One of the foremost doctrines that are considered to be orthodox Christianity is the deity of Christ. By saying this, we are saying that Jesus Christ is the eternal Creator and God. We support these beliefs biblically with the following passages:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:1-3 ESV)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
(Hebrews 1:8-13 ESV)
In addition to scriptural claims from outside source, Jesus Himself made claims to deity (Mark 14:61, 62; John 8:58). In addition to these scriptural claims, Jesus demonstrated power over nature, over sickness and death, and most powerfully in His own resurrection from the dead. The importance of this doctrine cannot be overstated, as most cultic offshoots of Christianity start with a misunderstanding of the nature of Jesus. Shortly after the nascent church began developing, there were already debates as to the essential nature of Jesus. Some teachers, such as Arian, taught that Jesus was only a created being, somewhat at the level of the angels. Nestorius taught that Jesus was two persons. Other heretical beliefs are modalism (Jesus is a manifestation of God, as are the Holy Spirit and the Father, none of which exist at the same time) and docetism (Jesus only seemed to be human). By far, the two most common beliefs that are still prevalent among aberrant groups is modalism (taught by the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic churches, popularized by T.D. Jakes) and arianism (still taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
Now, the question is, “Why does any of this matter? I mean, we can’t know EVERYTHING about God, so how can we be totally sure of any of this? And does it really matter if we get everything right about how we believe in Jesus? Doesn’t sincerity count?” For a short answer, no, it doesn’t. Here, let me explain.
We believe that we are saved by faith in Christ’s work on the cross. Put another way, we are saved because we believe that Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins. But faith in and of itself is meaningless. It’s not actually a substance or a work in and of itself. It is only as good as the entity to which we attach it to. Therefore, to believe in a false Christ is to accept a false savior, or in essence, a false god. If you are trusting your salvation with a false god, you’re in trouble, because a false god saves no one. Only by having faith in the true God, and believing in His Son Jesus and His death on the cross can we experience true salvation.