“God Was In Christ”
The Bible makes clear that Jesus was something more than just a “mere man”.
That “something more” was revealed in the manner of the Lord’s begettal (birth).
Paul taught that “God was in Christ” reconciling the world unto himself (2 Corinthians 5:19) not “incarnated” as the Christ. Jesus was the manifestation of God, as he himself testified (John 14:10). In nature he was the same as all mankind, “tempted in all points like his brethren” but in begettal (the manner of his birth) Jesus was divine for he was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit “without measure” (Acts 10:38; John 3:34) and it is in that sense that Jesus differed from all men before or since (Hebrews 4:14-15 and Hebrews 9:24).
“Jesus Christ”, the Son of God, is not the “second person” of an eternal Trinity, but the manifestation of the One Eternal Creator who is “above all and through all” (Ephesians 4:6), and “to whom are all things” (Romans 11:36). By God’s Spirit, this Creator begat (caused to be birthed) Jesus, who God deemed would be to Him a Son (Hebrews 1:5); by the same power God anointed him and dwelt in him and with him (Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 5:19). Allowing himself to be used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifested in the flesh-yet was, prior to his death, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer in the days of his flesh (Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:7; Galatians 4:4)
Jesus Christ, therefore, must be considered from two points of view, one Deity, and the other Man.
- The man was the Son, whose existence dates from the birth of Jesus.
- The Deity dwelling in him was the Father, Who without beginning of days, is alone eternally pre-existent. God’s relation to the Son was made known in the event related in Luke 1:35, by which Paul styles as being ‘the mystery of Godliness;’ for 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).”
Jesus was “made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4), and, therefore, in nature, identical unto “his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17).
But he was also begotten “not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but by the will of God” (John 1:13). The Holy Spirit came upon the virgin, Mary, and by this miraculous means, the Son of God was born (Luke 1:35). He was anointed with the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34) so that God overshadowed his development.
This was all for the purpose of saving those who accept Jesus as the Christ. Christ led the way to life eternal for all. As he was strengthened by God to overcome, believers can also be strengthened (Philippians 4:13); as he was crucified upon the cross, we too must learn to deny the flesh to serve God in truth (Galatians 5:24).
The very expressions that Christ constantly used, shows that he did not claim to be God in the absolute sense. He prayed: “Not my will but thine be done” (Matthew 26:39). He told his disciples: “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me” (John 7:16). If he claimed equality with God, he would not have used such expressions but would have claimed the will and teaching of the Father as emanating equally from himself. On the contrary, he taught: “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30), and “my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).
It is true, that Jesus Christ, as the manifestation of God, as one who completely gave himself to the will and purpose of the Father, could say: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), yet this statement is often mistaken as a claim of equality with God, however, we overlook the fact that what Jesus claimed for himself, he also requested for his disciples. In (John 17:21) he prayed: “That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” If the former statement implies the equality of the Son with the Father, the latter statement includes it to involve all believers as being ONE!