IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ?

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ? Part 1

 

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. John 1:1

In our last 3 posts we looked at the first of three questions asked to see if Jesus is the “Saviour” and “liberator” of mankind; we took a look at the question IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? we looked at Jesus as the Son of (M)man and also Jesus as the Son of God where we looked at the essence or reality of His nature – the essential nature or reality of Jesus Christ, in which the divine and the human are believed to be combined – How it is possible for Him to be God and man at the same time.

We will in this post continue our look at the first in our classifications of who Jesus Christ is with regards to His Nature, His Pre-Existence and how He fits into the eternal purpose of the Master Planner. We will be having a look at the question –  IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD?

 IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ?

“A virgin would conceive and bear a son whose name is Immanuel—God with us (Isaiah 7:14).

“A child would be born whose name would be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD also hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things IN HEAVEN, and things IN EARTH, and things UNDER THE EARTH; And that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS”

Before we go on to look at the question of Jesus being “equal with God” Let us see what led Apostle Paul to give the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when admonishing the Philippians on the need for unity. There had been disagreements or opposition that led to open conflict among the Philippians; this disagreements, being the product of the vainglory and selfish ambition that existed in some amongst them highlights the fact that though there was the regeneration of the spirit amongst them there was to a lesser extent the regeneration of the mind (will, intellect and emotions). The fullness of this regeneration of the mind as characterised in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:2-4).

These same strife and vainglory can be seen to have been exhibited in religious folks of His (Jesus‘) time; one of these instances is seen when on the Sabbath, He healed the invalid man who had been lying at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. For this (working on the Sabbath) the Jews challenged and when he replied them saying how “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (The Father and Son still working on man’s redemption and building), their ‘jungle justice’ instincts kicked in and they sought to kill Him:

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

Jesus then had to spend so much time explaining the basis of His claim of equality with God (His Father (and ours too) to them:

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel….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……For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man……I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth….But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not….I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” John 5:19-44

Jesus here is showing the result of His training with the Father before His incarnation (becoming human from being God). Just as in any good family, the parents would do everything to empower their children so that they will turn out to be ideally greater than they are; they do not do this thinking that it would lead to their children having greater authority than them or that the children would then turn against them because they feel they are equal to their parents; this a natural instinct to preserve their lineage, make their name greater and even more so to have their won greatness displayed through their children:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ“ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

We can see from what Jesus had to say in John 5 that, this natural instinct in parents is a Godly inheritance and the reaction of the child is to realise the importance of his/her parents irrespective of how successful he’she may be. We need to follow Jesus’ example. Charles Spurgeon observed in THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST:

With no other preface than this we shall ask your attention this morning, first, TO THE SUBJECT OF THAT KNOWLEDGE in which Paul delighted so much. What was this knowledge which, to his mind, was the chief of all and the most worthy to be spread? It was the knowledge of God—truly a most necessary and proper knowledge for all God’s creatures! For a man not to know his Maker and Ruler is deplorable ignorance, indeed! The proper study of mankind is God. Paul not only knew that there is a God, for he had known that before his conversion—none could have more surely believed in the Godhead than did Paul as a Jew.

Nor does he merely intend that he had learned somewhat of the Character of God, for that, also, he had known from the Old Testament Scriptures before he was met with on the way to Damascus. Now he had come to know God in a closer, clearer and surer way, for he had seen Him, Incarnate, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle had also received the knowledge of “the Glory of God.” Never had the God of Abraham appeared so glorious as now! God in Christ Jesus had won the adoring wonder of the Apostle’s instructed mind. He had known Jehovah’s Glory as the One and only God. He had seen that Glory in creation, declared by the heavens and displayed upon the earth. He had beheld that Glory in the Law which blazed from Sinai and shed its insufferable light upon the face of Moses.

But now, beyond all else, he had come to perceive the Glory of God in the face, or Person, of Jesus Christ and this had won his soul! This special knowledge had been communicated to him at his conversion when Jesus spoke to him out of Heaven. In this knowledge he had made great advances by experience and by new Revelations—but he had not yet learned it to the fullest, for he was still seeking to know it perfectly by the teaching of the Divine Spirit and we find him

saying, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”

Paul knew not merely God, but God in Christ Jesus! Not merely “the Glory of God,” but “the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The knowledge dealt with God, but it was Christward knowledge! He pined not for a Christless Theism, but for God in Christ! This, Beloved, is the one thing which you and I should aim to know. There are parts of the Divine Glory which will never be seen by us in this life, speculate as we may. Mysticism would desire to pry into the unknowable—you and I may leave dreamers and their dreams—and follow the clear light which shines from the face of Jesus. What of God it is necessary and beneficial for us to know, He has revealed in Christ! And whatever is not there, we may rest assured it is unfit and unnecessary for us to know.

The Apostle Paul, exhorts us in Philippians 2:5-11:

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD also hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things IN HEAVEN, and things IN EARTH, and things UNDER THE EARTH; And that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

It would be fair to say that;, for Jesus to be equal with God He should have God’s distinctive character, , basic structure, appearance, behaviour or manners, mould or frame, mode of expression: The dictionary gives the meaning of EQUAL as:

Identical in size, quantity, value, or standard: Having the same privileges, rights, status, and opportunities as others: evenly balanced between opposing sides: equipped with the necessary qualities or means to accomplish something: having the same effect, application, or meaning as somebody or something else: somebody or something equal in quality to another.

And FORM as;

A type of something that has various different types: the particular way that something is or appears to be: the shape or structure of a thing that gives it its distinctive character, considered apart from its content, colour, texture, or composition: the shape or appearance of a thing that makes it identifiable: a shape like a person or other living thing that cannot be clearly made out: a mould, frame, or model within which or around which something can be shaped: a model of a human body or torso, used for fitting or displaying clothes.

Now, as we mentioned earlier every parent want his/her qualities (preferably the good ones) to be shown in their children, the father especially wants his children to look exactly like him, very much intrinsically; and would give such children freedom to be themselves within the family which then is shown when they are in the wider society; there is a danger that this freedom can be misconstrued by that child as a passport to live a reckless and disobedient life – challenging every decision of the parents. Jesus did not take this option but instead:

“CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ”

Watchman Nee in SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY explains this further:

The Word of God tells us that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one. In the beginning was the Word, just as in the beginning there was God. The Word was God, and this Word created the heavens and earth. With God in the beginning there was glory. It was an inapproachable glory, the glory of the Son. The Father and the Son are equal, equipotent, coexisting, and existing simultaneously. But there is a difference in person between the Father and the Son. It is not a distinction in intrinsic nature but in arrangement in the Godhead. The Bible says that the Lord did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped (Phil 2:6). To be grasped means to take by force. The Lord’s equality with God is not something that He assumed by force. It is not an assertion or a usurpation because the Lord had the image of God in the first place.

Philippians 2:5-7 form one section, while verses 8-11 form another section. The first section is on Christ emptying Himself. The second section is on Christ humbling Himself. The Lord lowered Himself twice, first in emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity. When the Lord came down to earth, He emptied Himself of the glory, power, position, and image in His deity. As a result of His emptying, those without revelation did not recognize Him and would not acknowledge Him as God, considering Him merely as an ordinary man. In the Godhead the Lord voluntarily chose to be the Son, submitting Himself to the authority of the Father. Hence, He said that the Father was greater than He (John 14:28). The Son’s position was a voluntary choice of our Lord. In the Godhead there is full harmony. In the Godhead there is equality, yet it is happily arranged that the Father should be the Head and that the Son should submit. The Father became the representation of authority, and the Son became the representation of submission.

He went on to say:

Concerning His deity, the Lord was equal with God. But His being the Lord was something given to Him by God. Being made the Lord is something that happened after He emptied Himself in His deity. The deity of the Lord Jesus is something that is based on what He is. Being God is His original position. But His attainment of the position of Lord is based on what He has done. When He laid aside His divine form to fully maintain the principle of submission and subsequently ascended to the heavens, God accorded to Him the position of Lord.

Based on Himself, He is God. Based on His attainment, He is Lord. This lordship was not originally present in the Godhead. This portion in Philippians 2 is very difficult to explain and very controversial. But it is also a most divine passage. Today we have to come to this passage with our shoes off, standing on holy ground. It seems as if there was a conference in the Godhead in the beginning in which a plan was made to create the universe. In this plan the divine persons of the Godhead agreed with each other and came to the understanding that the Father would be the representation of authority. But if there was only authority without submission, authority could not be established, because authority is not something isolated. Hence, there must be submission in the universe.

Two kinds of creatures were created in the universe. The first kind was the angels—spirits. The second kind was man—souls. God’s foreknowledge foresaw the rebellion of the angels and the failure of man. God’s authority cannot be built upon the angels or upon the descendants of Adam. In the Godhead there was a harmonious decision that authority would be established first within the Godhead. From that time on, there was a distinction in operation of the Father and the Son. One day the Son willingly emptied Himself to become a created man as the representation of submission to authority. It was the creature that had rebelled. Therefore, only the submission of a creature could establish God’s authority. It was man who sinned and rebelled. Therefore, only through the submission of a man could God’s authority be established. This is why the Lord had to come to the earth to become a man and to be the same as a creature in every way.

The birth of the Lord is the coming forth of God. He did not retain His authority by being God. Rather, He took up human restrictions by becoming a man, even the restriction of a slave. This was a very risky matter for the Lord. Once the Lord stepped out from the form of God, there was a possibility that He could not return as a man. If He had not been submissive, He could have reclaimed the divine form of His deity only in His position as the Son. However, the principle of submission would have been broken forever. When the Lord stepped out, there were only two ways for Him to return. One was to be a proper man, absolutely and unreservedly submitting with no trace of rebellion, being obedient step by step, and letting God bring Him back and set Him up as Lord. If being a slave had been too difficult for Him, if weakness and the limitations of the flesh had been too much for Him, and if submission had been beyond Him, the only other way to return would have been for Him to force His way back by using the authority and glory of His deity. But our Lord rejected this way, a way which He was not meant to take. He set His heart to subject Himself to the way of submission even unto death.

Since He emptied Himself, He could no longer refill Himself. He did not vacillate in His mind. Since He emptied Himself of all divine glory and authority and stepped forth as a slave, He did not want to go back by any other way than the way of submission. Before He returned, He completed His course of being obedient unto death in the position of a man. He was able to return because He accomplished a perfect and pure submission.

Suffering upon suffering was piled on Him, but He remained absolutely submissive. There was not the slightest reaction or rebellion. Therefore, God exalted Him and ushered Him back as Lord in the Godhead. This was not just a refilling of what had been emptied, but the ushering of a MAN into the Godhead by the Father. The Son became Jesus (the Man), and was received back into the Godhead. Now we know the preciousness of the name of Jesus. In the whole universe there is no one like Him. When the Lord declared, “It is done” on the cross, He did not mean that just salvation had been secured, but that everything that He said had been done. For this He obtained a name that is above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. From that time forward, He was not only God, but Lord as well. His lordship speaks of His relationship with God. It speaks of what He attained before God. His being the Christ speaks of His relationship with the church.

In short, when the Lord came forth from God, He did not intend to return by His deity. Rather, He intended to return through His exaltation as a man. This is how God maintains His principle of submission. It is wrong for us to have even a trace of rebellion. We should submit to authority completely. This is a great matter. The Lord Jesus’ return to heaven was through His being a man and being submissive in the form of a man. As a result He was exalted by God. We must come face-to-face with this matter. In the whole Bible there is hardly any passage as mysterious as this one. The Lord bade farewell to His divine form. He did not return in just His divine form, because He had put on the flesh.

In Him there was no trace of disobedience; consequently, He was exalted by God in His humanity. He stepped forth to give up His glory. He returned to reclaim His glory. All of this was accomplished by God. We need to have the mind in us which was in Christ Jesus. All of us should take the way of our Lord, taking His principle of submission as our principle unto submission and learning submission from one another. Whoever knows this principle will realize that no sin is uglier than rebellion and that nothing is more important than submission. Only when we see the principle of submission can we serve God. God’s principle can be maintained only by submitting in the way that the Lord submitted. Once there is rebellion, we are in the principle of Satan.

We will stop here for now and in our next post we will be looking at how the Father rewarded his Son for His obedience even unto death. meanwhile

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You who said, let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as to beam forth the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of Your majesty and glory as it is manifest in the person and is revealed in the face of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Messiah. We ask that the Holy Spirit may apply these words to the practical situations of our lives and show us how defective the Christian’s life is, where obedience does not rule all; how that life can be exchanged for one of full surrender to absolute obedience; and how sure it is that You our Father in Christ Jesus will enable us to live it out.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

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