The doctrine of the Trinity is criticized by some because of the way it is presented. Too much theory and a complicated language.
To a certain extent we can agree with that. But, with in mind that, no matter how much we may strive in that direction, no human words will ever be able to fully describe God.
Personally, I don’t try to explain God: a God that we could understand and describe perfectly with human words would not be God. But I acknowledge the Revelation of Him we find in the Bible as sufficient light for my spiritual eyes.
The way the New Testament speaks of the Trinity is wonderful and unique. The simplicity of the language makes the doctrine of the triune God so accessible to anyone! The need for the common formulas we know (“one God in three persons”) and the orthodox Creeds of the Church, has been felt only in response to the attempt of some to abuse of this Truth of the Word. A Truth that will be so evident to the mind lead by the Holy Spirit in the simple enunciation of the main Bible passage which tell of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the Word this Truth is described in such a practical way. Nothing in the Bible is pure, abstract theory. The same applies to the Trinity. We will examine here the practical implications of our God: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:4-6. “There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.”
Our God is not far from us. He is above all, it’s true: He is our Heavenly Father. Though invisible in His essence, like the invisible thought He became visible in Jesus, who for this reason is called the Word of God. But He was not happy to become visible, tangible, in Jesus. God went further, He wanted to dwell in us. He does in fact through the Holy Spirit.
So that if God revealed Himself to the world when Jesus was born, He lives in us through His Holy Spirit. See how daily we live the reality of a Triune God!
When Jesus was baptized the Bible tells us exactly what happened.
Matthew 3:16-17: “And Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. And lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
To seal the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Father’s voice called him his Son and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a visible way.
God does everything with his wonderful order and perfect timing.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on in the world, and received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
In most newer translations you will find another reading and the word “God” is not present. Of course, nothing else could be implied except that “God was manifested”. So, it would be useless to discuss the matter here.
Even during the times of the apostles there were those who questioned that Jesus was God incarnated. Paul wrote his epistle to the Colossians also against those.
Colossians 2:8-9. “Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Those were very strong words to defend and state the truth of Jesus, the perfect revelation of the invisible Father. In Hebrews we read that Jesus is the
“shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence” (Hebrews 1:3)
Why is it so important? Because without Jesus there would be no redemption, no salvation.
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
1 Timothy 2:5 “For God is one, and there is one Mediator of God and of men, the Man Christ Jesus”
The Father would have never been fully revealed.
John 14:8-9 “Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father?”
Read the Gospels with this truth in mind and you’ll see what a great God we serve! There was a song some time ago called “One of us” which sang: “What if God was one of us?” by Joan Osborne. Well, the Bible tells us that there was a time when God became one of us!
Philippians 2:5-11. “For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
He was the perfect man, the second Adam, by his obedience destroying the results of the disobedience of our forefather.
1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive.”
See also 1 Corinthians 15:45 1 Corinthians 15:45 1 Corinthians 15:45-47.
Paul declares a wonderful truth, that God
“created all things by Jesus Christ”. Ephesians 3:9
This is the same that we read at the beginning of the Gospel of John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.”
That God created everything by His Word is evident from the first pages of our Bible, where we read of God literally speaking things into existence.
John also writes:
“And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.”
He taught his disciples:
John 16:23 “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give you.”
This is why we pray in the name of Jesus to the Father, doing exactly what our Lord commanded us to do. Also when we pray not only the Father and the Son are there! The Holy Spirit is there too, because the Scripture says:
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18.
You see here how the perfection of the Triune God reveals Himself in our daily practice of entering, because of the redemption we have in Jesus, the Holy of Holies, the presence of God the Father, by the Spirit, in prayer. It is nothing relegated to the realm of theory or philosophy, it is the way our God is real in our lives!
During his earthly ministry, Jesus knew he would soon go back to the Father. But he gave his disciples a promise.
John 15:26 “when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me.”
John 16:7-8, “But I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment.”
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is so wonderful. He inspired the Scriptures:
“For prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit” 2 Peter 1:21.
He, through the Word of God, works our spiritual regeneration.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 “
Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless “ a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”John 3:5-6
It can’t be more simple than this: we need to be born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom.
The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26
He helps us understand the Bible, like Jesus was teaching his disciples He teaches us: John 14:26 John 14:26
“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” John 16:13-14
“However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you.”
The Holy Spirit gives us an understanding of God’s will.
1Corinthians 2:9-10, 12: “But as it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,” nor has it entered into the heart of man, “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. […] But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.”
It is the Holy Spirit that lets us understand the things of God. Otherwise our eyes would be blinded and we would not understand. We all know. Before receiving Jesus, God’s will was impossible for us to understand.
1Corinthians 2:13-16 “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
What is so complicated about the Trinity? Here we see it at work for our redemption and our illumination, our perfect salvation and growth in the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit justifies us.
1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
He places praise in our hearts and on our lips:
“… God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6.
He alone is able to really set men free:
“And the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
He distributes His gifts:
“But to each one is given the showing forth of the Spirit to our profit. For through the Spirit is given to one a word of wisdom; and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; and to another faith by the same Spirit; and to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; and to another workings of powers, to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; and to another kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues. But the one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing separately to each one as He desires.” 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11
God Himself dwells in us, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we are His temple:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is promised to all those who have believed in Jesus and received Him as their Lord and Savior. Not to some believers, but to all the believers.
Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses of these things. And so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.
As a consequence, if we don’t have the Holy Spirit in us, we can’t be true believers.
Romans8:9 “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Holy Spirit testifies to us that we are children of God.
Not much theory. The doctrinal enunciation of the Trinity may be complicated, since it is hard to explain with mortal words an eternal and perfect God. But the Truth of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is unquestionably part of our daily Christian walk.
Taught at Higher Praise Christian Fellowship, Wednesday Bible Study, October 13, 2010.