Lesson 6: Verse sets of “The ONLY’s”
Welcome to Lesson 6 of A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the deity of Christ! In case you missed them, links to the Introduction and earlier lessons are above.
This lesson is a continuation of an examination of verse sets that demonstrate the deity of Christ. As explained in a previous lesson, verse sets are made up of two or more verses that, when read in light of each other, give evidence that Jesus is God. This next lesson contains a collection of verse sets that I refer to as “the ONLYs”. Each set covers something that is said to be true only of God. Hence the name! We are going to look at six things about God that the Bible tells us only apply to Him.
The six “ONLY’S” are as follows:
Only God knows the hearts and minds of men
Only God should be worshiped
God alone forgives sins
God is the only Creator
There is only one true God
God is the only Savior
That is quite a list! But certainly none of these things are surprising. God is God after all. It is right that He is unique. This uniqueness also helps us when we are considering the deity of Christ for if any one of the six things above were attributed to Him, that would point to His deity. And if all six were? Simple logic would dictate this conclusion: He is God! Let us look at some verses that address these “ONLY’S” about God; and then… yes, other verses that apply them to Jesus as well. Please take a moment to pray and get your Bible. Do not forget to look up the verses in context, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. This helps to keep your discernment sharp and can more deeply bless you as you spend more time in God’s word. Ok, let us begin!
The following is said of God:
“then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,” (1 Kings 8:39) (underline emphasis mine throughout)
The following is said of Jesus:
“But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25)
See also: Matthew 9:4, Matthew 12:25, Luke 6:8
In these verses about Jesus we see that He could do what we are told in 1 Kings 8:39 that only God can do. God alone knows the hearts of men, yet Jesus did/does too!
Let us look at two more verses. In the book of Jeremiah God says:
“I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
Compare this with what Jesus says in Revelation 2:23:
“And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” (Revelation 2:23)
Please notice how incredibly similar Jeremiah 17:10 and Revelation 2:23 are! In Revelation 2:23, Jesus identifies Himself as the one who does what the LORD (Yahweh) said He does. This could only be possible if Jesus was God!
Certainly God alone is worthy of worship. There are many examples in the Bible of worship to God. (Exodus 24:1, Exodus 33:10, Exodus 34:8, 1 Chronicles 16:29, Nehemiah 12:45) And the Bible is clear that man must only worship Him.
“–for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God–” (Exodus 34:14)
“Then Jesus *said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.”” (Matthew 4:10) (SMALL CAPS is how the NASB indicates Old Testament references.)
See also: Exodus 20:1-6
If Jesus was God, then we would not be surprised to find biblical record of Him being worshiped. We might even expect it. If Jesus was not God and someone tried to worship Him, then we would expect Jesus to rebuke that worship. Let us look at just part of the record:
“When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!'” (Matthew 14:32-33)
“And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 28:8-9)
“He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’ And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him.” (John 9:36-38)
See also: Matthew 2:11, Matthew 28:16-17, Luke 24:51-52, Hebrews 1:6
Jesus was worshipped! And when He was, He never rebuked His worshippers for doing it. He never told them to stop like Peter, Paul, and angels did when people tried to worship them. (Acts 10:25-26, Acts 14:8-18, Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:8-9) These recorded events of improper worship are good for us to see as they help us to understand that the worship that Jesus received was good and proper since it was not refused. Since only God must be worshipped and Jesus was rightly worshipped, this is evidence that He is God.
God is just and merciful and forgives sins. (2 Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 43:25, 1 John 1:9) The power to forgive sins belongs to Him alone. This fact was raised by some scribes and the Pharisees in the days of Jesus’ life on earth.
“The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?'” (Luke 5:21)
The scribes and the Pharisees said this in response to Jesus telling a paralytic man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:20) Because of this, the scribes and the Pharisees believed Jesus was guilty of blasphemy! That is no small charge! Of course they were wrong. Jesus was sinless, and therefore never committed the sin of blasphemy. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15)
The scribes and the Pharisees were absolutely right, however, that God alone can forgive sins; yet Jesus did exactly that here and in Luke 7:48. And as the events of His encounter with the paralytic man continued to unfold, He backed up His authority to forgive sins with a miracle of healing.
“‘But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’–He said to the paralytic–‘I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.'” (Luke 5:24)
See also: Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 7:48-49
There is something truly special to be seen here. This pronouncement of the forgiveness of sins was not an act of blasphemy; it was an act of God.
If you pick up a Bible and open to the first page and spend five seconds reading, you will learn that God is the Creator. (Genesis 1:1) Other verses also attest to this truth. (Genesis 2:4, Exodus 31:17, Isaiah 37:16, Isaiah 45:12, 18, Ephesians 3:9, Revelation 4:11) This comes as no surprise; for if God is God, we would expect to read that He created all things.
There is also another truth in the Bible about God and creation. It is spoken by God Himself. He tells us that He did the work of creation alone.
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone,'” (Isaiah 44:24)
God made (created) all things, stretched out the heavens, and spread out the earth… by Himself, all alone. Keep that in mind and look at this next verse.
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Here again we read about the creation of all things. This confirms what we already know about what God did. But here is the thing: the “Him” here is Jesus! (See the context of Colossians 1:13-17.) This verse is saying that Jesus created all things! We can also read about creation being attributed to Jesus in John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:2, 10. Do you remember that we saw Hebrews 1:10 in the previous lesson? Hebrews 1:10 speaks about Jesus as Creator by connecting Him with Psalm 102:25, a verse that speaks about Yahweh as Creator! Seriously special! The unique work of creation which we would expect to see attributed to God is attributed to Jesus.
Is this creative work of Jesus a contradiction to the LORD’s (Yahweh’s) declaration that He did it all alone? That He is the only Creator? No, it further demonstrates that Jesus is God! He is Yahweh as we have seen in other parts of this study.
This next “Only” is a big one. It cuts quickly to the matter about who is and who isn’t God because it limits the options to one! The Bible clearly reveals that there is only one God. This truth is repeated a lot which indicates how important it is. This truth also sets the stage for helping us to know who Jesus Christ is. These verses are profoundly important for a proper understanding of God.
“See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)
“‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.'” (Isaiah 43:10)
“Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.” (Isaiah 45:21)
See also: Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, Isaiah 44:6, 8 Isaiah 45:5, 22
God has been clear, He is the only God. Now, let us turn to Jesus. In this study, we have covered many verses that give evidence that Jesus is God. We started with verses that come right out and call Jesus God. The following verses offer a quick review and fit well in this verse set:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
“Then He *said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:27-28)
“But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.’” (Hebrews 1:8)
“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Titus 2:13)
See also: Isaiah 9:6, Romans 9:3-5, 2 Peter 1:1
God has repeatedly said that there is no other God besides Him, yet Jesus is called God repeatedly. Is this a contradiction? It would be a contradiction if we were to take this as meaning that there are two separate gods like the Watch Tower Society does. They teach that Jehovah is God and Jesus is a lesser (small g) god. They believe in two true gods, even if one is minor league.
But the Bible is clear! There is only one true God. So how to reconcile this? Simple: accept the biblical facts for what they are, just as they are, without trying to make them say anything. The Bible speaks of the Father as God. (Colossians 3:17) It speaks of Jesus as God. It speaks of the Holy Spirit as God. (Acts 5:1–4) Since the Bible also says there is only one God, then we are looking at God who is a Trinity. It is the only option that fits the biblical account. God exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and there is only one God. In the doctrine of the Trinity, the Scriptures stand together.
Now we come to our final “Only”. The Bible tells us that God is the only Savior.
“I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.” (Isaiah 43:11)
“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me.” (Hosea 13:4)
See also Isaiah 45:21
Savior. Such a special role. It is a work and title fit only for God! Yet, and this will come as no surprise to just about everyone reading this, Jesus is hailed as Savior too.
“for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
“for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” (2 Peter 1:11)
“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)
See also: John 4:42, Philippians 3:20, 2 Timothy 1:10, Titus 1:4, Titus 3:6, 2 Peter 2:20
Jesus is called Savior. And add to this, salvation comes only in Him!
“let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11) He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12) And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)
Jesus fulfils the role of and has the title of Savior, but God said that He was the only Savior. God is not a liar, so we must come to the conclusion that we see spelled out in the following two verses. They were penned by Paul and Peter through inspiration and serve as evidence to this awesome truth: Jesus is both Savior and God. I pray you know Him as such.
“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Titus 2:13)
“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1)
We have seen that Jesus knew the hearts and minds of men, was worshipped, forgave sins, created all things, was called God, and is Savior. All six of the “ONLY’s” that are listed at the top of this lesson that apply to God also apply to Jesus. To Him be the glory. Amen!
There are three more lessons in our study. Next week, we will be shifting gears again and starting the third category of verses that demonstrate the deity of Christ. They cover the works and attributes of God in Jesus. Subscribe to the blog or follow on Facebook or Twitter to keep in touch!
Update: Lesson 7 is up! A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the Deity of Christ: Lesson 7