Can I be a Christian if I don’t believe Jesus is God?
Jesus Painting in Saint Jacobs Church
That's a great question Rob. My honest answer is No, if you deny the most basic Christian belief, that Jesus is God, then by definition, you are not a Christian.
I have wonderful news for you though. If you read the Bible with an honest heart, God will show you His truth. If you start reading the Bible believing that Jesus is not God, you may be surprised to discover that God speaks to you through the pages of scripture.
I encourage you to read the rest of this article with an open Bible. Look up the verses and read them for yourself. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and to guide you into truth, John 16:13. All it takes is an honest heart willing to embrace truth wherever you find it.
When we call Jesus Messiah, we affirm that Jesus is God. When we call Jesus the Christ, we affirm that Jesus is God. When we call Jesus Lord, we affirm that Jesus is God. When we call Jesus our Savior, we affirm that Jesus is God. When we call Jesus our Redeemer, we affirm that Jesus is God.
No one can be a Christian until he believes the Biblical truth that Jesus is God. Cults and unbelievers always attack the truth that Jesus is "God in the flesh," 1 Timothy 3:16. Rejecting what the Bible says about Jesus being God is what makes someone an unbeliever.
Think about it. Matthew 1:23 says: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Emmanuel is not the name everyone called Jesus back then. Instead, it is a prophetic name, indicating that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophesy that Messiah would come, Isaiah 7:14, 8:8-10, 9:6-7, 53. The prophetic name of Jesus, which means, "God with us"
indicates that He is God. Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would be "the mighty God,"
Believing Jesus is God is essential to becoming a Biblical Christian. There are millions of cultural christians. A cultural christian is someone who is religious but not saved. Cultural christians are people who view themselves as christians because they grew up in church or in a country which is nominally christian or they got sprinkled when they were a baby yet they cannot answer the question, Who Is Jesus?
In reality, many cultural christians have never been born again. They have never been saved.
Cultural christians often go to church, they sing in the choir and sometimes they even read the Bible and participate in services. Some of them may be pastors and deacons and theology professors. But they have never believed in Jesus
as their Lord and their God, John 20:28.
I. That Jesus is God
is the message of the Bible
If He is not God, if He is just a man, Jesus is absolutely powerless to redeem anyone; He is powerless to save anyone. Psalm 49:7 tells us: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”
Psalm 49:15 tells us: “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”
II. That Jesus is God
is the message of Jesus Himself
John 8:23-24 is absolutely clear! Jesus says to the Jews who did not believe in Him: “I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
Universalists teach the lie that everyone will eventually be saved and go to heaven. No prophet in the Old Testament, no apostle, evangelist or preacher in the New Testament ever taught that. Jesus Himself taught the opposite of Universalism. He is crystal clear in John 8:21-24 where He contradicts the false teaching of Universalism. According to Jesus, everyone will not be saved and go to heaven.
According to Jesus, the Jews who did not believe on Him cannot go where He is going. The Jews who heard Jesus preach in His earthly ministry certainly understood that Jesus claimed to be God, John 10:32-33.
But they did not believe He was God. They tried to stone Him for saying He is God because they regarded that as blasphemy, John 8:59. Jesus told them they cannot go to heaven where He is going because they do not believe He is God their Messiah.
III. Jesus makes salvation
contingent on believing He is
the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14
Jesus identifies Himself with Jehovah God, John 8:24, 58, just as John identifies Him in Revelation 19:16, where Jesus is proclaimed “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS”
which is another way of saying, Jehovah of Jehovahs. Capitalization is from the KJV translators.
Baptist pastor John Gill,
1697-1771, in John 8:24
teaches us that Jesus is:
“the everlasting and unchangeable I Am, the true God, God over all, blessed for ever, the eternal Son of God, God manifest in the flesh, really made flesh, and become incarnate, the true Messiah, the only Saviour of sinners, the one and only Mediator between God and man, the Head of the church, prophet, priest, and King, and the Judge of quick and dead, as also the light of the world he had declared himself to be: these are things that are necessary to be believed concerning Christ.” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible
Why believing Jesus is God
is essential to being a Christian
- First, the Bible presents Jesus as God, from Genesis to Revelation.
1. Genesis 3:15 - refers to the seed of the woman meaning the virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14, an oblique reference to the deity of Jesus the Messiah.
2. Genesis 22:8 - depicts Jesus as the passover Lamb, Exodus 12:3-5, a lamb, the lamb, your lamb, 1 Cor 5:7 - "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
3. 2 Chronicles 36:15 with Matthew 23:33 with Luke 11:49 testify that Jesus is God.
4. Proverbs 30:4-5 - "what is his son's name Every word of God is pure" with John 1:1 - "the Word was God."
5. Isaiah 41:14 - "Jehovah, the first and the last," 44:6 - Jehovah and his redeemer are both God, 48:3, 12 - "I am he... I am the first, I also am the last."
6. Revelation 1:8 - Jesus is Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the beginning and the ending.
7. Revelation 21:3, 6 - "God himself shall be with them... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end."
8. Revelation 22:12-13 - "behold, I come quickly... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
9. Luke 1:16-17 - "the Lord their God. And he shall go before him," 8:39 - "shew what great things God hath done unto thee, and he went on his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him."
10. Luke 9:42-43 - "Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child... there were all amazed at the power of God."
11. Luke 17:15-16 - "one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at his (Jesus') feet."
12. John 1:1, 5:18, 8:19, 8:24, 8:58, 10:30, 10:33, 10:37, 12:45, 14:9, 1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:8 present Jesus as God.
- Second, Jesus presented Himself as God, John 5:18, 8:19, 8:58, 10:30, 14:9.
Believing Jesus' testimony about Himself, that He is God, was essential to the Jews getting saved according to Jesus, John 8:24 - "if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" with Isaiah 48:3, 12.
- Third, Jesus claimed to exercise the attributes and prerogatives of God,
John 5:21, 10:28, 37, 12:45, 14:9.
- Fourth, the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming He was God - John 5:18, 8:58-59, 10:30-31, 33.
- Fifth, Jesus claims seven times to be equal with God in John 5:17-47.
1. Jesus is equal with God in His person, 5:17-18
2. Jesus is equal with God in His works, 5:19-20
3. Jesus is equal with God in His power, 5:21
4. Jesus is equal with God in His judgment, 5:22, 27
5. Jesus is equal with God in His honor, 5:23
6. Jesus is equal with God in His self-existence, 5:26
7. Jesus is equal with God in His scriptures, 5:39, 46
Our Inescapable Conclusion
From beginning to end, the testimony of scripture is that Jesus is God. If words have meaning, then the plain sense of scripture is that Jesus is God. That is the understanding of the people who heard Jesus in His earthly ministry. That is the testimony of Jesus about Himself.
Jesus is God in the flesh, the only person in the Universe Who could die for us and pay for our sins. Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior? Do you know for sure that when you die, you will go to heaven? I would like to tell you in an understandable way how to be saved.
If you're a gay Christian
does God still love you?
What is justification by faith, part 1?
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