The Deity of Christ


The hypothetical reasoning of Paul regarding the resurrection could be applied to this current topic: If Christ is not divine, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins … we are of all men most miserable. This is not hyperbole; eternity hinges on the identity of the Lord Jesus.

To say that Christ is divine is to say that He has the essential nature and substance of God. He is not ontologically inferior in any way. As a man on earth, He was still co-equally, co-essentially and co-eternally God. There is a distinction of persons within the Godhead, meaning Christ is the Son, and not the Father. Since the substance of God cannot be divided, both persons are divine.

When He was made flesh, He became what He had never been before, but never ceased to be who He ever was. In one person (Christ) there resided two natures (divine and human). He is simultaneously and paradoxically truly God and truly man.[1] This article will focus on the divine nature of the Lord Jesus.

Proving the deity of Christ is “not forcing one or two texts, but the doctrine of Scripture woven into its whole texture.”[2] When purchasing an original painting, a certificate of authenticity is vital, but the buyer wants the see the colours, contrasts and brushstrokes of the artwork as well. He wants to see and feel its reality. So it is with Scripture. There are proof texts in abundance of the deity of Christ (Joh 1:1; 20:28; Rom 9:5; 1Ti 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2Pe 1:1; 1Jn 5:20); these correspond to the certificate. More than this, however, are the shadows, hints, implications and tenses that combine to give the feel and experience of reality.

The Law

The art gallery of Old Testament types shows us that the man Christ Jesus is divine. The ephod of the high priest was a singular item (Exo 39:2,3), with two distinct materials – linen and golden wire (Jews regarded gold as a symbol of deity, hence the golden calf [32:3,4]). The manna was like a gold-coloured seed (Num 11:7), and the tabernacle had badgers’ skins on the outside (Exo 26:14), veiling the gold within. Each type describes one item, with two distinct features, foreshadowing one person (Christ) with two natures (divine and human).


The marriage Psalm of the Messiah pictures the son of David like his “fellows” – He is a man. God says to this king, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Psa 45:6,7).[3] The man on the throne is called God – He is divine.

David’s son is also David’s Lord, showing He is eternal; “The LORD said unto my Lord [Adon], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1; cf. Mar 12:35-37). The Psalmist never considered Adon to be an inferior title to Jehovah (cf. Psa 8:9; 97:5). The fact that there is a man sitting where only God sits tells us that Christ is divine. God is a jealous God and cannot give His glory to another. Christ is sitting in a place reserved for deity – no creature dares sit there (Heb 1:13).

Further proof of His deity is seen in the subjugation of all His enemies. Universal rule is the preserve of God alone; He is the “King over all the earth” (Psa 47:2); only He can be worshipped (Luk 4:8). Since Christ receives the homage and honour due to God, it shows He is divine.


The prophets believed this doctrine too, proclaiming the virgin’s child as Immanuel (Isa 7:14). The son given was the Mighty God (9:6). They said that a messenger would be sent in advance to prepare the way of Jehovah (40:3; Mal 3:1). Fast forward to the Gospels and John the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus of Nazareth (Mat 3:3). The Synoptics harmonize with the prophets, since Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah of hosts.

Long before the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah said, “Thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation” (9:9). He further describes this king as “the LORD … king over all the earth” (14:9). Zechariah records both advents of the King and calls Him Jehovah – this is “the King of the ages” (1Ti 1:17 JND).

Incommunicable Attributes


The Lord Jesus is self-existent, self-sufficient and absolutely independent of His creation. He has life in Himself (Joh 5:26), and, as the I AM, is complete in Himself (8:58). Further, He is the non-contingent creator; all things received being through Him, meaning He received purpose and existence from none (1:3). The mystery of His person is that the one with life in Himself forfeited it at the cross. It is not that God died, but Christ having become man died. The self-sufficient one hungered, and the uncaused creator, who needed nothing, stooped to purchase a bride as His fulness.


“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Heb 13:8) parallels “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6). The Lord Jesus is Jehovah. In His nature He is changeless, perfect, and does not suffer or fluctuate. He is not the God of open-theism, changing His will and suffering emotionally. Entropy is a feature of creation; it perishes, but the Son “remains” (Heb 1:10,11). Though Son (referring to His divine nature – immutable and impassible), He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (5:8). He could only suffer having become man, but such passions have made Him “perfect” (2:10) and fitted Him to be our merciful High Priest. Small wonder we sing of this Priest, “O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”[4]


“He that cometh from heaven is above all” (Joh 3:31) and “I am from above” (8:23) are statements of transcendence. Though a lowly carpenter who walked Galilee’s roads, He was still inhabiting eternity, higher and greater than all. The one who came down from heaven was still the Son of man in heaven (3:13). He was far beyond man’s reach, but came so near that He was seen and touched.


Though He came in flesh and blood, there is an aspect to the person of Christ that is far beyond our comprehension – unsearchable. Job understood this to be a divine attribute, saying, “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out” (37:23). Luke concurs, recording, “No man knoweth who the Son is” (10:22). This refers to the inner life of the Son, aside from His dealings with man. Had He not chosen to reveal Himself, we would still be blind.


In order to prove the invisible reality of His divine nature, the Lord Jesus performed miracles. The healing of the lame man is a classic example. The Lord Jesus claimed to forgive his sins (Mar 2:5), but the Jews thought that this was a work only God could do (v7). Being omniscient, He knew their thoughts (v8) and presented them with a humanly impossible dilemma. Sins forgiven, or lame walking? To prove the invisible reality – that this man’s sins were forgiven and that He was God – He told the lame man to walk.  No wonder they said, “We never saw it on this fashion” (v12).

Similarly, when the Lord Jesus claimed that God was His Father (Joh 5:17), He was claiming to have the same nature as God. To prove this invisible reality, He outlined visible works that He would perform. His works are the classic works of deity: salvation, condemnation, adoration (vv21-24). The works are described as being given by the Father, showing the functions of the Godhead. But they all spring from the same source – the Father and Son have the same essence, distinct persons notwithstanding. Who else but an everlasting person could impart everlasting life? Who else but an omniscient judge could know every case and assess every heart in global judgment? Christ did these works exactly as the Father would have done them.

No wonder He said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (14:9), the perfect and visible expression of the substance of God (Heb 1:3). Only God can reveal God.


Eternality is another proof of deity, and this attribute is revealed as a title in Scripture: “I am the first, and I am the last … beside me there is no God” (Isa 44:6). The New Testament equivalent is, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (Rev 1:11). John ascribes this title to the Son of man, the Lord Jesus. John further describes the Son of man as the Ancient of Days of Daniel’s prophecy (cf. Dan 7:9; Rev 1:14). He doesn’t use the title but mirrors the same features. Daniel saw the Son of man and the Ancient of Days as distinct persons. John saw the same essence. Both were right.

The Lord Jesus is also called the “Holy One” (Act 3:14), “true God” (1Jn 5:20) and “Son of God” (Mat 14:33). He has the names and titles of God, for He is God.


When considering the mystery and wonder of our blessed Lord, we can only fall at His feet and exclaim, “My Lord and my God” (Joh 20:28).

[1] The Chalcedonian Definition:

[2] John Nelson Darby, The Deity of Christ and What Constitutes Christianity:

[3] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

[4] Henry Francis Lyte, Abide With Me (1847)