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Must We Believe Jesus Is God?  

 

By: Greg Koukl

 

Must a person believe that Christ is God in order to be saved? I don't think it is necessary for you to be aware of that doctrine and hold to it before you can become a Christian and receive forgiveness. But I think that you have to know some doctrine in order to be a Christian, in order to receive God's gift of salvation. I think it is a very fundamental and basic doctrine that you need to know. Basically, you need to know your need and God's provision in Jesus, and then respond to that by trusting Jesus for your salvation. In other words, you trust in the person of Jesus Christ. It may be after that that you find out that Jesus is also God. You don't need to know that Jesus is God before the fact.

In fact, I don't think that the early church had a precise view of that like we do now. I think some of the details of this were worked out in the history of the church during the first couple of centuries. I think it's all there inherent in the Scriptures. I think the early church believed in the divinity of Christ but wasn't sure what to make of that. They weren't sure exactly how all that worked out, and they didn't bother themselves with it because their job at that point wasn't to refine their theology; it was first of all, to get the basic Gospel out and, secondly, to stay alive. So it wasn't till later that they refined these things.

I don't think that a person can repudiate the deity of Christ and call themselves a Christian because I think that the notion of the deity of Christ--God becoming man, God in three persons, one essence--is an essential defining doctrine of the faith. In other words, if you reject an essential or defining doctrine then you cannot call yourself by the title that is defined by these doctrines.

Every word has a definition and usually the definition entails a couple of different things that make the full definition, and if the details are not there, you can't apply the word. The same is true of "Christian." The word Christian and being a Christian entails a couple of particular things historically. One of those particular things is that you believe in the unique deity of Jesus Christ--the Trinity, God become man, Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man, two natures, one person. If you reject that, you might have a very nice religion, but you just don't have Christianity. So in that sense you can't be a Christian and reject the deity of Christ.

Part of the reason I would say that is that we are to believe in God and in Jesus Christ as He is in Himself. In other words, it doesn't seem to me that you can deny the nature of God, the nature of the God of the Scripture, and still call yourself a Christian. John says in John 4:24, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." In other words, there are some fundamental things you have got to have right about God or at least not be willing to repudiate. You can learn them, but once you repudiate them you are repudiating the very God you are saying you are seeking to worship. This is a God who is one God in essence and in substance, but has three persons, Father, Son and the Spirit; and the second person, called the Logos in John 1, takes on humanity, becomes a real man such that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures--the full nature of divinity and the full nature of humanity. And if you reject such a thing, I don't see how you can then say I have put my faith in Jesus because the Jesus that you put your faith in is not the Jesus of the Scriptures, and it is only the Jesus of the Scriptures who really saves you.

So I think that it's actually very critical and I think it's important to point out that Paul himself talked about another Jesus that was preached that some unfortunately accept, but a Jesus that is contrary to the Jesus of Scriptures. In fact, Jesus warned in Matthew 24 that one characteristic of the end times is the fact that false messiahs would come and claim to be someone special and mislead many. And I think that false messiahs are individuals who claim to be messiah or else substitute definitions for the Jesus of Scripture. I think the denial of the deity of Christ is such a substitution.

The Scripture teaches clearly not only that any old god won't do--and we see that in statements like Exodus 20:2-3, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me." The first commandment in fact. We must have the correct God before us. By the same token, any old Jesus won't do either. Jesus says in John 8:24, "Unless you believe that I Am, you shall die in your sins." According to Jesus it was very critical that we have a particular belief about him, and if we don't then we are lost in our sins.

It isn't enough to simply believe in Him. And by the way, that text in John 8 is when Jesus was addressing particular people who had believed in Him in some fashion. But one needs to have an accurate belief in Jesus, not just any belief in Jesus in order for the true Christ to be their savior. I think that those are very critical distinctions and we have to hold to those if the word Christian is going to continue to mean something in particular and not just any religious thought that has to do with some man or any man named Jesus.

 

Related Pages:

Who Is Jesus? 

Is Jesus God?

  

 


       


Questions

The Big Question

Does God Exist?

What Is The Bible?

Is The Bible True?

Who Is Jesus?

Is Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible?

Is Jesus God?

Did Jesus Fulfill Any Prophecies?

Did God Create You?

What About Reincarnation?

Are You Going To Heaven?

What Is The Truth About Hell?

Who Will You Believe?

Want To Find A Good Church?

Looking For A Church In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?

Which Bible Translation Is Right For Me?

 

Objections

"All Religions Lead To God"

"Never Talk About Religion Or Politics"

"Judge Not..."

"The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions"

"A Powerful God Wouldn't Allow So Much Evil..."

"The Church Is Full Of Hypocrites"

"What About Those Who Never Hear About Jesus?"

"A God of Love vs. A God of Wrath"

"A Loving God Wouldn't Send People To Hell"

"You're Only A Christian Because You..."

"As Long As You're Sincere In What You Believe"

"How Do You Know Which Religion Is Right?"

"God Would Never Forgive Someone Like Me"

"I Can't Believe In Miracles"

"Unanswered Prayer Shows God Doesn't Exist"

"What's With All The Different Denominations?"

"Jesus Was Just a Copycat of Pagan Myths"

"What About The Crusades?"

"What About Slavery In The Bible?"

"What About Evolution?"

"What About Homosexuality?"

"Jesus Didn't Say Anything About Homosexuality"

"What About Abortion?"

 

Other Stuff

   Other Beliefs

     Judaism

     Roman Catholicism

     Islam

     Jehovah's Witnesses

     Mormonism

     Seventh-Day Adventism

     Buddhism

     Hinduism

     Baha'i

     New Age

     Christian Science

     Scientology

     Freemasonry

     Oneness Pentecostals

     Unitarian Universalism

     Rastafarianism

     Wicca

     Satanism

What I Believe

Theological Terms and Definitions

Belief Comparison Chart

An Eschatological Overview (End Times)

Good Quotes

Paul Washer Quotes

20 Logical Fallacies

17 Questions Every Christian Should Think About

My Prayer - I Have A Problem...

More Than A Holiday

Honest Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses

Honest Questions For Mormons

Questions For Skeptics

10 Reasons To Tell Your Kids The Truth About Santa

A View From The Life Boat

A Collection of Helpful Bible Passages

A Story About A Boy Named Mikey

Thoughts On The Doctrine Of Definite Atonement

Questions To Ask A Child Before Their Baptism

A Critique Of An Origin-Of-Life Article

No Hope In The Pope

Terrorism - What You Can Do About It

The Impact Of A Blind Elderly Woman

Evidence For The Resurrection - W.O.M.E.N.

 

Apologetics / Evangelism

What Is Apologetics?

Why Should We Do Apologetics?

What Is Presuppositional Apologetics? 

What Do You KNOW? 

What Is Evangelism? 

Why Should We Evangelize? 

Are Christian Doing A Good Job Of Evangelizing? 

7 Reasons People Don't Share Their Faith

The Question Of Evangelism - Words Or Works? 

Is The World In Which We Live In Today Tolerant? 

Preaching What We Practice and Talking The Walk

Man vs. God Centered Evangelism

 

Around the Web

44 Reasons Why Evolution is Just a Fairy Tale

The Scientific Case Against Evolution

Evolution: The Anti-Science

A Letter From An Atheist

Are You A Good Person?

Is This Your Life?

What Does It Mean To Accept Christ?

What's Wrong With The Sinner's Prayer?

An Important Aspect of Baptism

Must We Believe Jesus Is God?

Turn or Burn

Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church

10 Reasons Not To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

10 Principles For New Christians

10 Pitfalls Of The Foolish Apologist

Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions

The Secret About How Some Christians Witness

Preaching God's Love In Acts?

The Gospel In Every Book Of The Bible

7 Key Differences Bewteen Protestant And Catholic Doctrine

A Different Perspective On Halloween

10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye

The Question After A Tragedy - WHY?

The Impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoughts About Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner

A Pastor's Response To The Marriage Debate

Sin By Any Other Name Is Still Sin

Should a Woman Be a Pastor or Elder?

Wives, Submit To Your Husbands?

The Shack - Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

Universalism - A Problem for Everyone

 

Audio / Video

    Original Sermon Jams

     Born Again - Paul Washer

     Does Jesus Know You? - Paul Washer

     We Got An A! - Paul Washer

     A Boy On The Street - R.C. Sproul

     Fearless - R.C. Sproul

     Hypocrites - R.C. Sproul

     Smiling Faces - R.C. Sproul

     Authorized Personnel Only - Tony Evans

     Drive-thru - Tony Evans

     One Flesh - Tony Evans

     Sex - Tony Evans

     The Satisfier - Tony Evans

     Who to Serve? - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     The Voice of Truth - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Transformed - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Where is the Love? - Pastor Ben Maxie

     He Claimed to be God - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Love is a Behavior - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Examine It for Yourself - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Perfect Love - Pastor Ben Maxie

     We Need Preachers - Mike Bongo

     The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism - Mike Bongo 

     I'm Ready - Mike Bongo

     Our Day in Court - Mike Bongo

     Examine Yourself - Mike Bongo

     Exclusivity - Mike Bongo

     Our World - Mike Bongo

     The Great Exchange - Mike Bongo 

     True God - Mike Bongo

    The One Minute Apologist

     Intolerance - Greg Koukl

     Legislating Morality - Frank Turek

     Intelligent Design and Creation - Bill Dembski

     Tolerance is Unbiblical - Josh McDowell

     Homosexual Forgiveness - Michael Brown

     What Must I Do To Be Saved? - Hank Hannegraaff

     Is Jesus A Copycat Savior? - J. Warner Wallace

     The Resurrection - Gary Habernas

     Contradictions In The Bible - Mike Licona

     Is It About Winning Arguments? - Mary Jo Sharp

     Does Christianity Oppress Women? - Dianna Newman

     Is Evil An Argument For God? - Brett Kunkle

   WWUTT (When We Understand The Text)

     Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner?

     Thou Shalt Not Judge?

     God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle?

     Do We Have To Prove That God Exists?

     Preach The Gospel, If Necessary Use Words?

     You Don't Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian?

     I Stand At The Door And Knock?

     God Has Already Chosen Who Will Be Saved?

     Spare The Rod, Spoil the Child?

     The Bible Says Slavery is Okay?

     Are Catholics Saved?

     God Foreknew Who Would Be Saved?

     Does The Bible Say Homosexuality is A Sin?

     Alter Calls And The Sinner's Prayer?

     Worse Than An Unbeliever?

    Kids Section

     The Gospel

     David Platt On Sharing the Gospel With Children

     For The Children: Are You Saved? - Paul Washer

     2 Amazing 11 Year Old Boys

   Other Audio / Video

     Rescue The Perishing

     Emeal Zwayne's Dialogue With A Homosexual

     The Big Questions of Life - Voddie Baucham

   Explore God

     Is There A God?

     Can We Know God Personally?

     Why Does God Allow Pain And Suffering?

     Is Jesus Really God?

     Are Christians Judgmental?

   The Bible Project

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 1 of 2 

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 2 of 2 

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Leviticus Overview

     The Book of Numbers Overview

     The Book of Deuteronomy Overview

     The Book of Joshua Overview

     The Book of Judges Overview

     The Book of Ruth Overview

     The Book of 1 Samuel Overview

     The Book of 2 Samuel Overview

     The Books of 1 and 2 Kings Overview

     The Book of Job Overview

     The Book of Psalms Overview

     The Book of Proverbs Overview

     The Book of Song of Songs Overview

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Hosea Overview

     The Book of Joel Overview

     The Book of Amos Overview

     The Book of Obadiah Overview

     The Book of Jonah Overview

     The Book of Micah Overview

     The Book of Nahum Overview

     The Book of Habakkuk Overview

     The Book of Zephaniah Overview 

Street Conversations

Street Conversations Disclaimer

Street Conversations - George & Paul

Street Conversations - Don

Street Conversations - VeeJay

Street Conversations - Joe

Street Conversations - Ralph 

Street Conversations - Charles

Street Conversations - Ed

Street Conversations - Ken

Street Conversations - Jessica

Street Conversations - Ida

Street Conversations - Earl & Evadel 

Street Conversations - Jim  

Street Conversations - Raheem

Street Conversations - Raheem part 2

Street Conversations - My Mom

Street Conversations - Eddie

Street Conversations - Renee

Street Conversations - Ron

Street Conversations - Rash

Street Conversations - Preacher

Street Conversations - Luis

Street Conversations - Keith

Street Conversations - Hippy

Street Conversations - Rich

Street Conversations - Hippy part 2

Street Conversations - Butch

Street Conversations - Scott

Street Conversations - Marcos

Street Conversations - Will & James

Street Conversations - Alexander and Valerie

Street Conversations - Jerry and Steve

Street Conversations - Blake

 

Me      

My Baptism

Parable Of The Talents  

Survey Says  

A Hard Lesson  

Talking About Jesus  

The Perfect Gift  

A Faith Worth Thinking About  

Stand Strong  

Peace At Christmas  

Resolutions From Revelation  

Takin' The Gospel To The Streets  

Responding Rightly To The Gospel Of Grace  

A Defense That Honors God And His Word  

Encouragement In Corinth  

The Dash

Surrendering To Win

The Gospel

The Laborers Are Few; Therefore...

Love Has No Labels - A Response

Faith That Works

Atheists: They Don't Exist

YOU Must Be NEW

 

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