What does it mean in these verses that Christ is “equal” with God?
Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
This is a very good question. These verses can be quite confusing, especially when someone has been taught the false Trinity Doctrine.
Let’s start with John 5:18 and the preceding verses.
Joh 5:16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
Joh 5:18 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.
Christ did say that God was his father and he also acted and spoke with great authority. He did things like breaking the Sabbath and reforming the Law of Moses. No Jew would dare to change God’s law. In this capacity Christ was acting as God’s equal.
Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mat 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
Mat 5:39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
If you were a Jew hearing this for the first time you would be thinking, “Who does this guy think he is?”. God gave us these commands and now he says he’s God’s son and is changing everything! No wonder they wanted to kill him.
Christ goes onto explain John 5 why he has such great authority.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
Joh 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
This point is confirmed in Matthew.
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Christ has been given the authority to act on behalf of God as his representative. Therefore in many ways He was and is equal with God. However, the scriptures also reveal that the Father is always greater that Christ.
Heb 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Joh 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Joh 14:28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
The best way to explain Philippians 2:6 is through the relationship between Joseph and Pharaoh.
Php 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Pharaoh gave Joseph all authority in Egypt, but Pharaoh was still the one on the throne. Joseph was never greater than Pharaoh but they were equal in power in many ways. This is a type and shadow of the relationship between God and Christ.
Gen 41:38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”
Gen 41:39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
Gen 41:40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
Gen 41:41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Gen 41:42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.
Gen 41:43 And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
Here in 1 Cor 15 Paul explains that Christ’s authority over all is only for a season to accomplish the purpose of putting all enemies under his feet. This is saying that after all men are saved Christ’s job is done and he give the kingdom back over to the Father.
1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:27 For “HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
1Co 15:28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
I hope this makes it clear that Christ is equal to God in power an authority because God has given them to Christ. God the father will always be greater that Christ because he is the only true God, the one who created Christ and gave him all he has.
1Co 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
Let me know what you think,