F. A. Hughes.
The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most vital truths to be found in the Scriptures; many writers inspired by the Holy Spirit of God enlarge upon this holy theme. The blessed God Himself sets His seal on this precious truth in that remarkable utterance — "Unto the Son He (God) saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8). Critics have sought to weaken the importance of this verse by saying it is "just a quotation from Psalm 45," but the vocative case us used — one Person addressing Another, the "God of truth" addressing the Son as God! The Lord's own references to His deity are many, including the assertion of His Sonship to the erstwhile blind man of John 9, and of His Messiahship to the Samaritan woman of John 4. Again, we have that truly magnificent statement in John 8, "Before Abraham was I AM," — the Name so frequently used to express the eternal character of the blessed God; a Name which in an atmosphere of hatred and betrayal shone with a power and glory before which men could not stand (see John chapter 18). The simple, yet powerful, monosyllables of John's gospel assert the deity of our Lord in a way which is beyond all questioning — "the Word was with God, and the Word was God"; "All things were made by Him;" "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." Eternally divine, the mighty Creator in whom life is inherent! We bow in adoration and worship, the volume of which is increased as we contemplate the apostle Paul's words in Colossians 1 — "Who is the beginning, firstborn from among the dead, that He might have the first place in all things; for in Him all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell" (New trans.). These are but a few of the very many Scriptures which plainly teach the deity of our Lord.
In the present paper we note several references in the Word of God which contain what may perhaps be spoken of as hidden rays of the same precious theme.
The word "also" in Matthew 16:8 is a most definite assertion of Deity. The Father had made a momentous revelation to Simon — who but One, Himself God, could add to that word? "And I (an emphatic word) also, I say unto thee." We have this word again in John 14 — "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe on God, believe also on Me." The Lord Jesus, equally with the Father, presented as an Object for faith! Then we have the word in John 5:23, "that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father." Equality indeed! John's writings abound with this holy matter, the Lord ever taking the place of the "sent One," and yet the glory of His Person shining throughout.
In 1 Corinthians 8:9 we read "of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor." It is evident that the blessed Lord was never rich in His earthly life; He had nowhere to lay His head; He asked to be shown a penny; He caused a fish to provide the tribute money. His "riches" were related to the scene of glory in which He, as God, ever dwelt, adored by myriads of holy beings. The verse of a hymn aptly expresses it:
"Rich in glory, Thou didst stoop,
Thence is all Thy people's hope;
Thou was poor, that we might be
Rich in glory Lord with Thee."
Paul's statement in 1 Timothy 1:13 provides another very interesting, though perhaps hidden, reference to the Deity of Christ. The apostle speaking of his life as a Pharisee before his conversion says, "Who was before a blasphemer?" The Pharisees were careful, at least outwardly, to avoid being accused of blasphemy — that is, reviling the Name of God. To speak against men, how ever wickedly or unjustly, is not blasphemy — and Paul as a strict Pharisee would not knowingly revile God. Who then did he blaspheme? He tells us himself quite plainly, "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the Name of Jesus of Nazareth". It was when he afterwards knew that blessed Person to be "God over all, blessed for ever" that he named himself as a blasphemer. The Man of Galilee is none other than the eternal God!
These are but a few instances in the Scriptures where the deity of our beloved Lord is seen; lovers of Christ will delight in searching out others, they are many! Though on perhaps a different plane the "Me and Thee" of Matthew 17:27, and "the young Child and His mother" in Matthew's early chapters would stress the fact "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Between equals the words would be reversed.
In these days when the truth of the Lord's Person is attacked on every hand let us hold tenaciously to the truth as revealed in God's holy word.
"We see Thee, Lord of Glory,
Descending from above,
And learn the wondrous story
Of God come down in love.
We see the Godhead Glory
Shine through that human veil,
And, willing, hear the story
Of love that's come to heal."