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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”—Colossians 2:9–10 (NIV)
Jesus is fully human and divine—100% man and 100% God!
Paul tells us that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 NIV). The Greek word for image (eikon) essentially tells us that Jesus is the supreme expression of the Godhead expressed to humanity. In other words, Jesus is God in the flesh—the literal embodiment of God’s heart, mind, character, nature, and will. He’s Immanuel (“God with us”).
I’ve just listed a variety of ways this pillar of our faith is described in Scripture. But why did John, Paul, and other New Testament writers use so much real estate to emphasize this? There are two reasons, both of which are related: 1) They were divinely inspired by God to do so because He knew this would be an area in which many people would seek to diminish or be deceived about who Jesus is, and 2) it was something the apostles were combatting already in their day.
You see, in the early church, there were false teachers seeking to distort the gospel and draw people away from the truth. Judaizers, Gnosticism, and later Arianism claimed that Jesus was a created being, acknowledging His humanity but denying His divinity. There’s even a view called Adoptionism, which says Jesus was a man who became divine at His baptism or resurrection. On the flipside, there’s another doctrine called Docetism, claiming Jesus was a spirit but didn’t actually have a real, physical body. He was fully divine, but not fully human.
Here’s the problem: If Jesus was not God for a single moment, He couldn’t be God ever. Thus, He must be fully divine. And if He had no physical body, then He couldn’t have given His life for the remission of sins, which means we’d still be dead in our sins. Thus, He must be fully human. He must be both in order to be Savior and for this to be true: “In Christ you have been brought to fullness.”
This false belief is even seen today in different ways, with many people revering Jesus as a good example and an enlightened philosopher to learn from. It sounds like good, harmless, logic, right? In His 33 years on earth, Jesus taught many valuable lessons and gave us an example of a life of worth and meaning. But that philosophy also denies the deity of Jesus, which removes the worship of and servanthood to Jesus.
Jesus isn’t just a good teacher whose words help us live better lives, He’s God in the flesh, whose incarnation, life, teachings, death, and resurrection allow us to live eternally and abundantly. He’s a deity in bodily form who gave His body to pay for our sins, so we could be redeemed and become children of God.
DIG: Why is the doctrine of Jesus being fully human and fully divine so important?
DISCOVER: What can we do to combat the false views of Jesus?
DO: In 1 Peter 3:15–16 (NIV, emphasis added), it says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.” Today, I encourage and implore you to be prepared, to be ready to defend the truth of who Jesus is, and to do so with compassion and gentleness. Be ready and be open to the Spirit!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.