This Sunday, I preached on Mark 1:16-20, detailing just how intricately the doctrine of Jesus’ deity is woven into the text of Scripture. In this post, I want to articulate a very simple, but powerful, proof of the deity of Christ. I’ve found it helpful. I hope you do, too.
1. Absolute Disjunction
In Matthew 6:24, Christ argues the following:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
The disjunction here leaves no middle ground: If someone claims to have two masters (in this case, God and Mammon/Money), then he is lying or deceived. This means that it is impossible for a person to have two masters.
But what does it mean to have two masters? In the context of Christ’s argument, the master is the one who exercises control over the thoughts and concerns of the one considered to be a servant. More specifically, Jesus is identifying those who worry about financial concerns as possibly loving and being devoted to money, treating financial concerns as a master. This is what is known as covetousness. And covetousness, Paul tells us, is idolatry (see Gal 3:5b).
So what is really being expressed by Jesus is a universal principle, namely the first commandment. Christ is telling the people that they can either worship the one true God who is aware of their needs and desires for food and clothing, etc, or they can worship money – but they cannot do both. This can be restated as follows:
“You shall have no other gods before [Yahweh].” (Ex 20:3)
So the argument that one cannot serve two masters does not mean that a person cannot have God as their Master, in the ultimate sense, and have a master, in the sense of an owner or boss or earthly authority higher than themselves. Rather, the argument is telling us that one can only be fully devoted in love and service to one God.
2. Jesus is our Ultimate Master
Considering the above exposition of the argument presented by Jesus in Matt 6:24, therefore, the unitarian (e.g. Jehovah’s Witness, Christadelphian, Arian, and so on) faces a problem. For the Scriptures teach us that Jesus Christ is “our only Master and Lord.” (Jude 1:4c) We are also told that Jesus Christ is the Master of earthly slaves/servants and their earthly masters (Eph 6:5-9). And in the parallel passage to Eph 6:5-9, Paul says that we have a Master in heaven (Col 4:1), reminding us that Christ is our one Master. Likewise, Jesus himself says that it is right to call him Master and Lord (in Gr. the text reads διδάσκαλος καί κύριος, or “Teacher/Rabbi and Master”).
If Jesus is not God in the flesh, then his own disjunction in Matt 6:24 renders the Scriptures internally contradictory, for the Scriptures teach that God alone is our Master and that Christ is our only Master. Therefore, if the unitarians are correct in asserting that Jesus Christ is merely a man, then they are implying that the Scriptures are inherently self-contradictory. And this further implies that the Scriptures are false. And this further implies that the Scriptures are not the Word of God, for all that God speaks is true.
Thus, in denying that Christ is God, the unitarian position renders Christ fallible, the Scriptures self-contradictory and false, and thereby calls the entirety of the revelation of God to man in the Bible into question. If Jesus is not God, as the unitarians foolishly assert, then the Bible is not even a reliable source for knowing who God is and what responsibilities man has toward God.
3. Answering an Objection
The unitarian impervious to logic may still hold his ground and confidently shout: “But Jesus is a different kind of Master!” Now, given the fact that Jude calls him our only Master, the unitarian’s outcry is without any merit. But to put the issue to rest, let us consider the following declaration of Jesus to the crowds who claimed to be his servants. He states:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
The words spoken by the Son of God are logically equivalent to a command: “You shall love me with a love that is greater than the love you have for your very parents, spouses, siblings, and children.” If Christ is not God, then he is commanding these followers to sin against God by breaking the fifth commandment (“Honor your father and mother…”). For the Scriptures not only say that man is to honor his father and mother, but that the one who reviles (hates) his father or mother shall be put to death! (Matt 15:4b) Not only this, but if Christ is commanding his followers to love him with a greater love than they have for their very own parents, would he not be a hypocrite for condemning the Pharisees for doing the same thing? (Matt 15:1-9)
Yet the Word of God declares very clearly that Christ “knew no sin” (2 Cor 5:21) and that he was “without sin” (Heb 4:15b). The unitarians cannot have a sinless savior if they reject the idea that Jesus Christ is God Almighty in the flesh, for they would not only not have an infallible revelation from God (see points 1-2, in conjunction with this point!), they also would have a savior who commands them to sin and so renders himself unfit for the role of being a sinless and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the people of God.
Thus, if the unitarian declares that Scripture is the infallible Word of God, then he must also identify Jesus as God Almighty in the flesh.
Likewise, if the unitarian declares that Jesus Christ is the perfectly sinless substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of God’s people, then he must also declare that Jesus Christ is Almighty God in the flesh.
If he rejects the truth that Jesus Christ is no mere creature but the very incarnate Second Person of the Trinity, then he cannot have any part of the Christian faith whatsoever.
Soli. Deo. Gloria!