Friday, September 27, 2019

Trinitarian, do you love God's child, the person who believes that Jesus is the Christ? Comments on 1 John 5:1

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1 John 5 was especially significant for our family several years ago when I was coming to understand that God is One and that Jesus is God's human Messiah. My wife points out the irony in the fact that while Trinitarians often go to the Gospel of John and the Epistle of 1 John for presumed evidences of the deity of Jesus, it was these two books of the Bible that showed us that God is One person, and that Jesus is God’s designated human Messiah (Christ).

1 John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of Him.”

How tragic that people who believe that Jesus is God condemn those who believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). The "diety of Christ" believers say that unless you believe that Jesus is God, you are “denying Christ”. What a strange twist of Scripture. The Scripture says that “anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is born of God…”

This Scripture does NOT say you are born of God if you believe that:
·         Jesus is God
·         Jesus is a God-Man
·         Jesus is co-eternal (“pre-existing”) and co-equal to the God the Father
·         Jesus is of the same substance as God, the Father.
·         Jesus is one person of a trinity in a godhead.
·         Jesus is God who dressed up or came to earth in human flesh.
These ideas are all human inventions.  We should not cling to human inventions (5:21) while abandoning God our Father’s revelation of Himself and His testimony that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). We don’t want to call God a liar by twisting or distorting what God said, or by claiming God said something He didn’t say (1 John 5:10).  If God in the Scriptures has testified that Jesus is His Christ, are you calling God a liar and telling God you know better by insisting that Jesus is God?

In short, Scriptures like 1 John do not say you are born of God by believing that Jesus is God. You are not born of God by believing that Jesus is a god-man. You are born of God if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God.

If believing that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) does not mean that Jesus is God, what does "Jesus is the Christ" mean? We can't just make up our own definition of what "Christ" means and say, "If you don't believe our definition of Christ, you are denying Christ".  No, we need to understand and accept the biblical definition of what "Christ, Messiah, משיח" means.

Are you changing the biblical meaning of Christ (Messiah) by claiming the "deity of Messiah", the "deity of Christ"? It seems to me that many Christians think "Christ" is a title for God. Not in the Bible.

But before looking closer at the title "Christ, Messiah", consider first the name Jesus. “Jesus” is the name of the human person, born in Bethlehem of Judea some 2000 years ago. Jesus was born, was circumcised, and was a child who grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God (Luke 2:52). "Jesus" is not the name of a pre-existent person of an eternal godhead (Matt. 1:25, Luke 2:21).

This human Jesus, a descendant of King David, is the Christ (Messiah). As mentioned, many people seem to think that “Christ” is a title for deity. It most definitely is not. Christ/Messiah is never, never, ever God in the Bible. To make "Christ" a title of deity is a perversion of Scripture.

“Christ” (in Hebrew, “Messiah" משיח) means “anointed”. Grammatically, the word is an adjective with a passive sense. One who is anointed has been acted upon by someone else. The one doing the anointing is not the anointed. In the Bible, God is the Anointer, and the one whom God has anointed is the Christ (the Messiah). The Anointer (God) is not the Anointed (Christ).

To be anointed meant to be chosen by God for a specific role or task. The Persian king Cyrus was anointed by God as a Messiah/Christ for the role of restoring God’s people to their land (Isa. 45:1). Aaron and his descendants were anointed to serve God as priests (Exo. 28:31, 30:30). King Saul was anointed by God to be Israel's first king (1 Samuel 10:1, 24:6). David and his descendants were selected, designated, that is, anointed by God (through human agents) to be king (1 Sam. 16:12, 1 Kings 1:34, cf. 1 Sam. 15:1, 2 Kings 9:3). 

This is the essence of what “Christ/Messiah” means: to be the God-chosen, God-designated, God-equipped, human priest and/or king. To believe that Jesus is the Christ means to believe that Jesus is a human being anointed by God.

The Christ/Messiah in the Bible can’t be God, because it is God who chose and anointed the Christ. The Christ/Messiah can't be God because in the New Testament the Christ was put to death by crucifixion (1 Cor. 1:23, 2:2). God does not die.

In the Bible, Jesus is the Christ of God, never the Christ who is God.
·   “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’” (Luke 9:20).
·   But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18).

Son of God or God the Son?

This same human Jesus who is the Christ is the “Son of God” (1 John 5:5). While there are other human sons of God in the Bible (Exo. 4:22, John 1:12, Gal/ 3:26), "Son of God" is a title which came to be parallel to and in many ways synonymous with “Messiah/Christ” (2 Sam. 7:14, Psa. 2:1-7, 1 Chron. 28:6). The anointed king descended from David is the Son of God.

“Son of God” does not mean “God the Son”. There is no “God the Son” in the Bible. The title “God the Son” is an invention of the human mind. God is not a son. See here for "Son of God in the Bible"

Do you love God’s child? Do you love the Father of God's child?

1 John 5:1 says that the person who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) has been born of God.  If you love God, you will love the person, God’s child who has been born of God, the person who believes that Jesus is the Christ. If do not love that person, or shun or reject that person, or call that person a heretic, or say that person has denied Christ, the implication is that you do not love the Father (God). Because whoever loves God, the Father, loves God’s child who is born of God.

Let me repeat that. If you reject as a heretic someone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah), the implication is that you do not love God, the Father of that person.

If you are a pastor of a church or a church member, and someone tells you that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, but not literally God, would you condemn that person, and tell his wife that her husband is a dangerous heretic, sowing discord in his family. If you would do that, 1 John 5:1 is pretty clear: you don't love God, the Father of that person. 

Do you love God’s child? Do you love the person born of God who believes believes that Jesus is the Messiah? If you don't love the person born of God, but condemn them and shun them and call him or her a heretic, take a look at 1 John 5:1. Perhaps you don't love the Father the way you think you do.


AnnaMayBrown said...

This is such a wonderful clarification. Next time I’m told that I’m unsaved because I don’t believe that Christ is God, I am now equipped! Thanks!

Troy Salinger said...

Thanks, I really needed to hear that word.

Rodrigo Brave said...

Ok but what about the incarnation? Do you believe that Jesus is the face of God? Co-eternal and co-equal with the Only One God? Did God send someone else to suffer in our place, but not Him self? Sorry for my english

Bill Schlegel said...

Rodrigo, greetings. The Bible speaks of no such thing as the "incarnation" in the sense of God becoming a man. Yes, God was at work "in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:19). Of course God would be at work "in Christ", because Jesus is the the Christ of God. But God, or some eternal person of a multi-person God, did not take on human flesh. If he did, that person would not be a human being. Trinitarian incarnation theories in the end deny that Jesus is a real human person, since if he was, he would be two persons, a God-person and a human person. So Trinitarians a long time ago (AD 451 Council of Chalcedon) decided that Jesus is only one person, the god person.
It's all very un-biblical.
Blessings in Jesus the Christ, the first-born from the dead.

Unknown said...

I understand and agree with most of everything you say about Christ in his role as the Messiah.
You perfectly describe the Messiah, the Christ.
As the Christ, on earth, Philippians 2:6-8 explains that while the Christ, the Word put aside all His divinity. He functioned only as a a human with the help of the Holy Spirit. To be a perfect sacrifice he had to, and did remain sinless using only his human capabilities.
He was born sinless, as the Word who put on flesh, the Son, begotten by the Father and remained so.
But if you deny the Word’s divinity ,how do you explain John 1:1 and 1:14 ?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14
The Word, who according to John, was God, and with God at the beginning, put on flesh and became Jesus, the Christ . Does that make the Word no longer God?
Charles E Coco “Ed”

Bill Schlegel said...

Charles, Thanks for the note.

I don’t accept the Trinitarian interpretations of the Gospel of John’s introduction (John 1:1-18) or of Philippians 2. There are so many presuppositions and problems with the trinitarian interpretations of these Scriptures. Starting with “In the beginning” in John 1:1. While “in the beginning” is an allusion to the Genesis creation (because God is bringing about a new creation in and through Jesus), John 1:1 is not directly describing the Genesis creation. I would suggest doing a word study on “the beginning” in John’s Gospel and John’s epistles. You will see that it does not refer to the Genesis creation, but to the ministry of Jesus (cf. also Mark 1:1, Luke 1:3). Even from a Trinitarian perspective, it doesn’t make sense to say, in connection to “the beginning”, the Word was first.

It’s also important to note that the word often translated by Trinitarian translators in John 1 as “became” or “made” can be understood, and I believe preferably so in John 1, as “was, were, happened, came about”. For instance, instead of “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3), read the verse as “All things happened through him, and without him nothing happened that happened”, understanding that everything that John is about to describe in his Gospel occurred because of God’s work through Jesus.

The same word that Trinitarian translators translated as “was made” in John 1:3, 10, 14 (egeneto), also occurs in John 1:6 and 1:17 (and many other in John’s Gospel, meaning simply “was, occurred, happened”.
John 1:6: “There was (egeneto) a man sent from God, whose name was John.”
John 1:17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came (egeneto) through Jesus Christ.”
John 1:28 “This took place (egeneto) in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”

In the same way that John 1:17 tells us that grace and truth came/happened/were through Jesus Christ, so John 1:3 tells us that “all things happened through him”.

A curious Trinitarian should ask why the same word is translated so differently in the same chapter. Is there a translation bias to insert a theological presupposition into the text? I believe so.


Bill Schlegel said...

Continuing from above....

Philippians 2 describes how the human Jesus, designated by God to be king on earth, now exalted to heaven, humbled himself on earth to the point of death. There is no description of a pre-existing 2nd person of a “god-head” leaving heaven. It is Christ Jesus who had this mind, the name and title for Jesus when he was on earth, never a name or title of deity. It is the man Christ Jesus who humbled himself to death on a cross.

Again, the Trinitarian interpretation doesn’t work. The Trinitarian interpretation would have us believe that god-person #2 humbled himself and took on flesh (didn’t become a human person, only took on flesh), then died (the god-person died?). God-person #1, who is the God of God-person #2, re-exalted God-person #2, gave him the name Jesus, so that everyone would bow to God-person #2, to the glory of God person #1.

Doesn’t work.

I’ll put a link or two below if you want to search things out more.

Finally, allow me to suggest, don’t allow assumptions or presuppositions on a few verses that you think show the “deity of Christ” to cause you to miss the clear statements in the Bible about who the Messiah Jesus is. There are clear statements in the Bible that state that Jesus is a human person, who has a God (same God as you and me). This Jesus, the Messiah, died, but was raised from the dead by God. The clear statements in the New Testament is “Jesus is the Christ”, not “Jesus is God”, or “God is the Christ”.

Don't condemn anyone who believe that the human person Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. If you do, you may be found to be opposing God's child.

Trinity Delusion website articles and vidoes

Misunderstood texts about Jesus (including Phil. 2)

“Pre-existence” Denies the Humanity of Jesus

Blessings in Jesus the Messiah, the firstborn from the dead!