Q. Can a person’s unbelief in the deity of Christ condemn him if He also believes whole heartedly that the sacrifice of Christ is man kinds only hope of heaven? I have a friend who doesn’t think so but I think his conclusions on the subject put him on shaky ground theologically and dangerous ground in terms of salvation. What do you think?
A. In order to both deny the deity of Jesus and accept His sacrifice as payment for our sins, you have to believe that it’s possible for a created man to be sinless. I say that because the models of Old Testament sacrifice make it clear that God’s penalty for sin is the shedding of innocent blood (Hebr. 9:22).
No one who is guilty of the same sins we’ve committed is qualified to die in our place. The Bible also says the death of sinless animals was only enough to set the penalty aside temporarily. The Law of the Kinsman Redeemer requires a next of kin to pay our penalty for us, a man for mankind (Lev. 25:25,49).
But the Bible says there are no sinless men, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23). Therefore God had to become a man Himself to redeem mankind. It was the only way we could be saved.
John said Jesus is God in John 1:1. Paul said it in Colossians 1:15-20. Jesus said it in John 10:30 and John 14:9. And in quoting Psalm 45:6-7 the writer of Hebrews has God Himself addressing Jesus as God (Hebrews 1:8).
I don’t think a brand new believer is expected to believe in the deity of Jesus. But as we mature in our faith and our knowledge of the Bible, the evidence for the Lord’s deity will become clear. At the very least, continuing to deny it puts such a believer on dangerous theological ground where salvation is concerned.