I have heard people argue in person, in congregations, and on Face Book in different discussion groups whether or not Jesus (Yeshua) is God (the Father) or just the Messiah. Is He God? Is He just a human being? What does “God in the Flesh” really mean, anyway?
Before we get to what I consider the definitive answer to this unanswerable question, let’s review Bruck’s Acid Test Question for discussion topics:
“How does this affect my salvation?”
If I believe Yeshua is God, does that make me any more “saved” than someone who believes Yeshua is just the Messiah and a separate entity from God? Is believing in God the Father and Yeshua the Messiah as separate entities something that is dishonoring God? Will I not be saved if I only accept Yeshua as God’s son and the Messiah God promised?
If I believe Yeshua is not God the Father, am I rejecting God? If I believe Yeshua is God, why do I need to have faith in a messiah? If the Messiah is God, why do I need to identify Him as a Messiah? God is all I will need, right? But if Yeshua is not God and I put my faith in Him as the means of my forgiveness, does that mean I am not saved?
If I have faith that Yeshua is the Messiah who provides forgiveness of sin, will it make any difference to my being forgiven whether Yeshua is God or not?
Do you see where I am going with this?
The definitive answer to the question, “Is Jesus God?” is this: It doesn’t matter!
No one can argue against the biblical fact that Yeshua lived a life and died. Even those who don’t accept Him as Messiah cannot really argue against the biblical and extra-biblical historical evidence of His life. And anyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah cannot argue that His sacrifice is what now provides for us the means to be forgiven of our sins (because with the Temple destroyed we have no place to offer sacrifice for sin, in accordance with Torah.)
So, whether or not Yeshua is God, He is (at least) Messiah, and it is our faith that through Yeshua we are saved. The faith in Yeshua that He is the Messiah and His sacrifice was for us, and also our faith in God that He will keep His promise to forgive those who ask for it, in Yeshua’s name. This is how we are saved: proclaiming faith that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised, that when we do T’shuvah (turn from sin) and ask God for forgiveness invoking the name of Yeshua, we will be forgiven. That is how salvation works.
So can you see that whether or not Yeshua is God doesn’t affect our salvation- we are covered one way or the other. That’s why it doesn’t really matter.
But let’s not stop now!
Ask yourself this: What value is the argument about Yeshua being God, or not being God, have to anyone? Who really benefits from this discussion? I’ll tell you who benefits from it- The enemy does!
What I have heard and seen when this topic comes up is, invariably, dissension, argumentation, dissonance, hatred, pridefulness and anger. All these emotions, especially when brothers and sisters in the Lord direct them at each other, serve only the enemy of God. Yeshua said people will know we are His Disciples by how we love each other, but when this discussion comes up, love goes right out the window! Because any answer makes no difference to our salvation, this is a useless discussion that only causes strife every time it comes up, and as such serves no useful purpose in God’s kingdom or to a gathering of God’s people.
Whether or not Jesus is God doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is how we treat each other, how we maintain our focus on what is important and how we learn more about what God wants us to do for His kingdom and His glory. Now, I can’t talk for God, but I am willing to go out on a limb and say I really, really doubt God wants us to argue with each other about something that has nothing to do with salvation, spreading the word, making disciples or showing the peace and love that God has for everyone. Aren’t those things more important than a theological discussion about deity that doesn’t edify or help anyone?
Think about it.