“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3 KJV).
Recently we looked at this verse regarding the source of eternal life. Eternal life comes as a result of knowing the one true God, not simply taking in knowledge or theological facts about God.
This passage also stresses the importance of knowing Jesus Christ, whom God sent to provide our salvation. One can know about God and not believe in Christ, and therefore not have eternal life. It does not matter that people “worship the same God,” if they do not recognize Christ as the Son of God. The same Apostle John in his first letter said:
“Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23).
Notice carefully what John says here. “No one who denies the Son has the Father.” Anyone who rejects Christ has also rejected God. John also wrote: “Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son” (1 John 5:10). When you do not believe what God says about Christ, you are actually calling him a liar. That is a serious charge.
In addition to just knowing Christ, one must know the true Christ. In Matthew 24:24, Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (NKJV). Believing in the wrong Christ is just as bad as believing in no Christ at all. Following a false prophet or a false prophetic organization will lead you to destruction.
In the late third and early fourth centuries, a heresy known as Arianism arose within the church. The essence of Arius’ teaching was that Christ was a son of God created by the Father, and separate and distinct from him. Therefore, Christ is both subordinate and inferior to the Father, and not eternal. Arius based his view partly on John 14:28 where Jesus said “my Father is greater than I” (KJV).
The New World Translation also holds to this teaching. Whereas the King James Version says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” the New World Translation says that the Word was “a god.” Their teaching is that the Word (Christ) is separate, distinct, and inferior to the Father (Jehovah). They teach that Jehovah created Christ and then Christ created everything else.
This means that there are two Gods, The Father God and the Word, “a god.” Also there are two separate acts of Creation. God created Christ, then Christ created everything else. So if Christ is separate and distinct from the Father, there is more than the “only true God.” There is God and “a god.” The Watchtower’s response is that the devil is called the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4 KJV), but that he is a false god. Therefore they face a dilemma. Is Christ a true God or a false god? That leaves only two possibilities—Trinitarianism, which they deny, or polytheism, which they also deny. There are no other options based on Scripture.
Second, the rest of the passage denies more than one creation. John 1:3 states, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (KJV). If you accept the Watchtower’s view, then some thing was made without him, and that was Christ himself whom Jehovah created. This obviously contradicts the teaching of the Bible. There was only one act of creation. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (KJV). It does not say that in the beginning God created the Word, then the Word created everything else.
Then the Christ of the Watchtower is not the Christ of the Bible, but rather a false Christ of the kind that Jesus warned us about in Matthew 24:24. Their doctrine follows the fourth century heresy of Arianism or at best, semi-Arianism, that states that Christ was created distinct from and inferior to the Father. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 declared that doctrine to be a heresy. The Watchtower has resurrected it.
The biblical view is that Christ is co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Christ is the unique (Greek, monogenos) Son of God. No one else is like him.
Settling who Christ is to you is the most important issue of your life. To know him is to have eternal life. To be mistaken about him leads to condemnation. Make sure you have believed in the biblical Christ, not a false god. He calls you to take up your cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23).