There are many people today who claim they have a relationship with Jesus Christ and are basking in what they perceive to be their salvation security. They feel they are secure in knowing their eternal salvation is in heaven just by saying Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but if you press them they may actually confess something else, something very disturbing. Listen carefully and you might just hear them say “I don’t actually believe Jesus Christ is God.” Are they really saved if they don’t believe Jesus is God?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Does that verse actually say we must believe Jesus is the Son of God or does it say we must believe in Him? The Greek word for believe is “pisteuō” The following are all of the words my concordance gives as the English equivalent to this Greek word: believe, commit unto, commit to (one's) trust, be committed unto, be put in trust with.
When anyone says yes to Jesus Christ, they’re saying, “yes this sinner believes”. They’re saying, “Lord Jesus, I believe you paid the price for my sins, that you died for me on that cross, and that you were buried, but rose from the grave after three days just as the scriptures state. I believe who you are and what you did for me, and I’m sorry you had to die that horrible death to save your creation.” Surely this should be the response to the calling of the Holy Spirit as another sinner becomes truly born again.
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.
What’s in a name?
Jesus explains unequivocally that he who does not believe is condemned already. Why? Because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. We believe He is the Son of God, that’s true, but a complete understanding comes only after we confess that we believe He died on the cross for us and rose again on the third day.
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31)
Through His name we might have life.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.
God gave us His only begotten Son and He shall be called what? Wonderful – Counsellor – The mighty God – The everlasting Father – The Prince of Peace. So, what’s in a name?
What does Jesus mean by His statement “hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God?” (John 3:18b)
Here’s what it means to believe in the “name.” His name defines His authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc. His name represents “the title and dignity” of our Lord.
“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” (Ephesians 1:21).
And also “... as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name ...” (Hebrews 1:4)
That’s what He means when He tells us to believe in His name. But is that all of what He means when He says “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life?”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28, 29)
Recognize that phrase “believe on Him” in the above two verses? That phrase is also in John 3:18. We must understand the meaning behind those verses. The original Greek used here actually signifies continual and unbroken succession, until the end. As we can clearly see there is more to the Greek word “pisteuō” translated into English as “believe” than our English rendering conjures up.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” (John 9:36-38)
Jesus had just healed a man and then asks him whether or not he believed on Him. By the way, if Jesus weren’t God why would He allow the man to worship Him? We are only to worship God.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Paul is telling us we must believe in our hearts. What’s he mean by that?
“Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament words gives us this explanation for the word heart: Our hearts are the seat of physical life. The heart also denotes the seat of our moral nature and spiritual life; it’s the seat of grief, joy, desires, affections, perceptions, thoughts, understanding, reasoning powers, imagination, conscience, intentions, purpose, will, and faith.” There is so much more to believing than what comes across from reading the English word “believe.”
What do people believe in? Let’s take evolution for example. Many believe in evolution because that’s what they are taught in public school. Even though there is absolutely no proof of that fairy tale? Students believe their teachers and grow up and teach their children the same.
They might just as well say they believe in the tooth fairy since there is actually more proof of a tooth fairy then there is for evolution. It’s easy to say we believe in something without actually placing our faith and trust in that something. To believe in Jesus means we place our absolute and total trust in Him.
This is at the core of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ which is what we plainly see from the original Greek renderings. To admit that Jesus is the Son of God stems from believing everything else about Him including the fact that He is God. Even the Pharisees of Jesus’ time knew, without a doubt, that Jesus, when admitting He was the Son of God, was actually saying He is God. That’s why they always tried to kill Him. It was blasphemy for anyone to say they were God except God.
It’s really only been since moving to the Mid-West portion of the United States with my wife and daughter that I’ve encountered folks who profess to be Christians and yet openly admit they don’t believe Jesus Christ is God after admitting He’s the Son of God. To tell you the truth I’m literally shocked each time this occurs. Why? Because I’ve only been confronted by this anomaly in Christian Church services.
I’ve even encountered pastors who tell me they aren’t sure Jesus is God or that He is the only way to heaven. My pastor actually told me we can’t be dogmatic about whether Jesus is actually God or not.
Folks, if Jesus Christ, the Old Testament prophesied Messiah, who came into this world and died on a cross as our Kinsmen Redeemer, who took upon Himself the sin of the world isn’t God, then I must tell you flat out that there’s not one person saved, past, present, or future, and our Christian faith is only a vain pretence and we have no assurance of eternal salvation.
“Depend upon it, my hearer, you never will go to heaven unless you are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God. They are all doing it there (in heaven)” —Charles Spurgeon
Only a perfect God could possibly have sacrificed Himself for His Creation as Jesus did. Then this perfect God raised Himself again from the dead. These are two of the main beliefs we as believers must have if we are to be called by His name. If you believe Jesus died on a cross two thousand years ago for your sins and yet you don’t believe He’s God, then you believe in human sacrifice. No human sacrifice could possibly suffice as the propitiation for the sins of mankind.
“Well I believe Jesus is the Son of God, but I don’t believe He’s God.” That very statement is a damnable heresy. It isn’t enough to simply say Jesus the Christ is God’s Son but believe He’s some sort of lesser god or no God at all. How can we possibly believe everything He did and not believe He’s God?
After all we believe in the virgin birth, we believe He had an earthly ministry, we believe He changed water into wine, He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, walked on water, made the lame to walk, and fed thousands with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
We believe He went willingly to the cross, that He died on that cross, and that He told one of the thieves hanging next to Him that he would, that very day, be with Him in Paradise. We believe He spent three days in the grave and rose from the dead on the third day all according to the scriptures. Isn’t that what Christians believe? And much more? How can Jesus the Christ not be God Almighty?
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name (there’s that phrase again) of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.’ ‘And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life,” 1 John 5:13 and 20. Jesus is the true God and eternal life.
In a Bible study class I attend there’s a man who professes to be a Christians yet he doesn’t believe Jesus is God. He was asked what he does with the Scripture verses where Jesus said “When you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father” and also “I and the Father are one.”
He said he had never heard those verses before. Then I asked this professing Christian man if he believed the Bible is the inerrant word of God. He said “No. Man has corrupted it over the years.” This man obviously needs a lot of help, but it’s interesting that he’s been attending a Christian Church for years. What’s he come away with in all the teachings that he’s attended? “I don’t believe Jesus is God”.
Is this man, along with his apparent complete lack of biblical knowledge, indicative of many in our churches today? Possibly. There is a huge void where the word of God is concerned. I’m at a loss to understand the reasoning behind such a lack of biblical knowledge in these final days especially since there is so many different teaching aids available for those seeking the truth. Aha, there it is, the key words here are “seeking the truth.”
What is the purpose of attending church services if you don’t believe the Book the pastor is teaching from? Why attend a Christian Bible study class if you don’t believe in the Book you’re supposedly studying from? What’s the point of calling yourself a Christian if you believe the One who is called the Christ was only a nice guy or a good teacher? If necessary, would you lay down your life for this good teacher?
Some of the most obvious scriptures proclaiming Jesus’ deity are in John’s Gospel. Jesus refers to Himself as the I AM in the Gospel of John chapter 8, verse 58. He’s claiming to be God Almighty. John refers to Jesus as the Creator of the world :
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)
Paul does the same thing in Colossians 16 and 17. Jesus Christ is the Creator God who created this universe. The verse that is most often overlooked when we seek to point out to those who doubt the deity of Jesus Christ is this one:
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
Jesus is stating emphatically that He is God; By making the statement “I AM” Jesus is claiming to be the voice which spoke to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3:14.
In the original Greek language the he in the above verse is not present. I AM is in the original language and it’s “egō eimi” in the Greek but there’s no “he” to be found in that verse in the Greek. The phrase which follows stating “you shall die in your sins” is the Greek word “apothnēskō” and is speaking of eternal death, to be subject to eternal misery in hell.
This is a scathing indictment for all those who can’t seem to get their minds around the fact that Jesus is God. If you’re one of those individuals getting your biblical knowledge from the Discovery channel you might want to actually pick up your Bible and read it for yourself.
Stop listening and parroting what you hear from the secular establishment about the fallacy of the Holy Bible and start believing. The truth of the matter is the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Jesus is God, and the Bible states that fact more times than I have room for here in this commentary.
I could write a book on the fact that Jesus is God using both Old and New Testament scriptures but for now this commentary will have to suffice. The first five words in the book of Revelation tell us whose revelation it is. This is Jesus the Christ speaking as John wrote it down. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
Not to discount the rest of the verse, but did you get those last two words “the Almighty”? The Greek word used here is “pantokratōr” and can be translated into English as Omnipotent and when it’s used it refers only to God.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
If you’ve been wrestling with this idea of whether or not Jesus Christ is God you had better make up your mind in a hurry. Life, as we’ve grown accustomed to, is drawing to a close. There’s an evil dawn on the horizon, and the rapture of Christ’s Church is imminent. We must all choose to place our faith, trust and our entire lives in Jesus’ hands because Jesus is God.
God bless you all.