The Deity of Jesus Christ: Arianism versus the Nicene Creed

Colossians 2:9 “In Jesus Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

The 118th session of the U.S. Congress bucks 2 religious trends in America: 1) 86% of its members claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, 2) less than 1% (only 2 of 534) claim to be a “none” or secular humanist.

Our US Congress has remained stubbornly Christian. Looking back over 40 years ago to the 96th Congress, which was in session in 1979-1980, 91% of members of Congress identified as Christian.

While our Congress continues its overwhelmingly Christian claims, it is not claiming to be Christian that makes you Christian. There are essential beliefs to not only claim but actually live by. For example, the doctrine of atonement – that Jesus died on the Cross to pay your penalty for your sins – is an essential belief. Another is repentance, that you turn to Jesus Christ as the only Source for forgiveness of your sins.

A third would be the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, that God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead to demonstrate to mankind that Jesus’s death was acceptable to the Father as payment for your sins.

A fourth would be that eternal life can never be earned from God by trying to live a good life. Instead, it is God’s free gift to anyone who trusts their lives in His hands purely because of who He is. But the one that many people don’t believe is the doctrine of the deity of Christ – that Jesus is God, equal with the Father.

We are less than one month away from Easter, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead as the defining mark in history when Christianity erupted around the world. This week’s verse, taken from Paul’s letter in 60AD to the fledgling church in the city of Colossae, is one of several statements on the deity of Jesus Christ that formed the foundation for the early Christianity church throughout Asia Minor and the world.

But, within 200 years from Paul’s letter, the first major heresy challenging the deity of Christ came on the scene. Known as “Arianism”, it taught that Jesus was not God. On his website ‘Cold Case Christianity’, Jim Wallace explains how “Arianism” began to spread in early Christianity and threatened the Deity of Christ.

“Arius of Alexandria Egypt (250-336AD) introduced ‘Arianism’, which taught Jesus was a ‘creature” who was “begotten’ of the Father. Only God the Father is ‘un-begotten.’ In this view, only the Father is truly God. He was too pure and perfect to appear here on earth, so He created the Son as His first creation. The Son then created the universe. God then adopted Jesus as a son. Jesus was worshipped only because of His preeminence as the first creation.” How did the Christian Church confront this heresy?

In 325AD, early church leaders gathered in Nicaea to not only pronounce Arianism as outside Christianity doctrine but to write the Nicene Creed to clarify Christian belief about who Jesus is. They stated that Jesus is “homoousios” with the Father, which means “of the same substance” as God the Father. Jesus is God.

In parts 1 and 2 of the Nicene Creed, the church wrote a unifying and biblically sound doctrinal stance for Christians when it comes to God the Father and Jesus Christ. In Part 1, they made it clear who God is.

Part 1, Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.” Anyone in the 118th Congress claiming to be Christian must believe that there is only one God. There are not multiple gods. This God is the Father almighty, who created all things which exist. Nothing exists apart from God, for God makes all things and brings them into existence.

Part 2, Nicene Creed: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.” Anyone in the 118th Congress claiming to be Christian must believe there is one Lord – Jesus Christ – “the only Son of God,” who is “eternally begotten of the Father.”

Christians believe that God has a Son and His Son exists eternally. There was never a time when God’s Son did not exist. This is what is meant by “eternally begotten.” The Father and Son share the exact same substance. The Son of God is not of a “different” substance or simply “like” the Father. They are the same. All things being made through Jesus reaffirms God as one. The Father creates all things through the Son.

This is true Christianity – the Deity of Jesus Christ. On April 9 – Easter – Christians around the world will be gathering together to worship Him as not only God but our risen Lord and Savior.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance” _ Article #543

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