Let me first put in two disclaimers before this blog.

  1. There are some things about doctrine that I hold with a closed fist.  These things are non-negotiable and absolute.  Deviation from them would no longer fit the biblical message I believe.  There are many things about doctrine that I hold with an open hand.  These things are areas I believe and how I explain what I understand in the Bible.  But these things are not as absolute.  It is possible to disagree with me here and still believe in the same biblical message I believe.  Today’s statement is held with an open hand.
  2. This issue has been one hotly debated topic that some attempt to move to a closed fist argument.  I believe it is a mistake to do so and attempting to move those opened handed items into a close fist doctrine is what often divides the church.

Having said that, I want to talk about the humanity and deity of Christ.  Jesus Christ, is both fully God and fully man.  But how can that be and what does that look like and where can we point in the Bible to affirm this view?  That is what I will attempt to answer here.

Jesus is eternal.

Perhaps the two most quotes scriptures about the existence of Jesus as part of God before the birth told in the Gospels would be in Genesis and John.

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26a)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)

Jesus (the Word of God) has been with and part of God from the beginning.

Jesus fully man.

When Jesus enters the world as a baby, as told in three Gospels, He is fully man.  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)

He emptied Himself and was now in human form.  This understanding is critical for the value of the cross.  For if Jesus was fully God the entire time, then the value of Him living a blameless life would be no big deal.  But if He spent 30 years on this earth as fully man and was still blameless, that that would mean something.  For this reason, and for the season of those first 30 years, He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” so He released it.

Jesus fully God.

We already discussed how Jesus was fully God before He arrived as a baby, but how or when did He regain His deity?  At the beginning of His ministry.

All four Gospels describe this scene is almost the exact same way, but I like Luke’s version. “when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”” (Luke 3:21-22)

From this point through the ascension, Jesus was still fully man but was also fully God.

Why does all of this matter?

Simple.  And this part is certainly held with a closed fist.

If Jesus were only God, then His sacrifice would not suffice.  Because it is obvious for God to live a blameless life… but for a man to live a blameless life… on that life could be a worthy sacrifice to pay for our sins.

If Jesus were only man, then His claim to also be God would be false and the entire Gospel message would have no value.


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13 thoughts on “Two things but still one

  1. Do you agree with Jesus about what is most important?
    Poem – What is love?
    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:
    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.
    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.
    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”
    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.
    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan
    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.
    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.
    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”
    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.
    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”
    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

      1. McLean,
        That is a broad question, asking my opinion about the entire written life work of another man – Paul’s 13 letters in our Bible. While my opinion on this may have some value to some people, I suggest we focus first on what the Most Important Person, Jesus, said is the “first and greatest” “most important.”
        Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
        Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.
        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?
        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]
        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]
        In contrast to Jesus, Paul wrote Galatians 5:14, and Romans 13:8-10.
        Do you follow Paul? Or Jesus?

      2. Your last question shows some confusion about Paul. You’re assuming following Paul is not following Christ and visa versa.
        Jesus’s first commandment is love God. Without that there’s no reason to follow the second, love others. Paul’s audience in Galatia was people who already love God, but were doing a poor job of showing love to one another, hence his instructions in Galatians 5 and Romans 8.
        You and I obviously don’t disagree on our view of Christ. But it is a slippery slope to minimize Paul’s instructions and assume that following his instructions is counter to Christ. Once you do that, you undermine Paul, therefore 1/3 of the New Testament.

  2. Mclean,
    You are assuming that Paul’s teaching always agrees with Jesus, and that Paul couldn’t be wrong. You are assuming that Paul was always following Jesus perfectly. You are giving me your opinions about what was in the mind of Paul or the mind of Paul’s audience.
    But the central point I raised remains unanswered by you.
    Which one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ? Jesus was quoting the Law, not making up his own new commandments on the spot.

    1. I did already agree with you on that point…
      29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:29-30. No challenge there at all. I was simply questioning your view that somehow Jesus and Paul were at odds.

      I don’t assume Paul was never wrong but I do believe the bible to be fully inspired by God. This means I do not read Paul’s letters as his opinion.

    2. I saw a very long reply on my phone this morning but now I cannot find it. I did see the first paragraph only where you feel that Paul WAS at odds with Christ because of two verses in Galatians and Romans where he is instructing us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Unfortunately I cannot find the rest of your comment to read your rationale. But by the logic I was able to read, that would put Jesus at odds with Jesus.

      In John 13:35 Jesus tells his disciples that the world will know them by their love for one another. He did not say the world would know us by our love for God.. but Jesus did say that our love for God was the first commandment.

      So if you believe that Paul is at odds with Jesus because he ‘seems’ to be skipping over the most important and only focusing on the second (love for one another), then Jesus’ own words have the same message.

      And by the way, the Bible IS God breathed. To believe anything different is to pick and choose what part of the Bible to believe and what part to disregard. That is a dangerous line of thinking that leads to culture influencing your views. I will not go down that road.

      1. Why not use your computer, to expand your view? My response below deals directly and specifically with you comment.
        You wrote QUOTE: “the Bible IS God breathed”.
        Who said that, where, and what does it mean exactly? Can you read 2 Timothy 3:15 yes FIFTEEN, and tell me, which “Scripture” Paul is referring to in 3:15 and 3:16?
        Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”
        This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.
        But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]
        (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.
        When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
        Here are 3 examples.
        .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”
        .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”
        .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”
        I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….
        This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”
        Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?
        Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.
        The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.
        I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”
        That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.
        When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”
        Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”
        Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]
        As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…
        The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from unconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.
        No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.
        Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.
        We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

      2. It’s obvious your view of Christianity is quite at odds with mine.
        It is also obvious by your tone that you seek to discredit Paul completely. If you were someone I could personally sit down with over a cup of coffee (or perhaps a pot) I would love to continue this discussion. But to attempt to continue via this text format is neither productive or healthy.
        I pray you continue to grow closer to God throughout your life and that He uses you inn amazing ways.

  3. But what is “your view of Christianity” based on? You haven’t quoted the Bible at all here. I have quoted specific points, chapter and verse. If you think I’m wrong, Jesus commands you in Matthew 18 to show me my fault- that means open a Bible.

    Which one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    It depends on who you really believe and trust and follow – Paul, or Jesus.
    They do not agree on this most important point. Paul said in Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8-10 that it’s Leviticus 19:18. Jesus said in Matthew 22 and Mark 12 that no, it’s Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
    Do you have ears to listen to Jesus?

    1. Let’s start with Exodus 20 since BOTH commandments you are siting come from the 10 Commandments.
      1-4 are all about our total and complete love for the 1 true God. Exod 20:3-11
      5-10 are all about how we are to reflect that same love to others. Exod 20:12-17

      Deut 6:4-5 is summarizing the first four, just as Jesus did.
      Lev 19:18 is reflecting on the other 6 commandments.

      This is why Jesus quoted BOTH.
      Matt 22:37-41
      Mark 12:29-31

      So to say that when Paul is teaching the young churches of Greece HOW to live out the ‘second greatest’ commandment, he is in NO way minimizing the first.

      Perhaps you should re-read 1 Cor 1:10-17. I do not ‘follow Paul’ any more than I learn from him and the other Apostles. I follow Christ. This is exactly what Paul was preaching against.

      1. Yes Jesus quoted both – in order.

        Paul only quoted one – the wrong one, in Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8-10.
        Therefore Paul disagreed with Jesus, and Paul was wrong.

      2. Does this mean that quoting one and not another automatically insinuates that you don’t believe or support the other? I guess Jesus disagrees with Himself with that logic.
        “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

        Jesus did not say a second commandment I give you.
        He did not say after loving God first, I give you this commandment. Does this mean that Jesus no longer believed that the FIRST was to love God and the SECOND was to love others?

        OK, this is the last post. There is no way we can hash this out 1,000 miles apart over only text. If we were local to each other, I’d suggest meeting to discuss because I do like the discussion. However, this will degrade to nothing but a banter back and forth if only in text. God Bless…

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