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The Deity of Jesus: Is Jesus an Eternal Member of the Godhead or a Created Being?


IV. Jesus Accomplishes the Unique Works of God.


Do the Scriptures claim that Jesus does the unique works of God? Did He create, sustain, preserve, and rule the Universe (eternal Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler)? Did He redeem mankind from sin (Redeemer)? Will He judge all men for their lives? Was He God in the flesh?

Note: This article continues a series of studies about Jesus' Deity: His names, character, works, and honor. If you have not read the previous articles, then please click here to start at the beginning.

Just as there are names that only God has the right to wear and characteristics that only God possesses, so there are works that only the true God can accomplish. No mere man, angel, or other created being is capable of doing them. To say that Jesus does these works would be blasphemy unless He possesses Deity. On the other hand, if there is proof that He actually does these works, then that would constitute evidence that He is in fact God.

Consider these unique works of God and the evidence that Jesus does them:

A. Creating the Universe

Creation is a unique work that only God can perform.

Genesis 1 describes the creation and attributes it to the power of God (v1,3,26,27, etc.).

Isaiah 42:5 - Jehovah God created the heavens and spread forth the earth. He gives breath to the people on it.

Isaiah 45:18 - Jehovah created the heavens, formed the earth and created it.

Acts 17:24,25 - God is Lord of heaven and earth because He made the world and everything in it. He gives to all life, breath, and all things. [14:15]

Psalm 33:6-9 - The heavens and earth were made by the breath of Jehovah's mouth.

[See also Jeremiah 10:12; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 89:11; 90:2; 104:5-9,24-28; 19:1; 24:1,2; 95:5; 146:6; 136:5-9; 8:3,6-8; 148:5; Jeremiah 27:5; Isaiah 40:26; Hebrews 1:10; 11:3]

Yet Jesus did this unique work of God.

We referred briefly to the following verses to prove the eternal existence of Jesus. Consider them now more closely to observe Jesus' involvement in creation.

John 1:1-3 - Jesus was in the beginning with God, was God, and all things were made through Him. Without Him nothing was made that was made.

Colossians 1:16,17 - By Him (Jesus - v13-15) were all things created, things in heaven and on earth, etc. He existed before them all. They all consist in Him, and were created through Him and for Him.

Hebrews 1:2 - The worlds were made through the Son.

Hebrews 1:10 - The Lord (Jesus - v8) laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the work of His hands. [cf. Psalm 102:25]

Note that Jesus is not a created being through whom all "other" things were made. Rather, He created "all" things. Nothing that has been made was made without Him. Clearly He did not create Himself, therefore He was not created at all.

This proves Jesus is eternal (see the characteristics of Jesus). But it also proves that He does work that only God can do. This work classifies Him with Deity, not with the created beings (see also Revelation 5:12-14; Romans 1:25).

B. Sustaining & Preserving the Universe

Sustaining the universe is a unique work of God.

Not only does God alone have the power to make the heavens and earth, including all forms of life, but only God has the power to maintain or continue the existence of what has been created.

Nehemiah 9:6 - Jehovah alone made heaven and earth and all things thereon. And He preserves them all.

Psalm 36:6 - Jehovah preserves man and beast.

Psalm 104:13,14 - He provides the rain and causes grass and herbs to grow to bring forth food for man and animals. [Deuteronomy 11:14,15]

Matthew 5:45 - The Father makes the sun rise and sends rain.

Acts 17:25,28 - God gives to all life, breath, and all things. In Him we live and move and have our being.

Acts 14:17 - God gives rain and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

Jehovah God provides all blessings necessary to sustain and maintain the earth and life on it. Were it not for His sustaining power, all things would immediately pass from existence.

Jesus does this unique work of God.

Colossians 1:17 - As in other passages above regarding God, having said that Jesus created all things, Paul adds that "in Him all things consist." It is by Jesus' power that all things continue to exist.

Hebrews 1:3 - The Son made the worlds (v2), and He upholds all things by the word of His power.

Hebrews 1:12 - Not only did the Son (v8) make the heavens and earth (v10), but they will cease to exist when He "folds them up."

What God has created, only He can sustain. All created things began to exist and continue to exist by His power. Created beings derive their life from God.

In contrast to the created things, God is the source of life - Creator and Sustainer. He has the power of life within Himself. No one ultimately gave Him His existence, and no one sustains His life.

Jesus is classed with God regarding both the creation and the continuation of that which is created. He was not created, but He created all things that were created, and He sustains their existence.

C. Ruling the Universe

We have already established that only God possesses unlimited power to rule over all created things (see under "Lord of lords" and "all-powerful" in our previous studies). This is both a characteristic of God and a work of God. Because He created all, God possesses right of ownership over all, and therefore rules over all.

We have also already established that Jesus is called "Lord of lords," and that He possesses unlimited authority over the creation because He created and owns all things. Hence, Jesus does this unique work along with the Father and the Holy Spirit: He rules the universe.

D. Redeeming Mankind from Sin.

Saving and redeeming men from sin is a unique work of God.

Since God possesses the highest authority in the universe, only He can make the ultimate laws of right and wrong. When men violate those laws, only God can grant forgiveness and declare the terms of forgiveness.

As humans we may grant forgiveness to those who sin against us, but we cannot grant forgiveness to those who sin against God's laws. Only God can offer or provide that redemption or salvation.

Psalm 3:8 - Salvation belongs to Jehovah.

Psalm 37:39 - Salvation of the righteous is of Jehovah.

Isaiah 43:1,14 - Jehovah who created is also the Redeemer. He says, "I have redeemed you."

Isaiah 43:11 - Besides Jehovah there is no savior.

Titus 3:4,5 - God our Savior saved us according to His mercy.

Isaiah 45:15,17 - Jehovah, God of Israel, is the Savior who provides everlasting salvation.

[Isaiah 62:11]

Jesus does this unique work of God.

John 4:42 - The Samaritans confessed Jesus to be the Savior of the world. [Luke 2:11]

Titus 1:3,4 - God is our Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior. How can Jesus be less than God in such a description?

Titus 2:13,14 - Jesus is our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave Himself to redeem us from sin so we might become His special people. [See notes on this passage under names of Deity.] [2 Peter 1:1,11; 2:20; 3:18]

Acts 4:12 - There is salvation in no one other than Jesus.

Mark. 2:1-12; Luke 7:48,49 - Jesus had power on earth to directly forgive sins. This is a work only God can do. Hence, for Jesus to claim this power would have been blasphemy if He were not God.

Ephesians 1:7 - We have redemption through Jesus' blood, even the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:13,14]

Jesus is not classed with the creatures in need of redemption. He is the redeemer.

God is the Savior and besides Him there is no Savior, but Jesus is the Savior and salvation is found in no one else. God is the redeemer who offers forgiveness of sins, but Jesus is the redeemer who offers forgiveness of sins.

What man, angel, or other created being ever had power on earth to directly forgive sins? Who but God can forgive sins? If Jesus is not God, how could these expressions be anything but blasphemy? Jesus must possess Deity because Jesus can forgive sins as only God can do.

[Ephesians 5:23; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18; Romans 3:24]

E. Judging Men's Lives

Judging man's eternal destiny is a unique work of God.

As the ruler of the universe, God has revealed His laws by which men ought to live. He will judge all men and reward them eternally for how they have or have not followed His rules.

Isaiah 33:22 - Jehovah is our lawgiver, king, and judge.

Psalm 50:6 - God Himself is judge. [94:1,2]

Psalm 96:10,13 - Jehovah reigns and will judge the people. He will judge the world with righteousness.

Only God, as the Supreme Ruler, has the right to so judge men and determine their eternal destinies.

[Romans 2:3,5,16]

Jesus is the judge who will do this work.

John 12 48 - All men will be judged according to Jesus' words.

Matthew 25:31-46 - All nations will be gathered before the Son of Man. He will separate them and send them into eternal punishment or eternal life.

2 Corinthians 5:10 - We must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done in the body, good or bad.

John 5:22,23 - The Father does not judge anyone but has given all judgment to the Son. [Acts 17:31]

Judging mankind for their lives and determining their eternal destiny are unique works of God. Yet Jesus is the one who will do that work. He is not classed with the created beings whose works will be judged by God. He is classed with God who will judge the works of the creatures.

Conclusion

All the works we have studied involve activity that only Deity can accomplish, yet Jesus does them all. Hence, Jesus possesses Deity.

Some people try to avoid the force of this evidence by claiming that Jesus does not do these works on His own authority but simply acts as an agent for God (the Father). He acts "in the name of" the Father or the Father does them "by" or "through" Jesus.

It is true that some passages say Jesus acted in the name of the Father or that the Father acted by Him, especially while Jesus was on earth as a man in the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-8). However, it is also true that Jehovah God is said to act "by" Jehovah! See Hosea 1:6,7; Zech. 10:12. Further, the Father is said to act "in the name of" Jesus - John 14:26. Does this prove that the Father is not God?!

In many of the above passages Jesus is said to do these unique works of God in His own name or using other expressions that imply He is the authority behind the work (see Acts 4:12; Colossians 1:16,17 - "through Him and unto Him"; Titus 2:13,14; Mark 2:1-12; John 4:42; Luke 7:48,49). What passage ever speaks of men, angels, or other creatures creating, sustaining, or ruling the universe? What passage speaks of them as the redeemer who has power to actually speak men's sins forgiven or to determine their eternal destinies? If men or angels spoke or acted as Jesus did in these examples, such would be blasphemy. God would not use a man for such things, because a man would not be adequate.

The fact is that Jesus is not classed, in these passages, with the created beings. He is classed with God doing the works of God. Jesus possesses Deity. And if He ever possessed it, He always possessed it, for God cannot cease to be God.

Click here to continue this study by considering the honor and worship of Deity possessed by Jesus.

Note: This article continues a series of studies about Jesus' Deity: His names, character, works, and honor. If you have not read the previous articles, then please click here to start at the beginning.

(C) Copyright 1995, 2005, David E. Pratte
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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