One of the key doctrinal distinctions that separates genuine Christianity from not just other religions but from those groups that claim to be Christian such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims or Mormons is the issue of who is Jesus Christ. While others may claim to revere Jesus, they fall short of declaring Him to be God.
Rather they will say things like He is a god, or the first thing that God created. Islam declares Him to be a prophet, and thus they say they revere Jesus. However, when pressed these groups will have to admit they do not acknowledge Jesus as being God.
It is understandable why they would believe the way they do. In fact, the bible declares the idea of God being manifest in human flesh to be a mystery. It calls it the “mystery of godliness according to the Scripture below.”
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (1 Timothy 3:16).
I will be the first to admit that I cannot fully explain how such a thing can be. The idea of an all-powerful, omnipresent, all-knowing being that existed before the foundation of the world becoming a man that had a beginning is something that I cannot begin to comprehend. Some have said that His “God essence” entered into a human body in a matter akin to that of demon possession, but that is not what happened at all.
No, He was all God while at the same time being all man. Just because we cannot explain it does not mean that it isn’t so. This is what faith is all about and the declaration that Jesus is God is the fastest way to weed out those who claim to be Christians.
During the 2012 presidential election, evangelical leaders attempted to say that Mormons are Christians because they believe that Jesus died for our sins and the bible is the final authority. However, Mormons claim that although Jesus died for our sins, He was not God. In fact, they teach that Jesus and Satan were brothers. That is an outrageous and blasphemous statement. Jesus was not a brother to the evil one, He is God.
This is a vital truth and Christianity cannot survive without it. In fact, if He was not God then we are still in our sins and on our way to hell.
Because of our sins against God, we fall under the condemnation of God’s law. We owe a debt to the One we have transgressed against. In order to satisfy the demands of God’s justice, someone must pay the price for the sins of each individual. That person cannot have their own sin to pay for. If they did, they cannot pay the price for someone else’s sin when they have their own debt to pay.
To pay the price for our sin requires a sinless being who is eternal. But how can that which is eternal die? The mystery of godliness was that God was able to breach that seeming contradiction by being manifest in the flesh.