“What do you think of Jesus Christ? Who is He? According to Christianity this is the most important question you or anyone else will ever have to face. It is important because it is inescapable—you will have to answer it sooner or later, in this world or in the world to come—and because the quality of your life here and your eternal destiny depend upon your answer. Who is Jesus Christ? If He was only a man, then you can safely forget Him. If he is God, as he claimed to be, and as all Christians believe, then you should yield your life to him. You should worship and serve him faithfully.” – James Montgomery Boice
The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.
What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.
These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The portion of the prologue we examine today is John 1:1-4: God Exists!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The first three words of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning,” link us to Genesis 1:1 and the original account of creation. The Apostle John introduces the central character of his gospel: the Divine Creator known as the Word.
“In the beginning was the Word.” At the beginning of creation this Word existed.
The term “Word” within this context is a title of deity. Rather than identifying the Word as an abstract force of creation, John declares the Word to have existed before or prior to creation. The Word is eternal.
“And the Word was with God,” The Word was not alone. He was with God. The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity. The Word enjoyed the splendors of heaven and eternity with the Father (Isaiah 6:1–13; cf. John 12:41; 17:5), The eternal Word was in eternal fellowship with God.
“And the Word was God”. He was in the beginning with God.” Not only was the Word in intimate fellowship with God, the Word was also God. The Greek grammar in the text indicates that the Word (specifically identified in 1:17 to be Jesus Christ) possesses all the attributes and identify of God. Colossians 2:9 says “For in him (Jesus Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…” The eternal Word was not only in eternal fellowship with God, the Father, but He too is God, the Son.
“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Word (Jesus Christ) was God the Father’s instrument involved in creating everything in the universe. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The eternal Word, who was with God the Father in eternal fellowship and who is Himself God, is the creator of all things.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Since God alone possesses life in Himself, this is another testimony by John that the Word, Jesus Christ, is God. The apostle introduces one of his constant images for and of God: life and light. The eternal Word, who was with God the Father in eternal fellowship and who is Himself God, is not only the creator of all things but is the source of all life.
One commentator writes, “John uses the word “life” about 36 times in his Gospel, far more than any other NT book. It refers not only in a broad sense to physical and temporal life that the Son imparted to the created world through his involvement as the agent of creation (1:3), but especially to spiritual and eternal life imparted as a gift through belief in him (3:15; 17:3; Eph. 2:5). In Scripture “light” and “darkness” are very familiar symbols. Intellectually, “light” refers to biblical truth while “darkness” refers to error or falsehood (cf. Ps. 119:105; Prov. 6:23). Morally, “light” refers to holiness or purity (1 John 1:5).”
Therefore, in summary, John acknowledges that God exists and that Jesus Christ is God. Additionally, Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe and possesses life in all its forms.
As Dr. R.C. Sproul explains, “Faith in the deity of Christ is necessary to being a Christian. It is an essential part of the New Testament gospel of Christ. Yet in every century the church has been forced to deal with people who claim to be Christians while denying and distorting the deity of Christ.”
For your further study on the deity of Christ, I recommend you either download onto your I-Pad or I-Phone or visit www.ligonier.org to access a copy of The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology. Building on the great confessions of faith, this statement is offered to the church by Ligonier Ministries out of a desire to help people regain clarity regarding the person and work of Christ. Ligonier Ministries wanted to provide a statement that could assist the church in applying the classic truths of orthodox biblical Christianity to the challenges of our present day.
Until next time,
Soli deo Gloria!