Question & Answer Forum: Deity, Faith

How can I explain John 10:33-36 to a member of a cult who uses it to deny the deity of Christ?

The Jews were seeking proof that the Lord Jesus was the Christ, or Messiah (John 10:24). He announces to them His role, and the role of His Father in regard to eternal life and the protection of His sheep (John 10:27-29). The climax of this claim is made in verse 30: “I and my Father are one.” This means that He is claiming to be one in purpose and action, as well as one in essence with the Father. The Jews very clearly understood the claims that Christ was making with regard to His deity; thus they took up stones to stone Him.

The Lord Jesus then cites Psalm 82:6; “I said ye are God’s.” Psalm 82 is an indictment on unjust judges and rulers among God’s people. God had conferred a privilege on men. They were acknowledged as those who ruled, and were called gods or judges. However, because of their unjustness and impropriety, they would die like other men when God judged them.

The Jews are then presented with a problem. If God called unjust men “god’s” and “sons of the most High,” how could they object to the one Who had been sanctified by the Father and sent into the world claiming to be Who He was, the Son of God? Christ also makes clear that this claim of deity has been validated, attested by His works.

In summary, Christ is claiming equality with God (John 10:30). This has been witnessed and is attested by the Scriptures (10:34-35), is endorsed by the Father (10:36) and is validated by His works (10:38). Cults may deny the eternal and absolute deity of the Lord Jesus, but the Jews clearly understood His claims.

-John Meekin

What does Romans 12:6, “according to the proportion of faith,” mean?

There are three main New Testament passages dealing with the subject of spiritual gifts: In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, nine gifts are identified; in Romans 12:6-8 seven gifts are seen, and in Ephesians 4:11 five gifts are mentioned.

The first gift mentioned in Romans 12 is prophecy. This has a two-fold connotation in Scripture. It can mean foretelling, i.e., prophesying things which will happen in the future; or it may denote a specific message from God, given by revelation and announced by the person with the gift of prophecy to meet a specific need. In this connection, Paul says let the person prophesy according to the proportion of faith.

Some suggest that faith in this context has a subjective meaning. The prophet is to speak in accordance with his personal faith. He should only speak when he is sure of the words given to him by God and should not proceed when God has given him nothing further.

It should be noted the the word “faith” has the definite article meaning “the faith.” Therefore, an objective meaning can be suggested in the context. Prophesying should be in keeping with the proportion of the faith. The word proportion indicates “that which is in a right relationship with or that which is in agreement with.” My preferred understanding of the text is this objective sense. As the prophet speaks, he is to make sure that the words which he is delivering are in agreement with the body of Christian teaching already in existence. He must be careful to ensure that he is not speaking something which contravenes the apostle’s doctrine.

-John Meekin