“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
New Testament Proof Jesus is God
The New Testament gives us many passages proving Jesus’ divinity. Although the apostles spoke of Jesus as the Mediator after he appeared in the world as human, there are plenty of passages which demonstrate his eternal Godhead. The first piece of evidence is all the predictions about the eternal God which are applied to Christ. He either has already fulfilled them or they will be fulfilled in some future period. Isaiah prophesies, that “the Lord of Hosts” will be “ a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence,” (Isaiah 8:14). Paul asserts that this prophecy was fulfilled in Christ (Romans 9:33). Therefore, he declares Christ is the “Lord of Hosts.”
He also says in another passage, “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God’” (Romans 14:10-11). Isaiah predicts this of God Himself. Since this prophecy is applied to Christ, it follows that he is God, for he cannot give his glory to another (Isaiah 45:23). It is also clear from another passage from the Psalms, which Paul quotes in Ephesians, that Christ is God: “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men” (Psalm 68:19; cf. Ephesians 4:8). God foreshadowed the ascension of Christ when He exerted His power in victory over the nations.
Furthermore, John testified that it was the glory of Christ which was revealed to Isaiah in a vision, even though Isaiah said explicitly that he saw the glory of God (Isaiah 6:4; John 12:41). Again, many attributes of God are applied to the Son, such as worship and powerful creation (Hebrews 1:6, 10). The author of Hebrews does not distort the passages by applying them to Christ, since Christ performed the things which the passage celebrate. Christ Himself arose and pitied His people. He has claimed dominion over all nations and islands for Himself. Why should John hesitate to ascribe the glory of God to Christ, after saying in his prologue that the Word was God (John 1:14)? Why would Paul delay to place Christ on the judgment seat of God, after he openly stated His divinity when he said Christ was God over all and blessed forever (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Paul show consistency because elsewhere he says that God was “manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). If Christ is God and to be praised forever, He is therefore the proper object of receiving all the glory and honor! Paul does not mince his words but openly explains that Christ, “being in the form of God did not consider is robbery to be equal to God, but emptied Himself” (Philippians 2:6). Now, if unbelievers try to make up arguments and say Jesus was some kind of spurious god, John goes farther and affirms, “This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Although it should be enough that Jesus is called God, especially by eyewitnesses who distinctively testify that we should have no more gods than one, Paul says, “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6). When we hear from the same lips that God was manifested in the flesh, that God purchased the church with His own blood, why do we dream of any second “god” to whom Paul makes no allusions?
All Christians everywhere, at all times, believed that Jesus is God. For example, the disciple Thomas addresses Jesus as his Lord and God. He certainly professes that Jesus was the only God whom he only ever worship (John 20:28).