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I wrote earlier (January 24th) that even to hint at the Lord Jesus is called “theos” for the believer is a testimony to the fact that He is God. The comments by Albert Barnes concerning the “true God” (cf. 1 John 5:21) in application to the Lord Jesus also apply here.

“…if John did not mean to affirm this, he has made use of an expression which was liable to be misunderstood, and which, as facts have shown, would be misconstrued by the great portion of those who might read what he had written; and, moreover, an expression that would lead to the very sin against which he endeavors to guard in the next verse — the sin of substituting a creature in the place of God, and rendering to another the honor due to him. The language which he uses is just such as, according to its natural interpretation, would lead people to worship one as the true God who is not the true God, unless the Lord Jesus be divine. For these reasons, it seems to me that the fair interpretation of this passage demands that it should be understood as referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. If so, it is a direct assertion of his divinity, for there could be no higher proof of it than to affirm that he is the true God.”

http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/view.cgi?bk=1jo&ch=5#1

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments repeated warnings are given concerning idolatry. Time and time again this sin has been so pervasive and destructive. The true God is extremely far and high above all creation. John would not write in such a way as to even hint at associating any created being, no matter how highly exalted, to the Creator and then immediately warn against idolatry if he did not believe the Lord Jesus is “the true God”. In the same way Paul would not hint that the Lord Jesus is the “great God” if he didn’t believe it to be true.

Notice also that when God is called “great” it is used in connection with offering Him supreme worship (Deuteronomy 10:17; cf. v. 20). The Lord Jesus receives supreme worship by believers as well which affirms they would view Him as the “great God”.

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