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Verses that prove that Christ is NOT God

NOEL I. ILAN

This is an article that appeared in the December 2001 issue of the God's Message Magazine

Some people miss the point and eventually arrive at teachings that are unscriptural.
 
ONE OF THE doctrines upheld by the Church of Christ that makes it distinct from other churches is its belief concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church of Christ believes that the Lord Jesus Christ, although endowed with great attributes not possessed by ordinary man, is not God but man in nature or state of being.  Christ Himself attested to this truth saying:
 
"As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.  Abraham did not do such things."  (Jn. 8:40, New International Version)
 
This verse not only teaches that Christ is man, but also clarifies that He is distinct from God.  That Christ is man, but also clarifies that He is distinct from God.  That Christ heard the truth from God succinctly says that He is different from God. To believe that Christ is God is to contradict the testimony of Christ that He is man. Apostle Peter affirmed what Christ said about His nature:
 
 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders. and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--
 
"Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death." (Acts 2:22-23, New King James Version)
 
This pronouncement of Apostle Peter also differentiates Christ from God. Christ, who is man, was attested to by God.
 
The bone of contention
 A certain religious group today presents a rather different line of argument, citing some biblical verses that allegedly support the Christ-is-God doctrine. Find out how this group uses faulty syllogisms to twist the truth.
 
 In Romans 3:4, Apostle Paul said that every man is a liar. They then say that if Christ were a man, then He would be a liar, too. So. they conclude that Christ is God.
 
 It is stated in I Kings 8:46 that there is no one who does not sin. With this, they conclude that Christ would be among the sinners if He were a man.
 
 They also cite what Prophet Jeremiah said: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man" (Jer. 17:5). Thus, they conclude that those who trust in Christ would be cursed since He is man.
 
 They also cite what Prophet Jeremiah said: "Cursed is the man who trust in man" (Jer. 17:5). Thus, they conclude that those who trust in Christ would be cursed since He is man.
 
 They also quote what Apostle Paul said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:50).  They reason that if Christ were truly man, then He would not have inherited God's kingdom. They further argue that, with such long distance between heaven and earth, man will have melted before reaching heaven.
 
We will discuss these claims in the light of the Holy Scriptures.
Erroneously applied to Christ
First things first.  We should note that aside from Christ's very own statement that He is a man (Jn. 8:40), the apostles had a very clear declaration of faith concerning His nature. Apostle Paul, for one, wrote:
 
"There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God.  Jesus was truly human, whereas, others bluntly oppose this truth by teaching that Christ is not truly human."
 
Is Christ included among those referred to in Romans 3:4 that states that every man is a liar and in I Kings 8:46 that states that there is no man who does not sin?  Apostle Peter's sure answer is "no." He said:
 
"It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow his steps.  He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips." (I Pt. 2:21-22, Today's English Version)
 
Apostle Peter attested that Christ, though He is a man, did not sin.  Therefore, the use of the quantifiers "every" and "all" in Romans 3:4 and I Kings 8:46 does not include Christ, who is exception among men. (Note that this pronouncement of Apostle Peter neither contradicts nor nullifies the teaching that Christ is truly human [Jn. 8:40; Acts 2:22, I Tim. 2:5]) Similarly, when Moses took account of the great deluge in the Book of Genesis, the use of the quantifiers "all" and "every" did not mean that there were no exceptions.  Moses wrote:
 
"When the LORD saw how wicked everyone on earth was and how evil their thoughts were all the time, he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth.  He was so filled with regret that he said, 'I will wipe out these people I have created, and also the animals and the birds, because I am sorry that I made any of them'.
 
'Every living being on earth died - every bird, every animal, and every person.  Everything on earth that breathed died.  The LORD destroyed all living beings on the earth - human beings, animals, and birds.  The only ones left were Noah and those who were with him in the boat." (Gen. 6:5-7; 7:21-23, TEV, emphasis ours)
 
Notice that the biblical account used the terms "all" ("The LORD destroyed all living beings") and "every" ("Every living being on earth died - every bird, every animal, and every person.  Everything on earth that breathed died"). But in fulfillment, there was an exception to this, for there were living beings that were not destroyed - Noah and his household and the animals inside the ark.  They were spared when God destroyed through a great flood "every living being" or "everything on earth that breathed."
 
In the same way, when Prophet Jeremiah spoke of the evil fate of those who trust only in man, he did not  refer to the LORD Jesus Christ among those who should not be t rusted.  In fact, the apostle admonished the Christians to approach Christ who is the throne of grace:
 
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb. 4:14-16, NIV)
 
Christ is the throne of grace whom we should approach with confidence.  What is the state of being of Christ whom we should approach with confidence?  Apostle Paul further explains:
 
"Here is the High Priest we need. A man who is holy, faultless, unstained, separated from sinners and lifted above the very Heaven." (Heb. 7:26, Phillips Modern English)
 
The great high priest who is Christ is man.  Even after He had ascended to heaven, He remained a man - He did not become God (Col. 3:1; Ps. 80:17).
 
'This corruptible must put on incorruption'
Those who claim that Christ who is a man could not have possibly inherited the kingdom of God because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (as they misuse I Corinthians 15:50) are wrong.  To prove this further, which is referred to as flesh and blood that cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven?  The very verse they misuse provides the answer:
 
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption." (I Cor. 15:50 NKJV)
 
What Apostle Paul refers to as flesh and blood that cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven is the flesh and blood that has corruption.  How then could man, who is with corruption or has a corruptible body, inherit the kingdom of God? The same apostle explains:
 
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
 
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (I Cor. 15:52-53, Ibid.)
 
Before a man inherits the kingdom of God, his corruptible or mortal body will be transformed into an incorruptible or immortal one.  This was done to Christ who is already in heaven.  Thus, Christ now possesses a glorious body - the body, which those who will dwell with Him in heaven, will also possess.  Apostle Paul taught this:
 
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philip. 3:20-21, Ibid.)
 
The argument that man will melt before he reaches heaven is based on pure imagination.  The present body will be transformed into a state of incorruption to fit into the glory of God's kingdom.  When this happens, we shall remain human just as Christ does.  If we follow the reasoning that Christ became God when He entered the heavens, then we would also conclude that those who will be made to dwell with Him in heaven would also become gods.  Such is an absurdity!
We should be careful not to be led astray by self-proclaimed preachers who circumvent the truth through faulty syllogism and tricky reasoning.  They can easily deceive many people, leading them to perdition.  Let us heed what the apostles had forewarned:
 
We should be careful not to be led astray by self-proclaimed preachers who circumvent the truth through faulty syllogism and tricky reasoning.
 
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.  This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward." (II Jn. 1:7-8, Ibid.)