The most basic expression of the identity of Jesus is simply the statement “Jesus is Lord!”. In Romans 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul presented that statement as the essence of the Gospel. Jesus is the Son of God, as Peter correctly stated in Matthew 16:16.
The identity of Jesus has often been misunderstood. Claims about Jesus include thinking that he had only one nature, that he was two distinct persons, or that he was fully human but not fully divine.
However, orthodox Christianity has always maintained that Jesus was one person with two distinct natures – the nature of his humanity and the nature of his divinity. It was necessary for Jesus to be human so that he could die; it was necessary that Jesus be God so that he could be the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for sins.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value,
went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
(Matthew 13:44–46, ESV)
“Jesus of Nazareth is God; He who was conceived in the womb of the virgin and born in Bethlehem’s manger is now, and always was, God over all, blessed forever. There is no gospel if he be not God. It is no news to me to tell me that a great prophet is born. There have been great prophets before; but the world has never been redeemed from evil by mere testimony to the truth, and never will be.
Tell me that God is born, that God Himself has espoused our nature, and taken it into union with Himself, then the bells of my heart ring merry peals, for now may I come to God since God has come to me.”
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
500 years ago today an Augustinian monk nailed a document to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. That action ignited what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, and the date came to be referred to as Reformation Day. One of my favorite quotes from Luther is:
“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
(Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 12:25-26, ESV)
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:8–9, ESV)
“We teach with Christ and say, “Believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This Gospel is the joyful tidings of God’s favor and grace toward us, and of the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. This message faith accepts through the Holy Ghost; the believer does not behold his former righteousness or unrighteousness, but, like Abraham, “against hope believes in hope” (Rom. 4:18) with the whole heart depends entirely upon the grace, word and promise of the Lord, since he well knows that God is true and His promises can not fail.
Thereby the heart is renewed, converted, made spiritually minded, peaceful and joyous, a child of God is born. The believer approaches with full confidence the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) and becomes a joint heir with Christ and of eternal life.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
(Romans 5:1-2, KJV)
“Now, the chief Emperor (Christ), has issued a decree, which decree he has sealed with his blood, and in this decree it reads, that we must be born again, repent, deny ourselves, take upon ourselves the cross, believe on Jesus Christ, and on our faith be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and to obey his commandments.”
“The returning sinner is not saved by some judicial transaction apart from a corresponding moral change. Salvation must include a judicial change of status, but what is overlooked by most teachers is that it also includes an actual change in the life of the individual. And by this we mean more than a surface change, we mean a transformation as deep as the roots of his human life.”