thumb08.jpg (3241 bytes) Study 8: The Nature of Jesus
Introduction | Differences Between God and Jesus | The Nature of Jesus | The Humanity of Jesus | The Relationship of God with Jesus | Digressions ("Being in the form of God") | Questions

8.2 Differences Between God And Jesus

There is a fine balance to be drawn between those passages which emphasize the degree to which "God was in Christ", and those which highlight his humanity. The latter group of passages make it impossible to Biblically justify the idea that Jesus is God Himself, "very God of very God", as the doctrine of the Trinity wrongly states. (This phrase "very God of very God" was used at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., where the idea of God being a 'trinity' was first promulgated; it was unknown to the early Christians.) The word 'trinity' never occurs in the Bible. Study 9 will delve further into Christ's total victory over sin, and God's part in it. As we commence these studies, let us remember that salvation depends upon a correct understanding of the real Jesus Christ (John 3:36; 6:53;17:3). Once we have come to this true understanding of his conquest of sin and death, we can be baptized into him in order to share in this salvation.

One of the clearest summaries of the relationship between God and Jesus is found in 1 Tim. 2:5: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". Reflection upon the highlighted words leads to the following conclusions:

There being only one God, it is impossible that Jesus could be God; if the Father is God and Jesus is also God, then there are two Gods. "But to us there is but one God, the Father" (1 Cor. 8:6). 'God the Father' is therefore the only God. It is therefore impossible that there can be a separate being called 'God the Son', as the false doctrine of the trinity states. The Old Testament likewise portrays Yahweh, the one God, as the Father (e.g. Isa. 63:16; 64:8).

In addition to this one God, there is the mediator, the man Christ Jesus - "...and one mediator...". That word "and" indicates a difference between Christ and God.

Christ being the "mediator" means that he is a go-between. A mediator between sinful man and sinless God cannot be sinless God Himself; it had to be a sinless man, of sinful human nature. "The man Christ Jesus" leaves us in no doubt as to the correctness of this explanation. Even though he was writing after the ascension of Jesus, Paul does not speak of "the God Christ Jesus".

Several times we are reminded that "God is not a man" (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9); yet Christ was clearly "the son of man", as he is often called in the New Testament, "the man Christ Jesus". He was "the Son of the Highest" (Luke 1:32). God being "The Highest" indicates that only He has ultimate highness; Jesus being "the Son of the Highest" shows that he cannot have been God Himself in person. The very language of Father and Son which is used about God and Jesus, makes it obvious that they are not the same. Whilst a son may have certain similarities to his father, he cannot be one and the same person, nor be as old as his father.

In line with this, there are a number of obvious differences between God and Jesus, which clearly show that Jesus was not God himself:-

"God cannot be tempted" (James 1:13). Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are" (Heb. 4:15).
God cannot die - He is immortal by nature (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 6:16). Christ died for three days (Mt.12: 40; 16:21).
God cannot be seen by men (1 Tim. 6:16; Ex. 33:20). Men saw Jesus and handled him (1 John 1:1 emphasizes this).

When we are tempted, we are forced with a choice between sin and obedience to God. Often we choose to disobey God; Christ had the same choices, but always chose to be obedient. He therefore had the possibility of sinning, although he never actually did. It is unthinkable that God has any possibility of sinning. We have shown that the seed of David promised in 2 Sam. 7:12-16 was definitely Christ. Verse 14 speaks of Christ's possibility of sinning: "If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him.