Jesus Christ is fully God, but He is not the same person as God the Father. He fulfills a different role from God the Father. They are both distinct persons of the one triune God—or Trinity—made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
There is only one God. The Bible makes that clear. The mystery of how that one God is made up of three distinct persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a foundational truth in Christianity—but it’s really difficult to understand. For many, the doctrine of the triune God contradicts itself—is there one God or three?
Let’s take a closer look at two of the different persons of the trinity—God (the Father) and Jesus Christ (the Son), how they are the same, how they differ, and why believing that Jesus is fully God is vital for us as Christians.
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How God the Father and Jesus Christ are the Same
Deuteronomy 6:4 (ESV) “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
There is only one God. He is one being or one essence. So the three distinct persons that form part of this one God, must be of that same essence—or made up of the “same stuff”. Let’s look at examples of that in scripture.
Jesus and God the Father Share the Same Attributes
God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are equal in power. Whatever the Father can do, Jesus can too.
John 5:21 (ESV) For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
John 10:29-30 (ESV) “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Did you notice how Jesus said that no one can snatch believers out of His hand and then repeated that no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand? Why? Because they are of the same essence, they are both God—so the attributes of God are common to them both! We see the person of God in Jesus.
How God the Father and Jesus Christ are Different
As important as it is to understand that there is only one God. You need to grasp that He exists as or “unfolds into” three distinct persons—the Trinity. God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are two of three distinct persons. God isn’t like a shape-shifter in a sci-fi movie. He doesn’t take turns choosing which person He is going to be and change roles. The Father does not become the Son and the Son does not become the Father. They are different persons.
Jesus and God the Father Have Different Roles
All three persons of the triune God exist in complete harmony with each other at the same time and fulfill different roles or functions.
John 14:2-3 (ESV) In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Do you see how God the Father has created a place for us for eternity (Heaven) and Jesus is the way we get to Him? They are both God, there is one plan, but as two distinct persons they function differently. Let’s look at some of their roles.
God the Father is:
- The sustainer of life (1 Cor 8:6).
- The source of all blessings, knowledge, and understanding (Eph 1:3).
- The planner of salvation (John 3:16).
God the Son is:
- The agent of creation—all things were made by Him and through Him (John 1:3).
- The Savior—Jesus was sent by God to fulfill His plan for salvation. He gave up the glories of Heaven and became God in the flesh. He lived a sinless life and bearing the weight of the sin of the world, died on the cross to satisfy God the Father’s wrath against sin (Rom 5:8-9).
- The interceder—He pleads and intercedes with God the Father on behalf of believers (Rom 8:34).
Why is Believing that Jesus is God Important for Believers?
Does it really matter what you believe about Jesus and His deity? Yes!
To doubt one aspect of the truth is to doubt it all. Jesus is who He says He is. Fully God and fully man—to doubt His deity cancels out the gospel. God alone is without sin so God alone is the perfect sacrifice, the spotless lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus HAS to be God for the gospel message to be valid.
If you reject who Jesus is, you reject the Father too (Luke 10:16).
The concept of the triune God is difficult to understand. It’s a beautiful mystery, and it takes a step of faith to accept what the Bible teaches about it. But we can trust the One who is above all and gave us Himself that we might live forever with Him.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)