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New City Catechism 21.1

Part 1 of the New City Catechism (questions 1-20) focuses on God, creation and the fall, and the law. Now that we have completed Part 1, we are moving on to Part 2 (questions 21-35), which focuses on Christ, redemption, and grace.

Question 21: What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?

Answer: One who is truly human and also truly God.

Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, one Person with two complete natures. He is not half God and half man. Nor is he a mixture of manhood and deity, with the result that he is neither God nor man, but a third something (“G’man” or “mod”). He is fully God and fully man, yet one Person. This is what is known as the doctrine of the incarnation, or the union of a complete human nature with the divine Person of God the Son, without any change whatsoever in his deity.

The full deity of Jesus Christ is taught in many places in the New Testament. A few verses that make the point explicitly include John 1:1; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20; Romans 9:5. But aside from verses that directly say that Jesus is God, there are many more passages of Scripture that put Jesus in the place of God either by actions or words attributed to him. For example, when Jesus forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, the scribes there were shocked because they rightly concluded that only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7), and thus Jesus must have claimed deity for himself with that action. Or, when Jesus commanded a lame man whom he had healed to carry his mat on the Sabbath, Jesus justified this action by claiming that he can do whatever his Father does. And thus the Jews wanted to put him to death all the more “because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). One additional example is found in John 8:58, where Jesus said to the Jews who questioned his words about their ancestor Abraham, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” The words “I am” echo God’s revelation of his name to Moses from Exodus 3:14.

These passages and many others give clear testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ is fully God, and his fully deity is a cornerstone of the Christian faith.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: John 1:1-18. Who is “the Word” that John is writing about? What does John tell us about the Word?

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