Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 7, 1967

Do You Believe In Jesus Or In Jesus Christ?

Edgar Furr

Such a question seems out of order to the majority of those who profess faith in Christ; but it is a good question and highly in order from a scriptural standpoint. Most of the religious world of our day feel whatever they think or teach should never be called in question. Anyone has a right to call another in question on any subject. The Apostle Peter stated in I Peter 3:15-16, "Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord; being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear; having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ." To refuse to do this shows weakness of one's faith and his position on the scriptures.

There are many today who believe in Jesus, that He was a good man, born in Bethlehem, the son of a carpenter — that Jesus became a great teacher, was crucified for the cause for which He stood, and buried in a borrowed tomb — but for many, that is as far as the real story goes.

This sort of thinking does not evaluate Jesus above any other man, for this classifies Jesus as the Son of God in the same sense as all men are sons of God. The truth of the Divinity of Christ, the miracles that He performed, His virgin birth and the fact that He is the Christ, is denounced by the majority of church leaders and religious teachers of our time. In John's Gospel, chapter eight and verse twenty-four, Jesus said, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." What does the pronoun "HE" refer to in this statement? This, without question, means that He is the Christ, the Messiah. When Jesus engaged the woman at the well in conversation, John 4:25-26, "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh (he that is called Christ) : when he is come, he will declare unto us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he." The "HE" in John 4:26 means the same as the "HE" in John 8:24; therefore, to believe in Jesus as is commanded in John 8:24 is to accept Him as the Messiah, the Christ, the Divine Son of God; or die in your sins. This command is prefixed with the term except. In our language, it simply means there is no other escape. You accept Jesus Christ as the Divine Son of God or your hopes are nil.

It was not Jesus alone that affirmed His Deity. The Old Testament gives prophesy leading to Christ's coming and work. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said, "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill." From Psalms 2:7-8, "I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." The virgin birth was foretold by Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Chapter 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Micah 5:2, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."

The Divinity of Christ is ascribed to by the New Testament, John 1:1-7, "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 through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him."

We also have the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, as proof of His divinity. Romans 1:4, "Who was declared to be the Son of Cod with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord." Perhaps the resurrection of the dead is one of the most disputed points in the life of our Lord, by those who accept Him only as Jesus, which was His given name. They are willing to follow His life to the grave and there leave it; but the Apostle Paul declared in I Corinthians 15:17, "and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."

To refuse to accept Jesus as the Divine Son of God is to refuse Him as Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Messiah. It is to refuse to accept anything Jesus said or did. It is to refuse, and count as nothing, the Old Testament with all its prophets. It is to refuse the New Testament. The rejecting of the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is to say He is an imposter; because in John 20:2431, Jesus asked Thomas to touch His nail-scarred hands and feel His side. Truly did Jesus say in John 8:24, "Except ye believe I am he, ye shall die in your sins." As Paul said to the Ephesians in chapter two and verse 12, "having no hope and without God in the world." How hopeless and how empty is the religion of any who refuse the Messiah and His resurrection from the dead.