Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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8.2 Differences between God and Jesus

There is a fine balance to be drawn between those passages which emphasise the degree to which “God was in Christ”, and those which highlight his humanity. The latter group of passages make it impossible to justify Biblically the idea that Jesus is God Himself, “very God of very God”, as the doctrine of the Trinity wrongly states. (This phrase “very God of very God” was used at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., where the idea of God being a ‘trinity’ was first promulgated; it was unknown to the early Christians.) The word ‘trinity’ never occurs in the Bible. Study 9 will delve further into Christ’s total victory over sin, and God’s part in it. As we commence these studies, let us remember that salvation depends upon an acceptance of the real Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:36; 6:53;17:3). Once we have come to this true understanding of his conquest of sin and death, we can be baptised into him in order to share in this salvation.

One of the clearest summaries of the relationship between God and Jesus is found in 1 Tim. 2:5: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. Reflection upon the highlighted words leads to the following conclusions.

§          As there is only one God, it is impossible that Jesus could be God; if the Father is God and Jesus is also God, then there are two Gods. “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6). ‘God the Father’ is therefore the only God. It is therefore impossible that there can be a separate being called ‘God the Son’, as the false doctrine of the trinity states. The Old Testament likewise portrays Yahweh, the one God, as the Father (e.g. Is. 63:16; 64:8).

§          In addition to this one God, there is the mediator, the man Christ Jesus - “...and one mediator...”. That word “and” indicates a difference between Christ and God.

§          As Christ is the “mediator” it means that he is a go-between. A mediator between sinful man and sinless God cannot be sinless God Himself; it had to be a sinless man, of sinful human nature. “The man Christ Jesus” leaves us in no doubt as to the correctness of this explanation. Even though he was writing after the ascension of Jesus, Paul does not speak of “the God Christ Jesus”.

Several times we are reminded that “God is not a man” (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9); yet Christ was clearly “the Son of man” or, as he is often called in the New Testament, “the man Christ Jesus”. The Greek text calls him “son of anthropos”, i.e. of mankind, rather than “son of aner” [husband, man]. In Hebrew thought, “the Son of man” meant an ordinary, mortal man (Is. 51:12). “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21). Yet He was also “the Son of the Highest” (Lk. 1:32). God being “The Highest” indicates that only He has ultimate highness; Jesus being “the Son of the Highest” shows that he cannot have been God Himself in person. The very language of Father and Son which is used about God and Jesus, makes it obvious that they are not the same. Whilst a son may have certain similarities to his father, he cannot be one and the same person, nor be as old as his father.

In line with this, there are a number of obvious differences between God and Jesus, which clearly show that Jesus was not God himself.



“God cannot be tempted” (James 1:13).

Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15).

God cannot die - He is immortal by nature (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 6:16).

Christ died and was in the grave for three days (Mt. 12:40; 16:21). He was once under the “dominion” of death (Rom. 6:9).

God cannot be seen by men (1 Tim. 6:16; Ex. 33:20).

Men saw Jesus and handled him (1 Jn. 1:1 emphasises this).

When we are tempted, we are forced to choose between sin and obedience to God. Often we choose to disobey God; Christ had the same choices, but always chose to be obedient. He therefore had the possibility of sinning, although he never actually did. It is unthinkable that God has any possibility of sinning. We have shown that the seed of David promised in 2 Sam. 7:12-16 was definitely Christ. Verse 14 speaks of Christ’s possibility of sinning: “If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him”.

The Centurion reasoned that because he was under authority, he therefore had authority over others; and he applies this very same logic to the abilities of the Lord Jesus. Because He was under God’s authority, therefore and thereby He would have the power to have other things under His authority. And the Lord commended the Centurion for that perception. Clearly the Lord Jesus is to be understood as under the Father’s authority; and it is only because He is in this subordinate position, that He has authority over all things now.

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||