Lesson 5 - THE HOLY TRINITY
(Understanding and Appreciating God’s Multi-personal Nature)
By Brian S. Holmes
There’s only One True God. But is God as the Jews and Muslims claim, or as the Christians claim? And does it matter? The Bible reveals God is trinitarian. In this lesson we’ll examine: 1) what the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity is and where it came from, 2) a few ways the Bible teaches this truth, and 3) how this impacts our relationship with God.
1. What is the Holy Trinity? God’s triune nature is revealed in three distinct persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The many false religions Satan has inspired in the world have tried to distort the truth of this doctrine by making up lies about it. The Qur’an claims repeatedly that Christians believed Jesus’ mother Mary was part of it. Which was never true and another example of how we know the Qur’an didn’t come from God. Another lie told is that Christians believe in three different gods, which is false. Some polytheistic religions borrow our word trinity and use it for three of their gods. However, this unique doctrine and term “the Holy Trinity” was created by Christians in 325 AD to help explain the profound reality of God’s nature revealed in the Bible. That there’s only one, singular, eternal God, in all of existence. There were no gods before Him, there will be no gods after Him, and He alone is to be worshipped and receive all glory. Yet, He is also multi-personal and has revealed Himself with three distinctions: 1) God our Heavenly Father; 2) the eternal Logos or Word of God that is the very image and expression of God that became the man Jesus of Nazareth (the Christ, the Son of God); and 3) the Spirit of God also called the Holy Spirit, who is God’s tangible spiritual presence. I said three distinctions, not separations. They’re distinct. We can identify and relate to them separately but they’re not separate, divided, or capable of disagreement. They’re in absolute unified agreement, eternally. It’s always been that way and will always be that way. To say God becomes three separate “modes” is also wrong, because all three exist at the same exact time. The three are coequal, coeternal, and work together with a single divine will. The three are all the One God and everything else is their creation.
2. Where is the Holy Trinity in the Bible? Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 to baptize all of His disciples “in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” All followers of Jesus need to know, believe, and submit to this truth. The Father is called God in 1 Peter 1:3, 2 John 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, Ephesians 1:3 and 1:17, John 20:17, and 2 Corinthians 11:31. The Son (Jesus the Christ) is only called God a few places including Titus 2:13, Romans 9:5, Isaiah 9:6, and John 20:28. But Jesus is described numerously as being the only one to actually know the Father, having come from Him, and having the same divine and eternal attributes as God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning… the Word was with God, and the Word was God” and in verse 14 it says, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” In verses 3 and 10 it says through Him (Jesus) all things that exist were made. Hebrews 1:2 says the Son is through whom God made the universe. Verse 3 says, “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Likewise, Colossians 1:15-16 says that “the Son is the image of the invisible God” and “all things have been created through him and for him.” In the Bible Jesus is called eternal, gets credit for creation, receives worship, forgives sins, defies the laws of physics, is called the judge of humanity, hears and answers prayers, and shares the throne of God with the Father. This wasn’t missed by Jesus’s contemporaries either who attempted to stone Him for claiming to be God in John 10:33. And He was accused of blasphemy by the high priest in Matthew 26:65 for claiming to be the man in the prophet Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:13-14 who would receive the worship of the entire world, and this to the glory of God! The Holy Spirit is also called God in Ephesians 4:30, Acts 5:4-5, and 1 Corinthians 6:11. 2 Peter 1:21 says it was the Holy Spirit speaking through every one of God’s prophets. He is personal and knowable like the Father and the Son. In John 16:13-15 Jesus said “he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears” (from Jesus). The Holy Spirit only speaks what He hears from the Son, who only speaks what He hears from the Father (see John 8:28). They are inseparable as One, yet are also distinct.
3. Our multi-personal God invites us to become family through Jesus. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 God prophesied of a future time when He would give the people a new heart and put His very own spirit in them. This was also prophesied in Joel 2:28-32. The apostle Peter said this prophecy was fulfilled through the new covenant through Jesus in Acts 2:1-39. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 describes how we’re now the temples of God because His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) lives in us. Romans 8:9-11 describes this too, saying that the spirit in us is also both the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead. Furthermore, we’re now children of God, adopted to sonship. This is also repeated in John 1:12-13, Ephesians 1:5, and Galatians 4:5. Romans 8:14 says since through Christ we are now children of God then, “we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory.” Ephesians 2:19 says, “you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” Romans chapter 8 concludes saying NOTHING “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Let’s pray. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving and adopting us! Thank You Lord Jesus for saving us and shepherding us! Thank You Holy Spirit for indwelling, preserving, and guiding us! We worship You alone LORD God and You alone deserve all the glory and honor and praise. We desire to know You intimately and to live with You in Your house forever. Help us to know You more and more. Amen.