|The Deity of Jesus Christ|
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning" (John 1:1).
To interpret the Bible correctly, we must understand that Christ had two natures -- one human, and one divine.
The deity of Jesus Christ is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. When Jesus used the divine title "I AM," He was claiming to be God in the flesh: "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" (John 8:58). Jesus proved His claims of deity by His bodily resurrection, which was done through His own power: "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days' ... But the temple He had spoken of was His body" (John 2:19, 21).
Christ did not give up His divine nature in the Incarnation; He willingly placed Himself under the Father's authority. The incarnate Christ never exercised His deity independent of the will and power of the Father. For that reason Christ could say, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" (John 5:19).
To believe in the atonement -- the finished work of Christ on the cross -- requires a belief in His deity. Only a perfect sacrifice could atone for the sins of humankind. Christ, who was fully God and fully man, was that perfect sacrifice.
Practically every cult denies the deity of Jesus Christ. Some teach He was only a created being; others teach He was a man who achieved enlightenment; still others say that Christ was one "god" among many gods. None of these are valid positions in light of what Jesus said and did. Either He was who He claimed to be -- God and Creator who came to redeem us from our sins -- or He was a liar.
"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" (John 8:24).
"The high priest said to Him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied" (Matthew 26:63-64).
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