People are quick to identify Jesus as “the Son of God” or “the Messiah.” However, few know the implications of Jesus being the Son of God. How each person views Jesus has a huge impact on what one believes and how a person lives one’s life. Many people recognize Jesus as the Messiah but not as God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Others perceive Jesus as the Son of God, but they also include Jesus as God among many infinite gods (John 8:58). Those who believe these heresies form religious groups that most Christians recognize as cults.
Many nominal “Christians” do not desire to learn more about Jesus’s divine nature. When people do not respect Jesus’s deity, they do not respect His words. Who reads Jesus’s words as the words of God? Christians who know Christ know His words are essential. Furthermore, Jesus upholds the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3).
While in time past, God spoke by the prophets in many ways, He has spoken through His Son in the last days (Heb 1:1–2). The epistle to the Hebrews recognized the deity of Christ by the fact that God created the world through Jesus inferring that Jesus is equal in creative power with God. Because Jesus is equal in creative power, then Jesus is equal in deity to the Creator God. John observed that Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1–3). God spoke the creation into existence by the Word. Furthermore, Hebrews revealed that Jesus is the radiance of God and the exact imprint of His nature (Heb 1:3). God declared the greatness of Jesus. He is greater than all angels (Heb 1:4). No one should perceive any transcendent being or angel as greater than God’s Son. All the angels worship Jesus (Heb 1:6). Jesus sits at the right hand of God in heaven (Heb 1:13).
Jesus became flesh to conquer death by making appeasement for sins (Heb 2:14, 17). Jesus was tempted in every way and yet He is without sin (Heb 4:15). Christ’s sinless state affirms that He is God come in the flesh. The writer of Hebrews revealed from scripture that Jesus is God forever and God anointed Him God who is Jesus (Heb 1:8–9). Jesus being the Word of God laid the foundation of the earth and formed the heavens (Heb 1:10). Unlike the creation, Jesus has no end of years (Heb 1:11–12).
Faith in Jesus includes more than believing that Jesus is the Son of God or a great prophet. Faith in Jesus means believing that Jesus is God for whom all things were created. He is sinless and His teachings are without error. For this reason, every observant person lives by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus’s deity changes the believer to a disciple. Anyone who wants life to change will first recognize who Jesus really is. Jesus taught, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24 ESV).
By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
The apostle Paul warned that those who pervert the gospel of Christ will be accursed (Gal 1:6–9). Paul also revealed that distorting the teaching of the bodily resurrection rejects Jesus's bodily resurrection (1 Cor 15:12–19). This disbelief led many in the church to live immoral lives (1 Cor 6:9–15; 15:31–34). I find that most false teachings and immorality come by a distortion of the core truths of the gospel of Christ.
For instance, someone who does not believe that Jesus is sinless and infallible infers that Jesus is not God come in the flesh (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Furthermore, if Jesus is not the fullness of God bodily, then Jesus must have sinned and His words would be fallible and have errors (John 1:1, 14; Col 2:9). When someone does not see Jesus's words as without error, then neither are the Scriptures inerrant that record the words of Christ, His apostles, and past prophets of the OT. With this view, most if not all doctrines of Christ become open to one’s personal opinions. People begin following self and society, or they alter true worship, the Lord's Supper, and baptism.
Many do not understand nor believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead. That lack of faith undermines basic truths including Jesus's deity. Jesus's sinless nature means that the consequence of sin — death — could not hold Him (Acts 2:24). If Jesus did not resurrect, then the hope of bodily resurrecting to glory is lost (1 Cor 15:20–28, 54–57). Jesus's resurrection overcame the corruption and decay of this world for the redemption of the bodies of believers on the last day (Rom 8:18–25). Furthermore, rising from baptism to new life loses significant meaning for salvation and forgiveness of sins if Jesus did not actually resurrect (Col 2:12–13; 1 Pet 3:21).
Dismissing Jesus’s resurrection affects other teachings. For example, many forsake assembling with the church on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, Jesus resurrected and came to His disciples. His disciples felt the wounds of Jesus's death marveling with joy as they became witnesses to Jesus's bodily resurrection (Luke 24:36–49). Likewise, Christians assemble on the first day of the week as believers marveling with joy at Jesus's resurrection. For the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the faithful assemble to thank and praise God together and seek to grow in His Word. Without Jesus’s resurrection, Christians would not have a foundation for assembling on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
We should not think that God approves of whatever we want to believe. Jesus is God in the flesh and without sin. Therefore, Jesus’s words are without error. He died, was buried, and resurrected bodily because He did not sin. Christ ascended to the right hand of God in heaven. These elementary teachings are essential to avoid error.
By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
Jesus foretold of the last day when the dead will bodily resurrect and come forth from the tombs (John 5:28–29; 6:40; cf. 1 Thess 4:13–18). This event is “miraculous” — a supernatural wonder worked by God. The glorification of resurrected bodies, the catching up to be with Christ, the first heaven and earth passing away, and the new heaven and new earth coming to reality. This miraculous event is coming and so supernatural wonders have not ceased in every way forever. God does wonderful things today even healing all diseases (Ps 103:3).
Today, many people claim to receive direct revelation from God and some claim to work “miraculous” gifts through their hands (Acts 14:3). The apostle Paul revealed that spiritual gifts — supernatural works done by the hands of the faithful — would cease at the completion of knowledge and prophecy by the coming completion of God’s revelation (1 Cor 13:8–12). When was this completion of revelation? In the first century, the writer of Hebrews declared that God has spoken to humanity in these last days by His Son (Heb 1:2). Near the end of his life, Peter also reflected that God had given all things for life and godliness by the knowledge of Christ (2 Pet 1:3).
Along with claims to doing wonders, many are declaring that they have direct revelation from the Holy Spirit because Jesus promised that the Spirit would guide His apostles into all truth (John 14–16). However, Jesus promised this to His apostles and not every Christian. If this passage applied to every believer, then Christians would have no need of the Scriptures because the Spirit would reveal all truth to each believer (John 16:12–13). Because Jesus gave all truth through His apostles and prophets in the Scriptures, then He does not need to reveal all truth again (2 Tim 3:16–17; cf. Eph 3:3–5). However, many now claim to have more revelation to add to “all the truth” that the Holy Spirit already revealed.
The purpose of “miraculous” signs done by men’s hands was to confirm that these apostles and prophets spoke God’s revelation (Mark 16:17–20). The evangelist Mark revealed, "And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs" (Mark 16:20). Hebrews 2:3–4 also revealed that God bore witness by signs, wonders, and powers through gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Have the miraculous signs confirmed the message of Christ? Yes. Has the Spirit revealed all truth through the apostles to the church in the New Testament Scriptures? Yes. The working of supernatural signs through people’s hands has fulfilled its purpose and has ceased, because the Spirit has completed His mission to reveal all truth accomplishing the completion of revelation by prophecy.
By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
All the lofty goals and great expectations that we seek to accomplish can become overwhelming. We feel guilt, regret, and degradation for oneself when we cannot meet our own expectations. Most of us become frustrated, resentful, and angry when others get in the way and keep us from doing what we see is best for everyone. Many of us struggle with anxiety, worry, and stress because of circumstances outside of our control. Eventually, a few of us simply give up, depress, and isolate ourselves, so we feel exhausted and empty. However, Christians do not need to live this way.
Christians can make goals, plan to do great things, and never meet those personal expectations. Who set those expectations? We do not determine God’s love for us by us accomplishing personal goals offered to Him. Christ can accomplish great things through each person without them setting the goals and giving exhaustive effort to change what they cannot control.
People want their spouses to change for the better, and they want their children to live life in a more sensible way. However, they can never do enough to earn their constant love and admiration. Mature Christians can see that they can do little to affect change except to live a simple life in Jesus Christ and let Christ affect others through them.
No one has greater control or influence over another than Jesus Christ. He is the one person in history who has changed the world and continues to change the world. Most of us want to change everything around us and yet we refuse to make the one simple change that changes everything. Give yourself as a living sacrifice to Christ and be renewed in your mind (Rom 12:1–2).
As the apostle Paul resolved to honor Christ in life or death, Paul declared, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). For Paul, to live in the flesh meant fruitful labor to do what is best for others by living for Christ (Phil 1:20–26). Therefore, the apostle had decided earlier in life no longer to live for himself because he was crucified with Christ. Paul professed, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
Instead of overbearing yourself with various expectations, just live a simple life devoted to Jesus Christ and let Christ work great things through you. The best path for each person is to live a life that is Christ getting to know Christ and becoming more and more like Him. Trials and temptations were never go away, but every person can draw closer to Jesus Christ. The faithful live having learned from Christ “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:20–24).
By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have,” Jesus declared to His disciples revealing Himself as resurrected from the dead (Luke 24:39 ESV). Paul revealed, “God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14; cf. Rom 8:11; 1 Thess 4:16; 1 John 3:2). However, Paul also noted, “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor 15:50). Is this a contradiction? How can Christians resurrect as Christ rose flesh and bones when flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God?
The apostle Paul answered this question when he addressed a similar question, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” (1 Cor 15:35). Paul explained the nature of the resurrected body in 1 Corinthians 15 — “the Resurrection Chapter.” The flesh-and-blood body is the natural body. Paul revealed, “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (15:44a). The Greek word for “natural” in this passage does not mean physical but one of the soul and of the nature of this world. The apostle described the natural body as perishable, dishonorable, and weak, but the resurrected body is imperishable, glorious, and powerful (15:42–43). The weak body is natural like Adam who was “a man of dust,” and the glorious body is spiritual like Jesus’s resurrected body (15:45–49).
When Jesus returns, the faithful do not put off their old bodies and put on new spiritual bodies. Instead, the mortal bodies put on the immortal nature. The apostle referred to the flesh and blood as the perishable and mortal (1 Cor 15:50). Those who are alive at Jesus’s coming will change and the dead will resurrect imperishable (15:51–52). The flesh-and-blood body will change and not be put off but raised to life again. That mortal body resurrects to immortality (15:52). Paul described, “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (15:53). Paul observed that the faithful would not be unclothed of their body but further clothed so “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4).
In conclusion, the bodies that rise will resurrect like Jesus in flesh and bones and yet put on the spiritual nature of immortality as Jesus bodily rose from the dead. On the last day, the bodies of the faithful will transform and become supernatural. Resurrection unto eternal life is the hope and wonder of the Christian faith. For this reason, Christians rejoice and thank God. Paul revealed, “But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil 3:20–21).