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Respect My Religion, I Will Respect Yours, And Do Not Discuss the Divinity of Jesus

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It is now common to practice and preach a very dangerous doctrine that says, “Respect my religion. I'll respect yours; and let us not discuss the divinity of Jesus.” But is such an attitude in agreement with the Word of God? No, it is not. In fact, there's a very serious warning in the Bible against refraining from actively teaching and reasoning through Scripture on the divinity of Christ. Let's turn to the book of Acts, chapter 18. Verse three tells us that the apostle Paul did not hold the attitude of “respect my religion and beliefs, and I'll respect yours by not discussing the divinity of Jesus.” Instead we read, “And he reasoned in the synagogues every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks...and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:4-5).

The Bible says Paul “reasoned” with Jews and Greeks, and that he tried to “persuade” them to believe that Jesus was Christ. The word “Christ” is Greek for “Anointed”. In some passages of the Bible we see the Hebrew equivalent of “Christ”, which is “Messiah”. So the Christ was the Messiah, and the Messiah was the Christ. Both words have the same meaning. Now then, Paul reasoned with and tried his very best to persuade the Jews and the Greeks to accept the truth of who Jesus is. His message was, “Jews, Jesus is your Messiah; and your Messiah is God. Greeks or Gentiles, Jesus is Your Savior; and your Savior is God.”

Paul did not back down from arguments so fierce that at times, people in their fury against this vital truth, blasphemed. We read, “They opposed themselves and blasphemed” (Acts 18:6). Some commentaries and paraphrased Bibles state that the blasphemy of the people consisted of insults against Paul and / or Jesus. The Scripture doesn't specify whether they called Paul names, called Jesus names, or hurled insults against both Paul and Jesus. We do know, however, that they said some very ugly things as they opposed Paul's teachings on the divinity of Jesus. But none of this caused Paul to cease preaching the divinity of Christ, as evidenced throughout much of the New Testament. Scripture tells us this heated argument took place in Corinth. But later, when he traveled to Ephesus, he went right back at it again. He reasoned with Jews (Acts 18:19). Remember that though Paul was sent to the Gentiles, he had to obey God's order for the spread of the gospel, which is to the Jew first (Romans 1:16).

Paul never became complacent about something as serious as reasoning with Jews and Greeks regarding the divinity of Jesus. How do we know it is so serious? Because Acts 18:6 lets us know it is very dangerous to refrain from proclaiming the divinity of Israel's Messiah, and Savior for the rest of us. Anything dangerous must be taken seriously. Acts 18:6 says, “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads. I am clean...”

Note that Paul says he is clean only AFTER he has tried hard to reason and persuade them to believe that Israel's Messiah is the Lord. He says, “Your blood be upon your own heads” only AFTER they have persisted in refusing to accept who Jesus is, and have blasphemed. What does that tell us? It tells us that had he not reasoned and argued with them about who Jesus is, he would not have beeen clean in God's eyes. It tells us their blood would have been upon his head, rather than upon their own heads. Even the Lord commanded him to continue stressing who Jesus is. God told Paul, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace” (Acts 18:9). Why are people, especially those who call themselves Christian leaders, telling believers to do just the opposite? “Respect my religion. I'll respect yours; and let's not discuss the divinity of Jesus.” That counsel is not of God. It is in direct opposition to His Word.

Are we to say that Paul's attempts to persuade them that Jesus was the Christ is the same as saying he was trying to persuade them to believe Jesus is divine? Of course it is. The Bible reveals that Jews and Gentiles alike fully understood that when Christ said He was the Son of God, He was speaking of His own divinity. In no uncertain terms, He was saying He was God in the flesh. This is precisely why they accused Him of calling Himself God. We read, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself EQUAL WITH GOD” (St. John 5:18).

Can we dodge the responsibility of preaching the divinity of Christ, saying, “But we're not Paul. We're not apostles”? Well neither was Apollos who “mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28). What's more is that Paul said to ALL disciples, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Think about it. Even the Lord Jesus Himself preached His own divinity. Paul, Apollos, the disciples, and all the prophets of old preached the divinity of Israel's Messiah. Why would we not follow their example?

If you don't know how to refute arguments against Jesus' divinity, learn how to refute them. And teach other Christians how to refute them, so that you and they will be clean...so that the blood of others doesn't fall on YOUR head!


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