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The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Brief overview: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6;1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 8:1, 2;John 14:1-3.)
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27;16:7-13.)
Why it is important to know the truth about the Trinity:
Some people make this teaching more intense and complicated than it really is. Some wonder how the Father , Son and Holy Spirit can all be three different Beings while just one God. It is really very simple. There is one Congress in the United States. Yet it has over 500 members. The Senator from Florida is a congressman, while the Senator from Hawaii is also. Still they make up one congress or one ruling entity. So there is one God or one ruling entity made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 1 john 4:8 tells us God is love. The Bible tells us love is being others centered as opposed to being self centered. If you think about it, there had to be a time in the universe when nothing else existed but God. I don’t know how long ago it was or how long it lasted, but my reason (which is subject to error) tells me at one point in time there had to be nothing but God. If God had been only one Being at that point in time He could not have been love, because love is being others centered, and He would have had only Himself to be centered on. But God has always been three Beings, each one centered upon the needs of the Others, therefore God has always been love. The Trinity or Godhead is the First family of the universe. They are a model of what are families can be.
Why it is important to understand the Trinity in light of the cross.
Understanding the trinity is crucial to understanding John 3:16.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT For years I just pictured Jesus coming to die for us and making all the sacrifices while God the Father just stayed up in heaven and watched from a distance. Then in the mid-1990s I got a phone call from my mother. A young friend of ours had died while waiting on a heart transplant. My mother was crying, telling me she had lived a full life so why couldn’t she have just given our young friend her heart? “No way!” I thought to myself. “You are my mother!” When I hung up the phone I had a clearer view of John 3:16 and what happened at the cross. God the Father was not just watching from a distance as His Son made all the sacrifices. It was actually God who was making the greater sacrifice. Many of us would rather suffer ourselves, than see a family member suffer. Unless you understand the Trinity, and that there was a Father sacrificing not Himself, but His Son, you really can’t understand the cross.
Further Study on the Trinity
Who was present at the Baptism of Jesus?
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17 NLT
Note: Here we see three distinct members of the Godhead, the Son Jesus, coming up from the water, The Holy Spirit descending like a dove, and the voice of the Father from heaven.
Did Jesus have to submit His will to the Father?
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39 NLT
To whom does the Holy Spirit bring glory?
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. John 16:13-14
Note: If the Holy Spirit was not His own Person and just the attitude of Jesus as some suggest, then John 16:13 would make no sense because here Jesus says the Holy Spirit is not working on His own but to glorify Jesus.
Does God want us all to be united as one as He and the Father are one, while we are still a multitude of Entities?
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. John 17:9-11 NLT
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area where the Bucs play.
Out of all the things I forgot while in school, sometimes I wonder what it was that made me remember the things that I do. I remember sitting in my 7th (or 8th?) grade English class at Tulsa Adventist Academy. The teacher, Miss Childers, asked if the word “crowd” was plural or singular. Since a crowd is a lot of people, I answered “plural”. Miss Childers told me she understood why I said that, but she went on to explain that while there may be many people in the crowd, it is still just one crowd, and therefore is singular.
That was over thirty years ago, and if I posted all my memories from all my English classes onto Google, it may use up 1KB. So why do I still remember such a mundane conversation that took place over thirty years ago? Maybe because that simple explanation by Miss Childers helps me understand the Trinity. While I go to a football game with over 70,000 people (Okay a Tampa Bay Bucs game with only 56,000 people) we are still just one crowd. That helped me understand how God can be singular while still being three Beings. Just like over 500 members make up one congress, likewise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make up One Godhead.
Gospel Workers, page 315, tells us that every truth from Genesis to Revelation needs to be presented in the light of the cross and God’s love. So how does the Trinity help us understand the cross and God’s love? 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. At the cross we see that love is putting other people first, when we think of their needs and wants instead of our own. Now I don’t know when it was or how long ago it was, but logic tells me there had to be a time when nothing else existed except God. Now if God had only been one Being, at that point in time, He could not have been love, because love is thinking of others instead of yourself, and if God had only been One Being, He would have had nobody else to think about besides Himself. God has always been love, because even before anything else existed at all, God was three beings, each One always thinking about the needs and wants of the Other.
By the way, the Godhead is the First Family of the universe. They are an example of what our families are to be. One family, with several members, each one always thinking about the needs and how to please the others in the family. Likewise, our families can be love just like the First Family is love.