The design of this chapter is to state and prove the doctrine of the true, proper, and supreme divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
His Godhead is true, not fictitious; it is proper, not figurative; it is supreme, not merely superangelic. None is divine in a higher sense than the Saviour of lost men is. The proofs of this truth are various, multiform, and abundant.
THE NAMES OF GOD ARE, IN SCRIPTURE, GIVEN TO JESUS CHRIST.
One apostle says of Him, “This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Speaking of the Israelites, another apostle says, “Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever” (Romans 9:5).
In both [Old and New] Testaments, He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Speaking of Him, Paul says, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1Timothy 3:16). The evangelical prophet calls Him “The mighty God, The everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). Peter says, “He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Paul says, “He is the Lord of glory” (1Corinthians 2:8).
Both Isaiah and Joel call Him by the [awesome] and incommunicable name, Jehovah (Isaiah 6:5–10, John 12:39–41; Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). The Bible styles our Savior “God”, “the true God”, “God blessed forever”, “Lord of all”, "Lord of glory, God with us, Jehovah, Lord of hosts. This language is used by prophets and apostles at periods long separated and on occasions very diverse — some before His birth, others at His birth, and others after His ascension to glory. God’s Word thus teaches that He [Jesus Christ] is divine.
Lord Jesus, Thou God over all, Thou Jehovah of hosts, be Thou our Friend. Bless and help each one of us. Be unto us a horn of salvation.
II. DIVINE ATTRIBUTES ARE ALSO ASCRIBED TO JESUS CHRIST.
1. Eternity is one of His perfections:
“In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). John the Baptist was born six months before our Lord, yet of our Savior he says, “He was before me” (John 1:15). When on earth, He asserted His own eternity and self-existence: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). More than sixty years after His ascension from Olivet and within eight verses of the close of the New Testament, Jesus says of Himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). He Who is Himself the Alpha, the first, the beginning, must be self-existent, independent, and eternal. Surely He Who can truly thus speak of Himself is divine.
O Thou eternal Son of God, Thou Father of eternity, remember that we are of yesterday and are crushed before the moth. Bring us, in the fullness of Thy grace, to behold Thy glory, which Thou hadst with Thy Father before the world was.
2. Omnipresence another attribute of God claimed by Christ:
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Christ could not thus meet all the little groups of His worshipers in all parts of the world unless He was omnipresent. He claims the same perfection when He says to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). If this promise conveys any natural and obvious sense, it is, beyond a doubt, one that implies the omnipresence and, therefore, the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Blessed Savior, Who art everywhere present, preside in all our solemn assemblies, large and small. Walk Thou in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Be Thou unto us for a little sanctuary.
3. Omniscience is another attribute of God belonging to Christ.
Peter said, “Lord, thou knowest all things” (John 21:17). By His omniscience, Jesus declared Judas a devil, even when he was unsuspected by any of his intimate friends. By His omniscience, He convinced Nathanael of His Messiahship and divinity. Two things are wholly inscrutable except to omniscience. One is the human heart. Yet we are expressly informed that even in His humiliation, Jesus “knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). And when for threescore years the Son of man had been in glory, He said, “All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Revelation 2:23). The other thing unsearchable except to God only is the divine nature. Yet Jesus declares that He is master of that mystery: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father” (John 10:15). Surely, He Who thus knows the unsearchable God is Himself God.
Lord Jesus, search us, and know our hearts; try us, and know our thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in us. Lead us in the way everlasting, and reveal to us the glorious mystery of God.
4. Immutability is another perfection belonging to God only, and inspired men ascribe it to Jesus Christ.
Having shown that this earth and the heavens above with all that is grand and solid in them must pass away, the Scriptures say of Christ, “Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12). The inspired author of the epistle to the Hebrews declares in explicit terms, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Without profaneness, we cannot ascribe unchangeableness to any but God. Yet Paul says that Jesus is ever the same. Is He not divine?
Blessed Savior, we rejoice that Thou art the same as when Thou didst weep at the grave of Lazarus; as when Thou didst pour salvation on the dying thief; as when, in ascending to glory, Thou didst bless Thy followers. We rejoice that Thy state is changed and Thy nature immutable. Oh, pity and bless us. Be unto us a sure foundation, a munition of rocks.
5. Beyond all doubt, omnipotence is an attribute of God only.
We cannot reason with one who persistently contends that almightiness is the property of man or angel. But God’s Word abundantly teaches that Jesus Christ is omnipotent. Surely, He Who in His own name raises the dead and subjects the universe to His power is almighty. Paul says Jesus does both these things: “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, ac- cording to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21). Surely, such energy is omnipotent. In Revelation 1:8, Christ thus reveals Himself: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Nor did Jesus acquire omnipotence by His ascension to glory. Indeed, almightiness cannot be acquired; [or else] a creature might become God. But even in His humiliation Jesus said, “What things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise...For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:19, 21). Jesus could do none of these things if His power could be resisted. But irresistible power is omnipotent power, is divine power, and so Christ is divine.
O Thou which art, which wast, and which art to come, the Almighty, cover us in the hollow of Thy hand. If our hold on Thee is feeble, let Thy hold on us be the grasp of omnipotence. Go forth conquering and to conquer until earth owns Thee Lord of all.
III. THOSE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE BY NONE BUT GOD ARE DONE BY JESUS CHRIST, AND THEREFORE HE IS GOD.
Such is the work of creation: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). “By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). If by creation the Father is shown to be truly God, by creation also we establish the divinity of the Son.
Glorious Redeemer, we all were made by Thee and for Thee. We own Thy perfect and sovereign right to us and over us. All we have and are in soul or body belongs to Thee. Nor can anything dissolve the ties that bind us to Thee forever.
Jesus Christ also upholds, preserves, and governs the worlds that He has made. Isaiah says, “The government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Paul says, “To the Son he [the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8). In one place, the same apostle says [that] He “upholdeth all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). In another, he says, “By him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). Indeed, His care and superintendence of all things is a necessity; for Paul says, “He must reign till he hath put all things under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). Thus, all creatures, from the smallest insect that is seen by the microscope up to the archangel that worships and ministers before the eternal throne; all events, from the falling of a hair of the head to the wasting of nations by famine, pestilence, and war; all rule and authority, from that of a petty official to that of thrones and principalities in heaven; the material universe, from the least particle that floats in the sunbeam to the grandest system of worlds that roll in immensity, all hang dependent on His powerful providence. If one link in the chain of that dependence were broken, they would all rush headlong to destruction. He always has governed this world; and He shall ever hold the scepter over it until His last foe shall be vanquished and His last hidden one made victorious.
Lord Jesus, Who upholdest all things by the word of Thy power, bear us up, bear us on, bear us through, giving us the victory over death, hell, and all the powers of darkness.
Again, redemption is more glorious than creation or providence; and Jesus Christ is the sole author of redemption. I never heard of anyone who believed in redemption by the Lord who did not ascribe it to the Son. He alone was fit for this great work. Beveridge says “Man can suffer, but he cannot satisfy; God can satisfy, but He cannot suffer; but Christ, being both God and man, can both suffer and satisfy too, and so is perfectly fit both to suffer for man and to make satisfaction unto God. And thus Christ, having assumed my nature into His person, and so satisfied divine justice for my sins, I am received into grace and favor with the Most High God.”
Two things the Scriptures make very clear. One is that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law - that salvation is by His blood and righteousness. The other is that for this redemption Christ is entitled to the warmest love and the highest honors, and that He actually receives both from all the redeemed. The Author of one’s eternal salvation cannot be inferior to the Author of one’s earthly existence, and so ought to be honored and adored because He is divine.
Lord Jesus, Who died [in the] past, the just for the unjust, set Thy love on us, wash us from our sins in Thy most precious blood, and make us kings and priests unto God.
Moreover, when Christ was on earth, He claimed and exercised the power of pardoning men’s iniquities. “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luke 5:20) were His brief and solemn words of superhuman authority. He Himself tells us that He thus spoke that we “might know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:6). In fact, Christ is exalted a Prince and a Savior to this very end that He may grant repentance and remission of sins unto Israel. Verily, He is God.
Lord Jesus, spread the skirt of Thy bloody garment over our souls, grant us repentance and remission of sins, and we shall be saved.
Nor is this all: Jesus Christ shall raise the dead. In Deuteronomy 32:39, God says, “I kill, and I make alive.” In Revelation 1:18, the Lord Christ says, “I have the keys of hell and of death.” Raising the dead is an act of almighty power, so no creature can do it. Yet Paul says, “In Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). When on earth, more than once Jesus gave life to the dead. He spake and was obeyed like God: “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43). He said, “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). Nay more, He even raised His own body from the dead: “I have power to lay it [my life] down, and I have power to take it again...Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 10:18; 2:19). Truly, this is the Son of the Highest and may fitly count it no robbery to be equal with God.
Kind Redeemer, we cheerfully follow Thee into the grave in hope of a glorious resurrection. We would not live always. In the Last Day, raise us up and make our vile bodies like unto Thy glorious body. Give us part in the first resurrection.
In like manner shall Jesus Christ judge the quick and the dead at His coming. He expressly says that the Father hath given the Son “authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (Joh 5:27). In the same chapter, He says, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). The great tribunal before which we must all stand is “the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). In Revelation 1:7, John says, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” If divine perfections are required for anything, it is for deciding on the destinies of men and angels; yet the unerring God has committed this judgment into the hands of Christ. He must, therefore, be God.
Lord Jesus, when Thou comest in Thy glory with all Thy holy angels and the heavens shall flee away at Thy presence, by Thy mercy, let us have boldness in the Day of Judgment.
And as Jesus made, governs, and shall judge the world, so shall He destroy these heavens and this earth. So says inspiration: “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish... as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed” (Hebrews 1:10-12). Who but God only can do this, and do it with the ease with which man folds up a garment and lays it aside? Yet Jesus Christ shall do this very thing. Surely, He is divine.
Jesus, our Lord and our God, when Thou shalt dissolve the frame of all [earthly] things, remember and spare us according to the riches of Thy grace in glory.
IV. THE BIBLE HAS DONE MORE TO ROOT OUT IDOLATRY THAN ALL OTHER BOOKS.
It declares that idolaters shall have their part in the lake of fire. Yet this same holy book authorizes the highest acts of worship to be offered to Christ. Faith in Him is as much required as faith in the Father: “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). We are required in both Testaments to embrace Him and trust in Him on pain of perdition: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). The Scriptures never require of us to rely on man. On the contrary, they say, “Cursed is he that trusteth in man” (Jeremiah 17:5). But they also say, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Romans 15:12). Yea, more: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). And all this is by God’s command; for “when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Hebrews 1:6). Before He was born, His mother’s cousin Elisabeth by the Holy Ghost called Him “My Lord” (Luke 1:43). After His resurrection, Thomas adoringly said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The first Christian martyr worshipped Him, crying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). That Jesus receives the highest worship offered in heaven the Scriptures clearly assert: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:11-13). No part of God’s Word speaks of a higher degree or more complete universality of solemn worship than is here said to have been offered to the Son. Verily He is divine. He is God. He has supreme divinity. There is no idolatry in heaven, yet Jesus is worshipped there.
O, Thou Lamb of God, grant us this one favor to worship Thee with true devotion here below, and after this life to unite with the heavenly throng in ascribing to Thee blessing, honor, power, glory, and salvation.
￼ The foregoing is but an outline of the argument on this glorious theme. The Bible is full of it. Sometimes we have nearly whole chapters devoted to this weighty matter. Many considerable portions of several books of the Bible are given to establish the same truth. The Gospel by John is evidently written chiefly for the same purpose. The very first verse may be taken as a text of the whole: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Time would fail us to dwell on each of the proofs of our Lord’s divinity found in this Gospel.
Indeed, we may with Melville say, “There is no such book of contradictions as the Bible, if there be no person who was both human and divine. Nothing but such a combination will make sense of the Bible, or rescue it from maintaining a vast mass of inconsistencies. Some may think that it would simplify the Christian theology to remove from it the mystery that two natures coalesced [merge] in the one person of Christ; but as the divinity of our Lord is the foundation of our hope, so is it the key to the Bible. We acknowledge, reverently, a great mystery, but not the thousandth part as great as the whole Bible becomes on the supposition that Christ was only man.”
WHAT THE DIVINIY OF CHRIST MEANS TO US
1. If Jesus Christ is divine, He may safely be trusted with our whole case.
He will betray no interest committed to Him. He invites all to come. He welcomes all who come. He is all-sufficient. He is chosen, called, and ordained of God, to this very work of saving lost men who seek a refuge in Him. A pious man once said, “If I did not know my Savior to be God, I should this night lie down in despair: the Scripture could in this case convey no comfort to my mind.” But He is divine, and we may safely rest the whole weight of our salvation on His almighty arm and trust our most complicated affairs to the solution of His infinite wisdom.
2. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a most reasonable duty.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). If we fail here, we fail utterly, for there is salvation in no other (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). He is the Rock. All hopes not built on Him must forever perish. Jesus is set for the rise and the fall of many. He will be to us a rock of salvation or a stone of stumbling, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land or a rock of offence to the unbelieving. I have long since ceased to marvel that Jehovah has laid such stress on this doctrine. In their measure, the pious do the same. They all cling to it as their last hope. Oh, that every man would ask God to give him faith—saving faith! For no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost (1Co 12:3).
3. Will you have this Lord Jesus for your Savior?
Will you bow your head and take His yoke upon you? If you confess and forsake your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all iniquity. Will you have Him? You need Him. You need Him now. You need Him urgently. You need Him to help you live. You will need Him to help you die. You will need His grace and mercy forever.
From a sermon entitled "The Divinity of Christ", from the book "The Rock of Our Salvation, A Treatise Respecting the Nature, Person, Offices, Work, Sufferings, and Glory of Jesus Christ”, by William S. Plumer (1802-1880).