Saturday, December 14, 2013

"In God's Form"



Good day sister D
I was having a chat with a friend of mine about the trinity and he brought up Phil 2:6 and John 5:18. He said that he does not believe that the son and father are equal with authority but they are in form (deity).
How do you argue about the trinity doctrine with those scriptures in mind


Hello Modise,
It seems that your friend believes that although the father and son are equal in "form", they are not equal in authority.
It also seems (please correct me if I am wrong), that you believe that perhaps the father and son are not equal in "form".

It may help to define the Bible's definition of "form".
It seems reasonable to me, that I will first do a scriptural examination of the verses that come to mind in addition to the ones you site... and as a priority, come to an understanding of how the form of Christ compares to the form of God the Father.
Understanding these things is so that we are equipped to defend our scriptural faith when we are sincerely asked.

First, John5:18
It is important that we do not take John5:18 out of context. If we do, it cannot be accurately understood.

"17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."

Lets start with verse 17...
"But Jesus answered them, 'My Father has been working until now, and I have been working'".

Here Jesus refers to God as his Father.
He stated the working of God and himself, in response to an objection to his working.
John5:16 shows us that Jesus seemed to defy the law of the Sabbath. This undermined the authority of the religious leaders whom he was speaking to. As a result, "the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him".
When we "seek" something, we are eager to find it.
The Pharisees wanted to find a basis to kill Jesus.
They could not kill Jesus and make it appear just, simply because he defied the Sabbath, since Jesus accurately referred to David and the priests breaking such laws, and yet these were not condemned for it (Matt.12:2,3,4,5).

What did it mean to call God his Father? Did this mean that Jesus was himself claiming equality with God? Was this really a just and accurate basis to accuse Jesus of this claim? Did it make him guilty of blasphemy and deserving of death?
Well, consider what this same hypocritical group themselves said, at John8:41 B...
"Then they said to Jesus, 'We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.'”.

Did this mean that the Pharisees were saying they were equal to God?
No, but rather they claimed they were obedient children of God who strove to imitate Him (1Pet.1:14,15,16; Eph.5:1; Luke3:38).

It was the perverted justice of the Pharisees that twisted Christ's words at John5:17, into two false charges of which they could accuse him (John5:18)... that of breaking the sabbath, and of claiming equality with God. In fact, Jesus did neither. (Matt.12:2,3,4,5,6,8; John14:28).
In fact, if we finish examining the context, Jesus himself tried to correct this misunderstanding which resulted from claiming God as his Father.
See the next verse...John5:19...
"Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.'"

Neither the scriptures nor Christ himself said that he was equal to God. In fact, he corrected their twisting of his words, by declaring that he was an obedient slave of God (just as they claimed to be)...unable to do anything without his Father's guidance. (John5:19)
John5:16,18 simply conveys the rationalizing of the Pharisees as they sought a way to kill Jesus, which rationalization, according to John8:41 B, was complete hypocrisy on their part.

So when we read John5:18, we should understand from the context, that Jesus was not declaring himself equal to God, but rather;
this verse conveys to us the fabrication of the Jews, as they sought a basis to accuse, charge, and kill Jesus.
John5:18 is not a quote of Christ.

In claiming God as Father, the true meaning behind these words of Christ is only enforced by your other cited scripture and it's context....

"5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not deem himself worthy of snatching equality with God, 7 but emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of humans. 8 And being found himself in human design, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of impalement."

What is "the form of God"?
John4:24 tells us...
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Was the "Word" spirit (John1:1)? Yes. It was not until he "became flesh" (John1:14) and "took the form of men" that he "emptied himself" of being this great spirit being.

The Bible teaches us that all things were made according to their own kind. All seeds grow into the kind from which they came.(Gen.1:11,12,21,24,25).
When it came to the creation of Adam, (Gen.1:26,27; Luke3:38) this man who was originally perfect and without sin, was declared to be created in the image of God.
This could not be a physical resemblance, because we know that God is a spirit. Perfect men therefore, are in God's spiritual image.
Does this mean that we must be equal to God?
No. So we see that spiritual resemblance is not necessarily spiritual equality.

A resemblance is a likeness, but the same form is the same substance.
Neither necessarily mean equality.
A half glass of water is the same substance as a lake.
A child can share a likeness with his father.

If we were Adam, and we knew we had been made in God's image,
would we assume we were equal to God?
Let's return to Phil.2:5,6...
"5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not deem himself worthy of snatching equality with God".

If we were to compare the various "forms" found in God's creation, we can illustrate this.
There was the form of plant-life, the form of birds, the form of fish, the form of animals, and the form of mankind.
Does a new-born child exists in the form of a plant, a bird, a fish, a cat or other animal?
No. He exists in the form of his father. Does this necessitate that he is in all ways, equal to his father?

The "Word" existed in God's form. Both are spirit. But of all spirits, the "Word" bore the closest resemblance to the Father, because he directly came from God as God's only-begotten son (John3:16; 1:14,18). The rest of living creation came through this only-begotten Son (John1:3,10; Col.1:16; Heb.1:2) at God's command (Heb.11:3; Gen.1:26).

This can compare to an only son of a man, who then takes the life his father gave him, and proceeds to have his own sons who are like grandchildren to the first father. The first son most closely resembles the first father. Yet the first son could not have children, if it were not for the power of life he received from his own father.
a son bears the form of his father. This is even true of faithful Chosen (Rom.8:14; Matt.5:44,45,48; Rom.8:14,15,16,17,18,19,23; 9:8,26; John1:12; Gal.3:26) once they are sealed as sons of God, and unseen to human eyes, become born as spirit (Rom.8:9,11; 7:5; 5:24; 1Pet.1:23; 1Cor.15:50). If the faithful chosen who walk according to the spirit of God, are then considered His sons, does this also make them equal to God?
once sealed, they will exist "in God's form" of spirit
(Rom.8:9; 1Cor.15:39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,53).
But they, like Christ, are obedient slaves of God (Heb.5:8; Rom.6:17,18; Rev.7:3,4; 22:3,4; 1Cor.15:27,28). Like Christ, they can possess flesh along with spirit (1Pet.3:18; 1Cor.15:4,5,6,7,8; Acts1:3)
"A slave is not greater than his master" (Matt.10:24). We can only strive to learn to be like our Master (Luke6:40; John5:19). Even those who accomplish this (1Cor.2:16), will still be ruled over by that Master (Rev.19:16; 1:5,6; Phil.2:9,10,11).
So although Christ existed in both...
 the form of God, and the form of mankind,
this comparison has nothing to do with an actual equality with either.

God is eternally and unchangeably Almighty God (James1:17; Psalm90:2; Mal.3:6 A).
Not so with Christ (Phil.2:7).
So when your friend says that God and Christ are "equal in form"...
this is both right and wrong.
Yes, the "Word", and the glorified Christ share the same spirit form as God, but they are not equal spirits. But your friend is also correct...that this does not mean that they have the same authority, because even after all things are made subject to Christ, God is not made subject to Christ, but rather, Christ remains subject to God. (1Cor.15:27,28)
Even the perfect "Son of (perfect) man" Jesus (like Adam), resembled God (1Cor.15:45; Dan.7:13; Matt.12:8; Col.2:9,10), and yet, just as he himself stated, he was not equal to God (John10:29; 14:28).

Just as a son can exist in his father's form
(as is the case with Christ and the 144000) (spirit)
this does not include equality.

Regarding the "deity" of Christ...
If you are thinking that Christ should not be worshiped, and therefore does not share this sort of deity with God, this link may prove of interest:

I hope that both contexts...
that of the surrounding verses,
and that of the Bible,
helps to clarify the proper and accurate application of your two cited scriptures.
I also hope that it prepares you to reply to the question of your friend,
so that you can give him a scriptural basis for your faith.

Love in Christ,


  1. John4:24 tells us...
    "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
    Was the "Word" spirit (John1:1)? Yes. It was not until he "became flesh" (John1:14) and "took the form of men" that he "emptied himself" of being this great spirit being."
    Even though He emptied Himself of His body as a spirit,when people knew Jesus,they saw the Glory He had as Jahs only begotten son. The body He lived in,did not diminish that. Jesus might have been a "bigger cup" to hold "the water of God"in heaven,but while on earth,the "cup" or form he had here still showed the capacity it has for being in "Gods Glory". So much so,the verse you quoted says: "We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son." So even the cup/form He had while here was very capable of "Glory". Why He came here was to save that "Glory" that Adam had and threw away. It must not be lost,so precious was it. He wanted us to revel in its joy as He had done.

    1. It is important to recognize exactly what kind of glory Christ had, which John1:14 is referring to. Why?
      John17:22 reads:
      "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one".
      When the glory of the Sons of God is revealed (Rom.8:18), what exactly will this glory be? How will it be perceived by observers?
      If we return to John1:14, it tells us...."full of grace and truth".
      We are all waiting for Rom.8:19 to be fulfilled. But what appearance do we anticipate? Glowing Beings flying through the air?
      Do you expect this glory to be manifested physically? Was the glory of Christ manifested physically?
      In speaking of Christ, we read at Isa.53:2,3,9
      "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
      And as a root out of dry ground.
      He has no form or comeliness;
      And when we see Him,
      There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
      3 He is despised and rejected by men,
      A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
      And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
      He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
      9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
      But with the rich at His death,
      Because He had done no violence,
      Nor was any deceit in His mouth."

      The glory of Christ was spiritual...that of "grace and truth". As Isa.53:9 said, "No deceit was found in his mouth",
      just as the glory shared by his brothers (Rev.14:5).

      Adam did throw away this precious glory...
      that of possessing and glorifying the "grace" and "truth" of God.
      As the 144000 bore the likeness of the man of clay,
      those who are graced with the truth of God, bear the glory of the man of heaven (1Cor.15:47,48,49).

      When others perceive this glory of truth within God's sons...
      they stand revealed, to those with spiritual perception (Rom.8:19,17; Rev.11:11,12; 4:1; Luke14:10).


Please share below, your thoughts about this post.

Additional Pages for Study (coming soon)