Monday, November 2, 2015

Christ – Our Hope and Trust



More Proofs for the Deity of Christ Pt. 4
 By Sam Shamoun



We continue with the next installment in our series.

Another way in which the NT illustrates the Deity of the Lord Jesus is by emphasizing the necessity of taking Christ as the object of one’s love, faith, hope, and trust, since he is the only means of salvation for the entire world:

“‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, AND TRUST ALSO IN ME. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.’ ‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. ‘We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the command of God our Savior, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, OUR HOPE, To Timothy, my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father AND Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:1-2

Contrast this with the Holy Bible’s express prohibition against trusting and depending on any person for one’s salvation:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises unto my God while I have my life. Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath leaves him, and he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faithfulness forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord releases the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are brought down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord preserves the sojourners; He lifts up the fatherless and widow, but on the way of the wicked He brings disaster. The Lord shall reign forever, your God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise you the Lord!” Psalm 146:1-10

Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when good comes, but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green, and it shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:5-10

Jesus himself taught that mankind was evil by nature,

If you then, BEING EVIL, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”” Luke 11:13

The world cannot hate you. But it hates Me, because I testify concerning it, that its works are evil.” John 7:7

Which is why he wouldn’t entrust himself to any of them:

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all men, and did not need anyone to bear witness of man, for He knew what was in man.” John 2:23-25

This indicates that neither Jesus nor his followers thought that Christ was simply an ordinary, fallible human prophet, since he/they wouldn’t have commanded people to place their entire hope and trust in him if he/they did. After all, to exhort individuals to trust a mere human being for their salvation would be an express violation of God’s Word.  

What makes this all the more remarkable is that the risen Lord even ascribes to himself the very words and works which the above OT texts attribute to Jehovah!

For instance, Christ is the One who raises the dead, gives sight to the blind, and releases the captives:

“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. And His fame went throughout the surrounding region. He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by everyone. He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. When He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He rolled up the scroll, and He gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:14-21

“The following day He went into a city called Nain, and many of His disciples and a large crowd went with Him. When He came near the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then He came and touched the coffin, and those who carried it stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ He who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. Fear came on everyone. And they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen up among us!’ and ‘God has visited His people!’ This rumor of Him went throughout all Judea and the surrounding region. The disciples of John told him of all these things. John, calling for two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the One who is coming, or shall we look for another?’ When the men had come to Him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, “Are You the One who is coming, or shall we look for another?”’ In that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and afflictions and evil spirits. And to many who were blind He gave sight. So Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of Me.’” Luke 7:11-23

Jesus is also the One who searches and knows the hearts and minds of everyone, being the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the First and the Last that comes to repay every single person for what s/he has done:

For the Son of Man shall come with HIS angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then HE will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like fine brass, says these things: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience, and that your last works are more than the first… and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the hearts and minds. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23b

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me to give to each one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last I, Jesus, have sent My angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’… He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:12-13, 20

This isn’t the only time where the risen Christ identifies himself as the First and the Last:

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though I were dead. Then He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, though I was dead. Look! I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’” Revelation 1:17-18

To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The First and the Last, who was dead and came to life, says these things:” Revelation 2:8

Astonishingly, “the Alpha and the Omega” and “the First and the Last” are titles which the God-breathed Scriptures employ for the true God:

He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the spring of the water of life to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’” Revelation 21:6-7 – cf. 1:8

Thus says the Lord the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6 – cf. 41:4; 48:12

Even the Quran agrees that “the First and the Last” is a title for Deity:

He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. S. 57:3 Pickthall

This explains why God’s revelation commands everyone everywhere to place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, even though it expressly prohibits believers from putting their hope in any human being. Christ is no mere man, but is the eternal divine Son of God and Creator of all things who became flesh for the salvation of the world that he brought into existence (cf. John 1:1-5, 9-14, 18; Acts 3:12-16, 26; 4:12; 13:23, 38-39; Colossians 1:13-23; Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-12; 2:9-18; 3:3-6; 4:14-16; 6:19-20; 7:23-28; 9:23-28; 10:4-18; 1 John 1:1-3, 7; 2:1-2; 4:9-10, 14; 5:18-21; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:5-14; 7:9-17).

With the foregoing in view, could the Holy Bible be any clearer that Jesus Christ is God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit)?

Lord willing, there will be more articles in this series which will appear shortly.

All scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible. 

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