In answering the question, “Why is Jesus Christ unique?” what we are asking is one of the most critical questions anyone can ask, “What must I do to be saved?”
1 Timothy 1:15 contains one of the most concise and comprehensive answers to that question. This passage helps Bible readers discover that central to the salvation of sinners is that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Paul uses “done” and not “do” about the person of Jesus, which is foundational. Jesus can do all He did because He is who He is.
The uniqueness of the person of Jesus secures the validity of Jesus’ finished work.
The Importance of the Uniqueness of Jesus
Jesus did not conjure Himself or come into the world as a genie in a bottle, nor as a moral teacher or philosopher. Jesus “came into the world,” as Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15, which shows the preexistence of Jesus in another realm prior to existing in this world as a baby.
As we gather together the biblical witness to identify Jesus, we would do well to look at the answer given in the Westminster Shorter Catechism Answer 21.
In that biblically grounded answer, the great confession tells us that “the only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal son of God, became man, and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.”
These truths tell readers about the identity of Jesus, which is made clear at the beginning of each gospel. Matthew 1 tells Bible readers about Joseph’s discovery that his bride-to-be was pregnant.
After he prayed and thought about what action to take, the Lord sent an angel to inform him that Mary was pregnant, not because of an immoral act with a man, but by her submission to the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit.
The angel informed Joseph that Mary would give birth to Jesus, the name meaning, “The Lord is my salvation.”
In the same chapter, it is told that the one to be born of Mary was to be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” The one conceived by the Holy Spirit, born as a man, is the God-Man Christ Jesus.
Jesus is fully God Himself with all the attributes and characters of the true God, but He is also fully Man. The unique person of Jesus accomplishes the “done” of salvation from sin and its consequences.
The Uniqueness of Jesus in Scripture
The Bible has much to teach Bible readers about the uniqueness of Jesus in the following ways:
Jesus is the only Way to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:15). There is no other way to salvation but through Jesus, because He is the only righteous One who exchanged perfect righteousness for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus alone had power over His death and the ability to take His life back again (John 2:19; 10:17-18).
God, the Father, states that the Son is to be honored as He is honored (John 5:23).
Jesus has the power to give life to whom He will (John 5:21).
The Father has committed all judgment to Jesus (John 5:22).
Jesus was virgin-born conceived by the Holy Spirit. The sin nature inherited from Adam is genetically inherited. Jesus had no human father and was born without a sin nature (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:30-35).
Jesus demonstrated He had the attributes of God such as the power to forgive sins and heal the sick (Matthew 9:1-7), to calm the winds and the seas (Mark 4:37-41), to know man and being perfectly acquainted with man (Psalm 139; John 1:46-50; 2:23-25), and to raise the dead (John 11; Luke 7:12-15; 8:41-55).
The prophecies concerning Jesus’ birth, life, resurrection, person, and purpose were all fulfilled by Him and no other (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:10; Psalm 22; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 11:12-13; 13:7).
The Heresy at Colossae and Paul’s Response to It
In Colossians, Paul had to deal with false teaching known as the “heresy of Colossae.” This heresy was a combination of Jewish elements mixed with mystical practices all connected to Gnosticism.
Gnostic supporters had managed to infiltrate the church at Colossae by teaching Christians that certain knowledge had not been made known by Jesus or the apostles. Paul wrote Colossians to prevent the Christians at Colossians and any Christian today from falling into these teachings.
The Centrality of Christ
Central to the argument Paul is making in Colossians is that, in Christ, Christians have everything they need: Wholeness, fullness, perfection, and satisfaction in God. Paul’s answer to the false teachers is to highlight the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus.
His argument is presented in the person of Jesus. Colossians 1:15 tells us Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” through whom, and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is, before all things, and in Him, all things are held together (Colossians 1:17).
All who are united to Jesus have already graciously received, from God the Father, perfection, wholeness, and satisfaction.
The totality of God’s knowledge is in Christ, for He is the mystery of God, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3). All of Jesus is infinitely superior to the knowledge offered by the false teachers in Colossae.
The Superiority of Christ
According to Paul, one of the appeals of the false teachers at Colossians was their teaching, the “elemental spirits of the world” a reference to angel beings who, according to Gnosticism, dominated the planets and other celestial bodies and filled in the fullness between God as man as meditators.
In response to this teaching, Paul teaches that in Christ dwells the fullness of deity bodily (Colossians 2:8-9). Jesus is God Himself incarnate as the God-Man, so there is no need for angelic mediators to reach up to God and toward perfection.
In Christ, the people of God have all they need because Jesus is all they need (Colossians 2:10). Jesus triumphed over the powers and principalities, which, according to Gnostic teaching, dominated the essential elements of the universe (Colossians 2:15).
Christians should reject the worship of angels for such teaching is based on hallucinations (Colossians 2:18). In Christ, Christians are dead to the “elementary spirits of the world” (Colossians 2:20).
The Sufficiency of Christ
Paul makes clear in Colossians that the ascetic rigor demanded by the Gnostic teachers has no power to stop the passions of the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23).
Through union with Christ, in His death and resurrection, Christians can mortify the flesh and live for the Lord (Colossians 3:1-17).
Paul, in Colossians, also helps Christians understand that Jesus is sufficient to meet all the needs of those who belong to Him.
Jesus satisfies the thirst of the people of God for wholeness, along with our deepest yearnings in Him.
By daily communion with Christ through the means of grace, Christians find satisfaction for all their needs. Thus, by being satisfied in Christ, Christians serve God in this world with a heart full of dedication and passion.
A happy heart in Christ empowers the Christian to overcome sin and dedicate themselves to the service of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ.
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Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOG, Instagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.