing.

Salvation in Jesus

The Bible clearly teaches that believing in Jesus is necessary for salvation. (John 3:16, John 11:25, John 14:6, Acts 4:12) But you must have the right Jesus, not another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4) like the ones that are presented in so many false religions and cults. It cannot be a Jesus you have made up out of what you think He is like or who you think He is. You must believe in the historical, biblical Jesus; and that Jesus is God. (John 8:23-24) Another Jesus cannot save. If you have not already come to saving faith in Him, please pray that your heart might be opened to see Jesus for whom He truly is.

End of Section One

I hope you have enjoyed the First Section of verses that we have looked at in the first two lessons of this study. The verses they contain are a nice collection of singular verses that speak of the deity of Christ, but remember there are more. I encourage you to look for them. May we always strive to grow in our knowledge of Jesus.

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)

Section Two starting soon!

Keep an eye out for the next lesson in the study next Tuesday. It will shift focus to a second category of verses.  We will be looking at verse sets that demonstrate the deity of Christ. These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible, and I am really looking forward to sharing them! Please subscribe to be notified of new posts by email or follow Chapter 3 Ministries on Facebook or Twitter to see new posts.

 

Update: Lesson 3 is up!  Zero Fluff Bible Study on the Deity of Christ: Lesson 3

 

Footnotes
[1] MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005, p. 1715.
[2] Ibid., 1716.
[3] Definition of effulgence, Dictinary.com
[4] MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005, p.1836.