Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:5-11
When I was much younger in my Christian faith my understanding of the nature of Christ was influenced by the teachings of those within the Word of Faith, not the current Word of Faith teachers, but those who were at the forefront in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Many of today’s Word of Faith followers and some Charismatics who aren’t necessarily Word of Faith, embrace the same idea that I learned years ago, and that is the belief that when Jesus took on flesh and blood he laid aside his divine nature and lived in this world as a man only.
I cannot stress strongly enough how wrong this belief about Christ is, for it completely misses the point being made by Paul in Philippians 2 (cited above). Those who teach that Jesus laid aside his deity appeal to Paul’s words in Philippians 2: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
The text does not say Jesus laid aside his deity, yet it has often been interpreted this way by the Word of Faith leaders and the affect that it has on some can lead into serious error doctrinally.
A friend from Bible College whose understanding has been influenced by this interpretation of scripture once said to me that he “operated on a higher level than the Lord Jesus Christ.”
After I confronted him, he said the following: “I do operate on a different level than Christ did in his earthly ministry, I am new creation he was not until his resurrection.”
According to my friend’s comment (hopefully he has changed his views), being born again means being on a greater spiritual level than Jesus was before he died on the cross. This is not only an insult to the sinless perfection of Christ’s humanity, it is an outright denial of his deity in the flesh.
Jesus is not a born again man. Jesus is the divine Son of God who took on humanity to redeem us to God. Jesus’s spirit is not a “human spirit” as I heard one Word of Faith teacher repeatedly say in his version of Jesus suffering in Hell.
Jesus’s Spirit is the Spirit of the One True God. Christ is the Living Word. He was God manifested in the flesh, and still is!
Jesus did not lay aside his deity when he came into this world. Jesus, being deity, was clothed with humanity and took the form or position of a servant though he was Lord of all. The King of glory came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. He did not come to be served though he was worthy of this privilege.
WHY WAS JESUS ANOINTED?
One popular argument made by those who claim that Jesus laid aside his deity is that Jesus had to be anointed. They claim that if Jesus had been God, he would not have needed to be anointed. Yet Hebrews 1 clearly refutes the notion that Jesus can’t be God and anointed at the same time.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. ~ Hebrews 1:8-9
This text is cited in context of the exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God. Jesus is referred to by God the Father as both “God” and “anointed”! Christ, being fully God in nature was not outwardly revealed as God to everyone. While his identity was hidden from those who opposed the truth he proclaimed, others who received him saw by the Holy Ghost that he was more than a mere man.
Jesus said: “no man knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” ~ Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22.
Peter writes of the deity of Christ saying “were were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 2 Peter 1: 16-17
Peter’s description of Jesus is not that of a mere man!
The apostle John also testified of the deity of Jesus when he wrote the following:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:1-3
The apostle John certainly did not believe that Jesus had laid aside his deity, for he refers to Jesus as the Word of life and the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us!
The anointing was on Jesus, not because he had ceased to be God and was only a mere man. The anointing was on Jesus because he was God in the flesh and the anointing on him revealed his true identity to those who believed, while blinding those who rejected him.
Consider John’s description of Jesus as he wrote the inspired text by the Holy Spirit:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:1-4, 14
John is heavy on the deity of Christ in both the gospel of John and in his epistles, such much so, that John declares that fellowship with God is contingent on Jesus being divine.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ is fellowship with the Father, and the One whom John claims is eternal life. In 1 John 2, the apostle addresses fathers, young men, and little children (most likely these are references to spiritual growth). To the fathers, he says, I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning (2:13) and, I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning (2:14).
At the close of his epistle, John declares Jesus is the true God!
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. this is the true God, and eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:20
John’s statement concerning the confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh also has to do with his deity. Jesus was God revealed in the flesh and every spirit that does not confess that God in the person of Jesus Christ was manifested in the flesh, is anti-Christ. John is not teaching that those who deny a historical figure named Jesus Christ are anti-Christ, but rather, those who deny that the Son of God was manifested in the flesh are anti-Christ.
The Biblical record of Jesus as the Son of God is a reference to his deity. Jesus is God’s own unique Son, and while we are made sons of God through faith in him, he alone is the Son with the same divine nature and attributes of his Father, God.
The Spirit of God exalts Christ. The spirit of anti-Christ makes less of Christ. One does not have true fellowship with God if he does not have fellowship with that eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning and was manifested in the flesh.
To claim otherwise is to be deceived.
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. ~ 1 John 2:22-23
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:2-3