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What about The Trinity?

Sound doctrine is important for Christians. It collects together the vital truths of our faith as recorded in the Bible. One of these doctrines is the doctrine of the �Trinity' which we look at here.

 

What is The Trinity?

Basically, the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity is that God is one God who exists as a Trinity, or three persons in one nature: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are one God, are equal in nature, distinct in person, and subordinate in duties, but equal in power and glory.

The doctrine of the Trinity exists to support not create this truth.

 

A difficult concept

No one would claim that the doctrine of the Trinity is easy to grasp, but it is something which, because of its importance, we must accept by faith.

One could try and illustrate it by saying that I am one person but also three - a husband, a father, a son - three different functions, each calling for a different kind of response within those functions. However, this is an inadequate and misleading illustration of the Trinity:

We must not reduce God to one person with three different roles or functions (That is Modalism).

Nor are there three separate gods in a cluster (That is Tritheism).

Our one God has revealed Himself in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

What is the Biblical proof?

A scripture that illustrates the Trinity is Matthew 28:19 where Jesus said, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...

Although the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, God progressively revealed himself as a Trinity through: the Father's work of creation, the incarnation of the Son, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

 

The facts of the biblical teaching are these:

There is one God. This one God has a plural nature. This one God is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, All distinct personalities, all designated God.

There is One God...

The Bible teaches that there is one God and only one God: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

This is what the LORD says - Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first  and I am the last; apart from me there is no God (Isaiah 44:6).

...with a plural nature

However, even though God is one in His essential being or nature, He is also three persons. God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness... (Genesis 1:26). God said, "The man has now become like one of us(Genesis 3:22).

God's plural nature is alluded to here, but who is he talking to? He could not be talking to angels in these instances, because angels could not and did not help God create the universe.

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, not the angels, created all things: He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16). So God was talking to Jesus.

 

In addition to speaking of God as one, and alluding to a plurality of God's being, the Scriptures are quite specific as to naming God in terms of three persons:

There is a person whom the Bible calls the Father, and the Father is designated as God the Father: Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead (Galatians 1:1).

The Bible also talks about a person named Jesus, or the Son, or the Word, also called God. �The Word was God�� (John 1:1).

Jesus also called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God - a reason for his rejection by the religious people of the day: For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18). See also Colossians 1:15-16, quoted above.

Then there is a third person mentioned in the Scriptures called the Holy Spirit, and this person - different from the Father and the Son - is also called God: Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:3-4).

 

Why is the doctrine of the Trinity so important?

Belief in the Trinity is a prime test of Christian orthodoxy, insisting as it does on the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Other religions and the cults - JW's, Mormons - all fall on the Trinity as they don't accept the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They accept their existence but in a lesser form than Christianity. They see Jesus as a good teacher, a prophet, or even �a' god, but not as God the Son. They also demote the Holy Spirit, calling Him a force for good at work in the world.

It is vital for revelation. Does God personally speak to us as revealed through Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Did Jesus really �show us the Father'? He could only do this as �Immanuel' - God with us! When the Holy Spirit speaks to us is it the Spirit of God himself or just some external force or agent?

It is vital for our salvation. Are we saved by God through God (in the person of Jesus Christ - his divinity is crucial), or is our mediator just another man like us, with the result that our salvation is not wholly divine, just divinely inspired? Was Jesus merely someone (like Mohammed of the Muslims) who just happened to be in the right place at the right time when God needed someone, had a dream and wrote a book saying this is God's word to us? If this were true our salvation is not divine and Christianity is just like any other religion.

Also, when we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, is it the life of God or just some external force? If the Holy Spirit were not God we would have no fellowship with God and we would be alien to the divine nature.

However, we know from God's Word and by experience that we are a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and that the Holy Spirit is in our lives.

 

'The Grace'

The Trinity is wrapped up in what we call 'The Grace':

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2Corinthians 13:14).

 

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