Athanasius: Jesus Christ Is God

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Colossians 1:15-23

He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (v. 15 NIV)

The leadership of British prime minister Winston Churchill changed the course of events in World War II. The Christian church has been shaped by courageous and gifted leaders, too. In AD 325 the Council of Nicea declared that Jesus Christ was “very God of very God; begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things are made.”

Arius, whose teaching was rejected, argued that although Jesus Christ is God’s Son, he cannot be fully God because he owes his existence to God the Father. Athanasius (ca. AD 296-373) successfully answered this error. He explained that Jesus Christ was not independent of God the Father any more than a ray of light is independent of the sun. The apostle Paul wrote that Christ was the “image,” or “icon,” of the invisible God. To know Jesus is to know God.

Was this debate of the fourth century nothing more than church talk? No! If Jesus were only a man, then he was not strong enough to be our Savior. But if he is also God, then nothing is impossible for him, including our salvation through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. To know Jesus is to know God.


Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, I praise you for your saving death and resurrection!