Hello again, I hope this post finds you all doing well! We’re going to continue in our series on the basic doctrines of Christianity, but if you missed the previous posts you can find them here, here, and here. I’m very excited about continuing this series, today’s topic is as misunderstood, or abused by the cults as last weeks. The deity of Christ, the hypostatic union, and His place as our Lord and Savior, are either rejected or twisted in cults. It’s one of the sure fire calling cards for having left orthodoxy, as each group redefines Christ they immediately alter, or destroy, the Gospel message.
The deity of Christ, meaning God the Son (Col. 2:9), eternally God (Phil. 2:5-8), entered His creation (John 1:14-16), is essential for understanding salvation. If Christ was just a good man, or just a prophet, then His death on the cross can save no one. Why? Because it had to be a perfect, sinless, man to die in our place. All those born of Adam sin, we have all fallen short, and if any man says he is without sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him. Christ came, God the Son, and did what no one else could do, lived a sinless life. There is no darkness in Him, in fact darkness flees from Him, because He is light. It is the sinless perfection of Christ’s life that is imputed onto the believer. His death on the cross in place of the sinner gives salvation, because He is God. Many of the cults will teach that Jesus was just a man, given a promotion to deity because of His death. Unfortunately, this heretical doctrine is making inroads into mainstream churches through the Word of Faith movement, which we discussed here and here.
The second part of this essential doctrine is an understanding of the hypostatic union. This is the truth that Jesus Christ is both human (1 Tim. 2:5-6) and divine (John 8:58). Early heresies centered around Christ being divine, while denying His humanity. We see something similar today in Christian Science, when talking about humanity and spirituality. Anytime we see a push against matter, or flesh as evil and spirituality as morally good, we’re seeing the fruit of early heresy. You’ll often hear this language in New Ageism, much of which has been adopted by professed believers. How often do we hear “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual?” The roots of that statement are found in the teachings of early “Christian Gnostics”, who believed the flesh too wicked for God to enter it, thus He must have just been spirit. Spirit, in this belief, is good, flesh is bad, or in other words religion is fleshly, spirituality is not. If you’ve had a chance to listen to Defecting From Bethel, you’ll hear Lindsey Davis explain how she was accused of having a ‘spirit of religion’ when she began to oppose Bethel’s heresies. I’ll link here to Part One, Two, and Three in case you haven’t seen it.
The last thing I want to address in regards to Christ’s deity is our faith in Him (Romans 5:1-2). We dealt with the need for faith in Christ as our savior here. Friends, the doctrine of Christ’s deity is essential to the Christian faith, yet sadly what we see in the cults is that they turn away from this doctrine and place their faith in something other than Christ. I like to use the example of a Chicken. Let’s say a new employee comes to work with you, and in talking with them they explain that they are worshipers of Jesus Christ. You get so excited, another Christian to work with! You invite them to your church, they invite you to their home so you can both worship together. Fellowship? Yes please! Off you go to your new pals home, only to be introduced to their pet chicken named Jesus Christ. The chicken has an alter where your new friend offers gifts, and a throne instead of a roost. Is this co-worker going to be saved by their faith in the chicken named Christ? No, of course not. That’s a silly example of exactly what’s happening in the cults, they name their idol Jesus Christ, but he’s not the Jesus of the Bible (John 8:23-24). They’ve strayed from Scripture, added their own leaders prophecies, writings, or traditions. They are now putting their faith in a false god. Saving faith must be placed in the Biblical Jesus Christ. No other faith can save. I pray this series is edifying for you, my beloved brethren, as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.