Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In the beginning was the Word....

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3,14

Jesus, the Word, God Himself, became flesh and dwelt among us.

John magnificently, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, pens the words that most of the world does not want to hear, refuses to believe and will kill those who propagate it.

If this was all the New Testament had to say about the Deity of Jesus, it would be completely sufficient.

But Jesus Himself makes the extraordinary claim in John 14:7 when speaking to the disciples:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

Jesus spoke these words right after telling the disciples that He was the way, the truth, and the life. No one, according to Jesus, comes to the Father except through Him.

But Philip, not in full belief of what Jesus just said, shows his ignorance of the Truth standing before him:

“Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” John 14:8

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:9

Jesus almost seems heartbroken over Philip’s request to see the Father. “Have I been with you so long,…..” After all the things Jesus has said…after all the miracles He performed.

One can almost hear the disappointment in Jesus’ voice as He says, “….and yet you have not known me, Philip?

Philip had the very words of Jesus’ claim of Deity and that should have been enough for him.

Had Philip heard Jesus' claim of deity before, could that be one reason for the way Jesus spoke to him here in chapter 14?

Let's go back to chapter 8 where Jesus is speaking to the Jews.

Jesus, proclaiming He was before all things, made a scandalous statement. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

This is a statement of eternity past!

John MacArthur says of this statement;

"If we were to translate the Greek literally in verse 58 it would read like this, "Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham became..." What it means is there was a definite point in time when Abraham began, a point in past history when the man who did not exist came into existence. Jesus says, "Before that, I AM." That's the eternal present that indicates no beginning. To become is to pass from nothingness and non-existence to existence.

But "I AM" denotes a mode of existence which is not due to any such transition. It is a statement about eternity. It is a statement about ever-lasting life, no beginning, no end. And thus does Jesus attribute to Himself eternal existence in the absolutely divine sense. And even the word "before" is symbolic, it is a concession to human comprehension of time, for in the life of God there is no before and there is no after. Jesus says, "Then I Am the eternal existing one who eternally existed whereas Abraham at some point in time began."

And thus is Jesus claiming to be the eternal God.

This is what angered the Jews to pick up stones and stone Him. They knew exactly what Jesus was claiming; Deity.

Jesus is God.

Because all have sinned (humans), only God could come to the Earth and live a perfect life. Only a perfect God could offer Himself up for the atonement for those he created. Only a perfect God could reconcile man back to Himself from the sin that separates perfection from imperfection.

Will you repent today?

Will you put your trust in Him today?

A perfect God from eternity past has given Himself for you. Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, took your punishment and placed it on Himself. He died on a cross to reconcile you back to Himself. He rose on the third day conquering death. He paid for your sins in His life's blood.

Repent and trust Him today and He will save you from the wrath to come.


Joe A. said...

Interesting read. Those are just a few examples of many from Christ's implicit and explicit claims to deity.

Joe A. said...

Not just from the book of John, I might add.

Suggested introductory reading on the subject:

"Reasonable Faith, 3rd Edition" - refer to the related chapter(s)

In before the book of John's date, Mark, and "Q" source mentions.

ExPatMatt said...


Wayne Dawg said...

Joe -

I picked the specific references in John as a starting point.

Chris Geiser said...

Great post Wayne Dawg, I remember stumbling big time over the issue of Christ's diety right after my five month mission trip to Guatemala in January 2008. I didn't know of any scripture that said Jesus was God, but I never asked myself the question and I never knew the importance of it. After my mission trip I was attacked spiritually big time and I wasn't prepared for it, so now I study the scriptures to make sure I know what I am talking about and to know what to believe in. Heretical teachings are very damaging.

Wayne Dawg said...

Very good point Chris - Any teaching that denies or intentially ignores the fact that Jesus is God is wrong and heretical.

Jonathan said...

Anyone read More Than A Carpenter? It's a simple book, and I would suppose that from Matt and Nohm's perspective it's easily argued, but it clearly lays out the claims of Jesus that have offended so many.

Amazon.com Review
Since its release, More Than a Carpenter has been challenging readers to ask the question, "Who is Jesus?" Author and renowned speaker Josh McDowell acknowledges that while the topic of God is widely accepted, the name of Jesus often causes irritation. "Why don't the names of Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius offend people? The reason is that these others didn't claim to be God, but Jesus did." By addressing questions about scientific and historical evidence, the validity of the Bible, and proofs of the resurrection, McDowell helps the reader come to an informed and intelligent decision about whether Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. This short, 128-page gem does not employ fancy theological words, forsaking the layman, but reads more like an intimate research document laying out the facts with veracious accuracy, from reliable sources ranging from secular scientists to conservative seminarians. A skeptic himself for many years, McDowell always believed that Christians were "out of their minds" but now insists that "never has an individual been called upon to commit intellectual suicide in trusting Christ as Savior and Lord." McDowell adeptly articulates fundamental answers to poignant questions that cause the skeptic to consider whether Jesus was a liar causing countless martyrs to die in his wake, a lunatic deserving death, or actually the Lord of the universe. --Jill Heatherly

Steve Martin said...

Jesus is the Word.

The Greeks defined Word as that great creative power that is the be all and end all of the universe (the cosmos).

How does God create? He speaks.

His Word is spoken and life is created and upheld.

He is constantly speaking His Word into this world. If He were to stop, it would collapse and be finished.

Great post, Wayne!

(I would have stopped and let the Word do it's work on the hearer (reader) and not layed a burden of the Law on them at the end, however.

Your questions are law questions, and since no one chooses God, but He chooses us, you've left people with a demand of the law - which does not give life...but kills.

Sorry to be nit-picky...but I think it is an important distinction.

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks for the book tip Jonathan!

Steve -

Are you speaking of asking a person to repent and trust in Christ...those questions at the end of the post?

Steve said...

Yes, Wayne.

When you lay out the law and the gospel, the Word will do the work on the person. (and grab a hold of someone, when and where it will)

By placing a demand on someone to DO something to make the gospel a reality in their life, you have just placed a demand of the law on them.

The law can't bring life, it can only kill.

So we (Lutherans), when we are at our best, use the law to kill, and then leave people with the gospel.
We don't once again, add more law (will you do X,Y, or Z?) at the end.

That is sort of like the cow who gives a good bucket of milk...and then kicks it over.

Wayne Dawg said...

Steve -

Not to be seen as arguing......but just clarifing;

Are you speaking of the order in which I mentioned law and grace in the post?

Because I don't see, Scripturally, repentance and trusting in Christ as a law.

Certainly you're not saying that we are not to repent and trust in Christ.

Jesus Himself implored us to repent and trust.

I laid out the gospel and followed it with repenting and trusting.

"I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

"..and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,.."

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,.."

"testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,.."

"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."

"who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,"

Luke 13:15, Luke 24:27, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21, Eph. 1:13, 1 Tim 4:10, 2 Cor. 1:10 - just to quickly name a few.

Law - Gospel - Repentance and trust.

Or, I'm simply misunderstanding your point, sorry. :)

Steve said...


As with everything else that God demands of us...He gives to us.

So, repentance must happen, but we don't do it. The Holy Spirit (says St. Paul)leads us to repentance.

That is why we ccan't say, "I made the decision for Christ."

"No one seeks for God."

We repent when we believe. We believe when God gives us faith.

God gives faith in the hearing of His Word (as Jesus says, "when and where He wills")

So when we turn the gospel into just anopther law..."you must do this or that" then we no longer have the gospel...but the law.

Anything that we should, ought, or must be doing...is the law.

The gospel is God's free gift, given to sinners, apart from anything that they do, say, feel, or think. And this is accessed by faith...the faith that God gives to whom He will, through the hearing of His Word.

I hope that was a little bit clearer.

I'm not the best 'splainer.

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks Steve -

We agree that God gives us faith, the Holy Spirit leads to us repentance, no one seeks God, no one makes a decision to come to God..

But I'm merely repeating what has already been said in the Scriptures in calling for repentance toward God...


"..and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."


"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,.."

Jesus called out for repentance.

Peter called for it and Paul called for it preaching to the men of Athens.

You can have the last word if you wish :)

Steve Martin said...

You are right, we must repent.

I'm just trying to clarify how that happens.

As the Bible says, we don't do it of our own volition.

It happens as a result of hearing the Word (the law and the gospel).

There are some real dangers in laying it out as a demand that we can fulfill.

One is that it gives people a false sense of security.

"Sure, Im a believer...I repented and accepted Jesus."

Sorry, but it doesn't worh that way.

And then, a byproduct of that can be pride. "I did it. I made the decision."

The gospel is the free gift of God to sinners. After He grabs a hold of us through His Word, we will make many decisions, and we will reject Him regularly, and by His grace, He will lead us to repentance and He will forgive us and bring us back Home again.

This happens over and over and over again...all throughout our Christian walk.

We have altar calls everytime we offer the Lord's body and blood.

He does it all for us...giving to us that which He commands that we be, and do.

Thanks Wayne!

I appreciate the chance to give a different viewpoint on the faith.

Nohm said...

Hi Jonathan,

That was actually the first book I was given and read after I was "born again" (I understand how that sounds to you, being that I'm considered to be a "False Convert", but I don't know how else to explain the situation).

You are correct that, now, I consider it to be easily argued; the book is not written for skeptics, but for people who are already believers.

The review said:

"McDowell adeptly articulates fundamental answers to poignant questions that cause the skeptic to consider whether Jesus was a liar causing countless martyrs to die in his wake, a lunatic deserving death, or actually the Lord of the universe."

Uh, yeah, not so much. This is the "Lord, Liar, Lunatic" false trichotomy that CS Lewis also used. For the record, not only do I think that there are far more explanations than the three given above, but my actual opinion on this matter is an option that is not listed above.

Lastly, I'm not offended at all that people say that Jesus is God (please note that I originally grew up in a church that was non-trinitarian... that is, we did NOT believe that Jesus was God); that's probably more the muslims or jews who might be "offended" by it... but even then I think it's more accurate to say that they disagree (instead of calling them offended). I think that McDowell, in the book, ignores the fact that he lives in a country where Christianity is the largest religion, and therefore gets the most attention (both positive and negative).

I'll also call McDowell a false convert when it comes to skepticism. ;-)

Jonathan said...

Steve and wayne,

I would say that the issue is semantics and personal interpretation. It relates to the whole Calvin/Arminius debate. Everyone agrees that people are wicked and that repentance is necessary (except maybe Matt and Nohm), but how we get there is the issue. Does God choose who will be saved and pick us out individually, or does every person have the freedom to repent and accept the gift once they realize God is calling them?

My problem with calvinism is that I can't see God choosing some and not others. His grace is available to all, but not all receive it and accept it.

Jonathan said...


I'm interested in your "actual opinion on this matter is an option that is not listed above."

Steve Martin said...


You are right. That is the issue.

Does God save us? Or, do we have the ability to save ourselves, by our own actions?

The Bible clearly says that God saves us.

Wayne Dawg said...

God saves us.

We can do nothing on our own.

The Bible says that none seek after God. (Rom 3:11)

The only way to the Jesus is if the Father draws that person. (John 6:37,44,65)

We cannot cause ourselves to be born again anymore than we caused ourselves to be born the first time.

I don't consider myself a Calvinist over this issue. I don't even like labels to begin with.

I'm a Christian.

This is one of those things that I just take comfort in knowing that God is in control and I'm not.

He is the Creator. He is the Potter.

I am just a created being who's chief end is to glorify and enjoy Him forever.

Nohm said...

Hi Jonathan,

In short, I think the most likely explanation is this:

There was a street preacher around (what we now call) 20 AD or so who angered the status quo. He had some followers who told stories about him and, through time, those stories grew, and then Saul (aka Paul) used these stories to further his own beliefs, and the rest is history.

So, in my opinion, Jesus was neither liar, lunatic, or lord, because I don't believe that the gospels are accurate representations of his life.

Also, I note that you wrote:

"Everyone agrees that people are wicked and that repentance is necessary (except maybe Matt and Nohm)..."

I'm assuming that you're talking about everyone on Wayne's blog, and not everyone in the US, or North America, or the world, right?

One other issue about the review that you posted... it's a little disconcertin to me that the reviewer used these exact words:

"a lunatic deserving death"

We don't put to death lunatics now, even ones which I think serve no purpose to humanity (such as Sexually Violent Predators), so why she used these exact words is a bit... strange, to me.

I hope I was able to answer your question, Jonathan.

Be well.

Nohm said...

Furthermore, Jonathan, even if I was to assume that the gospels were reliable, a possible explanation could be:

He was an alien being with superpowers, who was badly misunderstood by the people of the day, and even worse through the various translations of the gospels.

Again, neither liar, lord, or lunatic.

Having said that, I don't think the "alien" hypothesis is likely. :-)

Steve Martin said...

Right, Wayne!

(I'm not a Calvinist either)

(but then again, I'm not a free will Baptist, either)

I too am a Christian that believes what the Bible tells me about how all this happens.

It starts with God. It continues with God. And it ends with God.

Dorci said...

Why would John the Baptist call people to repent if it had nothing to do with their own decision?

Why would Jesus give the call to repentance if that was a matter of law?

Why would the apostles go and preach that people should repent if that were not a choice given to them?

Why would Paul say, "But to those first in Damascus, and Jerusalem, and to all the country of Judea, and to the nations, I made known the command to repent and to turn to God," Acts 26:20

We are told that we need to repent because that is the choice we are given.

If it was not a choice, why would would that be the call to individuals throughout the NT?

Ike said...

Dorci....why would a totally depraved sinner choose something they hate?

Nohm said...

Ike, why would you assume that all sinners, whether "totally depraved" or not, would hate that choice?

Ike said...

Free will is biblically defined as having the freedom of relationship with God. Far more than just possessing freedom of choice, Adam and Eve also enjoyed the freedom of knowing God and having the ability to love, obey and serve Him. Being made in His image, Adam and Eve were created for a relationship with God. (Gen 1:26-27).

It is when we come to Genesis chapter 3 that we see one of the greatest turning points in all of history, for it is there that Adam and Eve sinned, and as a result, all of creation fell with them. After Adam and Eve's rebellion in the Garden, they became aware of God's presence and hide themselves for the first time from the One they were created to enjoy. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans chapter 5 that because of one man's trespass all were made sinners. As a result of the fall of man, everyone born has a heart inclined towards rebellion and sin (Ps 51:5). We are by our very nature, children of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). Our innocents and freedom of relationship was lost in the fall. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden after they sinned, we all likewise run and hide from the presence of God. And it isn't very long in Genesis before we read, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5).

The Westminster Confession (IX. 3) explains man's condition after the fall like this, " Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto."

It is because of this bondage of sin by which our will is now bound, that it cannot, and indeed will not, move towards God or prepare itself unto God (John 6:37,44). In defining human freedom of mankind after the fall, Scriptures refer to man as being in bondage, a slave, blinded and dead in his sin. Far from possessing the freedom of will Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall, mankind now finds himself dead in his trespasses and sins and running from God's presence.

Steve Martin said...

Why would Jesus say that "no one can come to me, unless drawn (compelled) by the Holy Spirit." ?

Why would Jesus say, "You did not choose me, I chose you."?

Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he could not be born again of himself, but that the Holy Spirit was like the wind, blowing where it will?

Why does the Gospel of John tell us that we are born not of the will of man...but of God?

The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that we are dead in our sins and trespasses and that "no one seeks for God."

I'll put my money on God and not on us and what we decide.

Dorci said...

When someone gives us a gift, the giver has chosen to give it to us, he has purchased it, wrapped it, and hands it to us. We must then decide to take it and open it and use it, or reject it. If I realize that what is inside that box is something I need, I can deny my need of it, or I can acknowledge my need. My acknowledgement and receipt of the gift does not void the fact that someone else has done all the work to obtain the gift.

Jesus has done all the work to obtain my salvation, including revealing to me my sinfulness and need for salvation. I acknowledged my sinfulness and my need for the free gift of salvation. I took it and opened it.

If there were no choice, everyone would be saved. But the bible says that on judgment day, Jesus will tell many that He never knew them, because they never chose to.

ExPatMatt said...

This is so strange! I thought everyone had heard about the word?

Jonathan said...

You said, "The Bible says that none seek after God. (Rom 3:11)

The only way to the Jesus is if the Father draws that person. (John 6:37,44,65)"

I agree with those statements and that is the perspective from which I base my interpretation and understanding. The Father draws the person. Rom 1 says that all men are without excuse because He has made Himself known to all in someway. So, I know a guy at work who is asking a lot of questions, He is seeking to understand God and Christianity, BECAUSE the Father is drawing Him. I get and agree that God started this process in this guy at work. BUT, this guy must make a choice to have a relationship with God or not. He must RESPOND to God's grace that approaches Him now.

That's my current understanding, anyway.

Dorci said...

Mine, too, Jonathan.

Wayne Dawg said...

Yes Jonathan, there is a response.

Some call it responding...others call it surrendering.

I like the word surrender (giving up, giving in, or submitting).

What I personally don't like to call it is, 'deciding' or making a 'decision'.

Terms like that give the impression that we have 'something' to do with our salvation.

I believe man (mankind) surrenders to God when He draws them to Christ.

Salvation is by faith alone...and even God gives the faith.

Ike said...

"And why should [the doctrine of] election frighten you? If you have chosen Christ, depend upon it he has chosen you. If your tearful eye is looking to him, then his omniscient eye has long looked on you. If your heart loves him, his heart loves you better than you can ever love."

C. H. Spurgeon, Revival Year Sermons, page 49, altering the "thou" pronouns to "you."

Ike said...


Why would John the Baptist call people to repent if it had nothing to do with their own decision?

MY COMMENT: Who said it has nothing to do with their own decision? We are commanded & responsible to repent and turn to Christ.

Why would Jesus give the call to repentance if that was a matter of law?

MY COMMENT: God graciously enable us to repent, but He does not repent for us. Repentance is part of our response to the gospel. It is not just a matter of the law.

Why would the apostles go and preach that people should repent if that were not a choice given to them?

MY COMMENT: It is a choice given to men and all men are fully responsible before God. But men being dead in their sin and by nature children of wrath will always choose according to their nature. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. The willing choice of all men by nature is to choose their own autonomy and remain in rebellion against God. Mankind by nature, is not morally willing to change his own heart to embrace Jesus as his most valuable treasure. But God in His eternal electing love and grace chooses to save undeserving rebellious sinners.

God also uses means to accomplish his will. In the salvation of sinners, God uses the preached Word and people like you and me, to call lost sinners to Himself. We have the high privilege of being Gods hands & feet in the spread of his gospel.

Why would Paul say, "But to those first in Damascus, and Jerusalem, and to all the country of Judea, and to the nations, I made known the command to repent and to turn to God," Acts 26:20

MY COMMENT: Because all men (and women) are responsible before God. And we are commanded to preach the gospel to every living creature. God uses the preaching of the gospel to call men to salvation.

If it was not a choice, why would would that be the call to individuals throughout the NT?

MY COMMENT: It not only is a choice, but a command! All men are held responsible for how they respond to Jesus. But in this choice, God's choice is always foundational. He is the electing God, and whomever He chooses and call, will in turn, freely choose Him. That is because God, by His grace, knows how to effectually call sinners to Himself. Jesus said in John 6:44 that all whom the Father draws will be raise up. Not a single one will be lost. God graciously enables our response to Him and draws us to the Son. We come freely because of God's grace.

Dorci said...

Ike - "MY COMMENT: Who said it has nothing to do with their own decision? We are commanded & responsible to repent and turn to Christ."

Some seem to say that because God chooses us, we have no say in the matter. To me that's a doctrine wherein God chooses some, but apparently not all. Or, that would seem to say that all are saved whether they believe and repent or not.

I think we're saying the same thing, though. I believe that God chooses all, in that He desires that no one would perish, just like it says in John 3:16, and the work of Jesus on the cross is available to everyone, and God reveals Himself to everyone and He also reveals each person's sinfulness and need for a Savior to everyone, yet not all will be willing to believe, repent and receive His gift of salvation. We have been given a free will to love God or not. Love is always our choice.

Jonathan said...

I don't know that I agree with everything Dorci believes, as I don't know her well enough yet, but I agree with that last statement. Calvinists (or anyone who believes in a similar type of election) at times seem to be exclusionists. I don't see where some are elected to be saved and others discarded to Hell. I do see where God desires all to be saved, but some choose to ignore God's love, act, grace, gift, etc. My 2 best friends and all the pastors and authors I respect are calvinists (though I've persuaded one of my friends to drop the label and just preach Christ), so I find myself wondering what I missed.

My one friend said, "well, what makes me so special that I would choose God and this other guy won't?"

That's a great question. Don't know that I can answer that yet in defense of my theological position. But I just don't see God picking and choosing who gets saved and who doesn't. I see Him calling and drawing all people to Him, I see Him redeeming every person that responds to Him.

Ike said...

No, far from being free, the bible explicitly teaches that our wills are in bondage to sin. We are dead in our trespasses and sins. Man, by nature cannot understand spiritual things, nor does
he seek after God (Roman 3). Man in his fallen condition it unable to turn from sin and want Jesus (John 6:44, 65). This rebellion and autonomy is what everyman freely chooses.

The bible also teaches that God's love and grace is unconditional. That means when God decided to save a rebellious sinner, it wasn't because He saw something good in them to merit His grace. Instead, Scripture teaches that God chose us in eternity past based solely on His loving sovereign choice (Eph. 1:4, Romans 9). This is the doctrine of unconditional election taught throughout Scripture and church history.

The bible also clearly teaches that God does not save all people. Some rebellious sinners He allows to have their own way and passes them over. Although God's perfect will of desire is that all men be saved, He has not decreed that all men be saved. This is a mystery of course, but we fully trust the goodness of our holy God to always do what is right. And we marvel at His amazing grace that has chosen to love and save undeserving sinners like you and me. It's all 100% grace!!

Now, lets repeat this for clarity. All mankind is dead in sin and rebellious against God. No one by nature will ever delight in Him as their supreme treasure. This is our choice. This is our decision. Our moral will is opposed to God and will never want him (left to ourselves). It is only when God creates life in man (born again) does mankind freely respond to God's gracious choice. This makes God's choice in eternity past of who He would save unconditional and foundational to our choosing Him. God takes a dark, dead heart, and then creates light and life. And it is with this new life that the person freely and effectively responds to God's free gift found only in Jesus Christ.

Jonathan said...

I've heard all that before, but I don't see it at work in the world. I do see people that are curious about God, who ask questions, who go to church to learn more. They aren't Christians yet, but they are seeking. Some of them respond and some don't. Those people directly oppose your explanation.