Greetings Friends! I would like to share an interesting topic with you in this post. There is a mantra offered by people who say there is more than one way to God. That there is no one established way through religions or other modes to the divine Deity. People seem to assert there is but one God, not many. So, some may maintain there are many routes, others proclaim there is only one, which they appropriate. They are agreed on one basic tenet, there is one true God. Let us begin here.
When it comes to Christianity though, believers may proclaim the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the one true way to God. However, many who espouse the multi-faceted route don’t support the Christian’s tenet. Jesus Christ is the founder of the Christian religion. But as we shall see, Jesus Christ is a Person, not a religion. As a Person, there is a way of life that’s associated with Him which He espouses. It is a misnomer to call Him a religion, that is the label of human hands and mind.
The most vital point for the case for Jesus proceeds from the nature of Jesus as a Person. I hope to present the case for Jesus as inviolable and undeniable, upon which the Christian faith rests. As Christians we all know the immortal passage of the Bible which says, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).
There are few important points to take away from this passage, which makes us wonder who Jesus was by nature, and what this passage claims and proclaims, leading to His preeminence in the Christian faith. First, Jesus is given as a gift from God to humanity to redeem humanity from his fallen (sinful) state of existence: “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish” (John 3:16). Second God has made Jesus as the Doorway to immortality: “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16; 10:9; 14:6).
Prior to Jesus’ coming, because of sin, all humanity was on a one-way track to oblivion, or death. The Bible states clearly, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). But here is the third point this passage reveals, and this ought to be the preeminent point about the passage, for it is about who Jesus is – who is this Jesus who has the power to deliver humans from sin, and impart immortality upon humanity? God Himself answers by saying, He is “His One and Only Son” (John 3:16).
What John writes here is essentially the truth of the incarnation. What is the incarnation? The incarnation is to be understood as God really become man. Theologian Thomas Torrance said “the incarnation was not the bringing into being a created intermediary between God and man, but the incarnating of God in such a way that in Jesus Christ He is both God and man in the fullest and most proper sense.” Jesus Christ is not man participating in God but Himself essential Deity.
John opens his gospel with the words, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). John goes on to say, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus and recorded His messianic title, saying, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)” (Matt.1:23). That’s to say, in Jesus Christ God came to dwell among us. That is, “In the fullness of His Deity He became man in the undiminished reality of human and creaturely being, without ceasing of course to be the Son of God.”
The Apostle Paul elaborated on this point in Romans 8. The Book of Hebrews tell us, “Now since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb.2:14; also, Rom.8:1-4,9).
Thus, only through the fullness of Jesus’ Deity as a Person, He is able to perform the role of Savior of mankind by redeeming fallen human beings, and conferring immortality upon them. (John 3:16-18) This is the work of one who by nature is in every sense of the word, Deity, not human. If Jesus Christ the incarnate Son is not true God from true God, then we are not saved, for it is only God who can save. But if Jesus Christ is not truly human, then salvation does not touch our human existence and condition. As humans, we are fallen and in need redemption.
But as God the Father had intended and purposed in His divine grace, Jesus in Loving obedience took upon Himself human form for the purposes of redeeming and glorifying fallen humans. (John 3:16-19) When the time of His death was near, He told His disciples, “I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over Me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I Love the Father and do exactly what My Father has commanded Me” (John 14:30-31). The message of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ embodies in His human actuality the Personal presence and activity of God.
Paul said this about about Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phi.2:6-8).
And so John states Jesus’ exclusive uniqueness of purpose as the only way to God, saying, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18). The Scripture, by stating that a human being can either be condemned or not condemned simply by believing in Jesus the Son of God, for all practical purposes, tells us there is but one way to God.
Let me elaborate further, shortly before His suffering and death, one of the disciples, Philip, asked Jesus this question, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus answered: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:8-11). It is vital to understand the undercurrent of what exactly Jesus was trying to convey to Philip and all the disciples.
Jesus was revealing His Deity as a Person being One with the Father in the primordial level of the Triunity of God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Later, Jesus would tell His disciples, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luk.24:29). Then after His death and resurrection, and shortly before He ascended back to His Father in heaven, He reminded them, thus, “And while they were gathered together, He commanded them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss” (Act.1:4).
Matthew quotes Jesus, “All things have been committed to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Matt.11:27). Further, Jesus was emphatic and precise when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
T.F. Torrance says, “The three divine Persons, completely mutually indwelling in each Person, while remaining what He is by Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is wholly in the Others as the Others are wholly in Him (Triune Godhead).” Jesus revealed this primordial truth to the world which Matthew records, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-21). The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are indivisibly One, eternally co-inhering in One Another as the Blessed Trinity.
Torrance goes on, “Just as we take on our knowledge of the Father from the Son, so we must take on our knowledge of the Spirit from our knowledge of the Son, and in Him from our knowledge of the Father: that is, from the inner relations which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have with One Another in the indivisible Being of the Holy Trinity.” (see, John 14:8-11; John 16:12-15).
The precise knowledge and functions of the Trinity was unknown to humanity until Jesus fulfilled His Almighty Father’s mission of making this knowledge known to mankind. Hebrews tell us, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His Being, sustaining all things by His powerful word” (Heb.1:1-3). By saying “ancestors” in this passage, it may well be applying a broad brush stroke encompassing all humanity through sages, ancient and otherwise, by way of belief systems, philosophies, religious inclinations and practices, etc.
At the creation of humanity, God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness…So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so” (Gen.1:26-30).
What would we say was the supremely vital piece of information from this creation passage of humanity? It is this, when God created humanity we were made “In God’s image and likeness.” What is God’s image? That image is Jesus Christ, God’s own Son whose image we are given to appropriate so humans may live the “Triune Life.” Paul said this to the Romans, “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom.8:29). Recall what Jesus told Philip we read earlier, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). The book of Hebrews makes this abundantly clear, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His Being (image)” (Heb.1:3).
Paul tells believers, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes” (Gal.3:27, NLT). Paul told the Colossians, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Col.1:15-20). Paul would later tell the Colossians, “You have been made complete in Christ” (Col.2:10, BSB).
Why is it imperative upon us that in true spiritual life we take on the image of Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit? Because Paul told the Corinthians this: “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit… The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven…For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor.15:45-49; 21-22).
What we saw in the book of Hebrews and read Paul’s words to the Romans and Colossians is the vital subject of transformation whereby humanity experiences the process of human deification – away from the fallen deathly state of existence in the first Adam to the glorified state of immortality through and in Christ Jesus. (John 3:16-18; Gal.2:20) This is the incarnation, but in reverse. Just as we witness how Jesus was God incarnated into our fallen humanity in order to save us, He now saves mankind ultimately by incarnating fallen humans into eternal life through Him. (Rom.6:23; Isa.7:14; Rom.8:29)
Deification or human spiritual incarnation is made possible because Jesus is God in the Triune Godhead and has the power to impart immmortality – “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). This act of God of deification of humanity through Jesus Christ spells out the Christocentric view of mankind’s future through the light of His Son and live eternally in the Father’s presence forever.
You can read about human deification in my previous instalment titled “Living The Triune Life,” where I shared a parable to explain this miraculously awe-inspiring subject. Got to: http://bulamanriver.net/31262
Petition: Dear Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life*. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart to heart, and faith to faith, you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever.
You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination, or any division one may espouse – but into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I believe and receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Personal Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* Be strong in the Lord’s Temple where joy abounds.
Farewell for now!
*Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian Being and plural existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God as a Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 2 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. Love by its nature unveils a God who is relational and multifaceted in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational Love-being.
Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Love-Being. (1 John 4:16) The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting relationship. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Love-Being with His Son, Jesus, and His Spirit. (Mat..28:18-20)
It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost being and humanity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23).
Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His singular triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness, not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God, just as all of humanity is inseparably one with Adam.
Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the Trinity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from and in Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever. Jesus was given the prophetic name Immanuel which means “God with us”, or God with humanity. (Matt.1:23; Isa.7:14) As the prophecy foretold and fulfilled, God assimillated Himself with mankind through Mary who bore His Son, Jesus Christ. (Matt.1:20; 18-25; 2:1-2)
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
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