"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Worship Jesus


Essential to being a Christian is the worship of Christ.  To the Christian, Christ was more than just a human role model to show us how to live; He is more than just a cosmic life coach, He is God in flesh.  The worship of Christ is essential to the Christian experience.  Jesus Christ, the son of God, was the living, breathing expression of the invisible God.  He was and is the express image of God the Father’s person (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:23 KJV

It is obvious at just a casual look at how the word “honor” is used in the New Testament that it does not exclusively refer divine worship.  Those who deny the deity of Christ will surely point to those passages (Matthew 15:4, 6; 19:19; 27:9; Acts 28:10; 1 Peter 2:17).  However, by saying that it does not exclusively refer to divine worship does not mean that it never refers to divine worship.   The only way to determine how the Son is to be honored we must find out how the Father is to be honored. 

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:7-9 KJV

This is a reference to:

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13 KJV

In Matthew 15:7-9 there are three synonyms used in this text: draweth nigh, honoreth and worship.  The way we honor the Father is through worship.  If there is any doubt as to whether honoring the Father is divine worship, one needs only to read what Jesus quotes from Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13).  Surely all will admit this divine worship that is being given to Israel’s God.  

Whatever honor the Father means, it must mean the same thing for the Son; “…honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.”  The gospels, as well as the whole New Testament, are clear that the Son is to be worshipped.

 “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But 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 1:6-8 KJV

Nothing could be clearer in this text than the Hebrew writer’s (Paul, IMNSHO) claim of the Son’s deity, and therefore his qualification to be worshipped.  Jesus was worshipped in an incarnational context: “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”  I make this point as I adhere to an incarnational sonship view of the Son.  By this I mean that I reject eternal sonship, which is the idea that Jesus eternally preexisted the incarnation as the Son, or in more tritheistic Trinitarian terms, God the Son.  I believe that Luke 1:35 demands that the Son be understood incarnationally.   

I digress.  Back to the point that I was making that Jesus was worshipped in the context of the incarnation.  For me this is one of the more powerful proofs of the deity of Christ.  God alone is to be worshipped; yet, Jesus received worship.

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 KJV

Only God is to be worshipped and served.  This eliminates the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18) and humans (Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-15).  Yet, Christ was worshiped and never refused it.  

·         Wise men worshiped Jesus (Matthew 2:2, 8&11).

·         A leper worshiped Jesus (Matthew 8:2).

·         A ruler worshiped Jesus (Matthew 9:18).

·         His disciples worshiped Jesus (Matthew 14:33).

·         A woman of Canaan worshiped Jesus (Matthew 15:25).

·         A mother worshiped Jesus (Matthew 20:20).

·         Mary Magdalene and the other Mary worshiped Jesus (Matthew 28:9).

·         Eleven disciples worshiped Jesus (Matthew 28:17).

·         The demoniac possessed by a legion of demons worshiped Jesus (Mark 5:6).

·         The disciples worshiped Jesus (Luke 24:52).

·         A blind man worshiped Jesus (John 9:38).

Not only was Christ worshiped, but He responded in a God-like manner.  In each of the cases that angels were worshiped they gave the proper angelic response by refusing the worship and redirecting it to God.  Also, each time the apostles were worshiped they gave the proper human response, deflected the worship, and demanded those who would worship them to worship God.

However, we find quite a different response on the part of Christ.  Not only did He not refuse the worship, He responded by granting the petitions of the worshipers.

When the leper worshiped Jesus He cleansed him (Matthew 8:3); when the ruler worshiped Jesus he raised his daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:25); when the woman of Canaan worshiped Jesus He made whole her demon vexed daughter (Matthew 15:28); when the demoniac possessed by a legion of demons worshiped Jesus He cast out the demons (Mark 5:8).

While angels gave an angelic response, and men gave the human response, Jesus gave the God response.  Christ responded to worship in such a way that it demonstrated that He was God.

Christ was worshiped as God incarnate, the Son of God.  The New Testament very clearly understood Jesus, the Son of God, to be God.

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18 & 23 KJV

The Son of God claims that He is the one that “searcheth the reins and hearts.”  Based on the quote from Jeremiah 17:10 this is a very bold claim by the Son of God to be LORD (Yahweh God).

However, when I say that the Son is God, I do not mean as God the Son, the second person of the Trinity.  I acknowledge that the Son is God, and is to be worshiped as God, because He is the living, breathing embodiment of God the Father.  The Son is the express image God the Father’s person (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3).  When I speak of the Son as being God I do not mean that he is God the Son manifest in the flesh; I mean that He is God the Father manifest in the flesh, the Father incarnate.  The Son is God the Father existing as a full and complete man.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One God


No doctrine in scripture is more explicit than the oneness of God.  The King James uses these terms:  One God (Malachi 2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30: 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19).  God is one (Galatians 3:20). One Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4; Zechariah 14:9; Mark 12:29; Ephesians 4:5).

Not only does the scripture say that God is one, but further defines this oneness in these terms: alone (Isaiah 44:24), by Himself (Isaiah 44:24), none beside and none else (Isaiah 45:6), above all (2 Chronicles 2:5), none before and none after (Isaiah 43:10).

In addition to this are the thousands of times that singular personal pronouns (He, Him, I, Me) are used of God. While there are a couple references in the English translations to God as “us” they must not be understood in a Trinitarian sense.  The Jews, to whom the language belongs, would never have understood God as a pluripersonal being.  Some of the “us” passages that are sometimes thought to refer to God, like Isaiah 6:8, clearly do not.  The “us” in Isaiah 6:8 does not refer to God alone, but to God and His host (Isaiah 6:3).  God is never referred to as “they” or “them.”

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV

Deuteronomy 6:4 is called the Shema, and is the bed rock upon which both the Old and New Testaments are built.  The Shema is not only central to Judaism, it is also equally central to Christianity; it is the theology of both covenants.  More importantly in the New Testament is the idea that Israel’s God has been revealed in and as Jesus.

As N.T. Wright says:[1]

“…we are to look at Jesus and see in him, however strange it may seem, the personal presence of Israel’s God…”[2] 

“…God who, having made humans in his own image, will most naturally express himself in and as that image-bearing creature…”[3]

“…in Jesus, Israel’s God had become present, had become human, had come to live in the midst of his people…”[4]

The idea that Israel’s God had become human in and as Jesus Christ is incredible!  That Jesus is the incarnational and personal presence of Israel’s one God is replete throughout the Old Testament (prophetically) and the New Testament (fulfillment).

“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.” Romans 3:29-30 KJV

This verse beautifully illustrates that Israel’s God is the Gentile’s God, and the way that Israel’s God became the Gentile’s God is in the incarnation (2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16).

My favorite illustration of Jesus being Israel’s God incarnate is Jeremiah 17:9-10 and Revelation 2:18, 23:

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

“These things sayeth the Son of God… all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18, 23

This is a bold claim by the Son of God to be the Old Testament LORD (Yahweh).  The New Testament makes two very clear claims: 1. Israel’s God is the only true God. 2. Israel’s one God is revealed in the Person of Christ.

The point of the oneness of God, as I will attempt to demonstrate in this book, is much bigger than creedal confession.  The oneness of God is not only the world’s greatest creed, but it is also the world’s great conduct.


[1] For clarification: I am not quoting N.T. Wright presuming that we share the same Theology or Christology. 
[2] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1573-1574). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
[3] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1706-1709). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
[4] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1549-1554). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Essentially Christian

Essential to being a Christian is the worship of Christ. To the Christian, Christ was more than just a human role model to show us how to live. He is more than just a cosmic life coach, He is God in flesh. The worship of Christ is essential to the Christian experience. Jesus Christ, the son of God, was the living, breathing expression of the invisible God. He was and is the express image of God the Father’s person (Hebrews 1:1-3).

In part, this is why the Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, and others can never be considered Christian.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What Everyone Wants, but Few Are Willing To Do.

Everybody wants unity in the body of Christ, but few are willing to make the sacrifices for it.  We love the idea of unity, but we loathe the ideology of unity; we love the preaching of unity, but not the practice of unity.  We are okay with unity as long as everyone is shifting into my paradigm.  We insist the other guy change for sake of unity, yet I refuse to change for sake of truth.  This is not unique to the conservative or the liberal; both are guilty.

What are you willing to do for the unity of the body of Christ?