First Steps in Christ–Step Seven–The Trinity


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STEP SEVEN

Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Throughout the Bible, God revealed Himself as one God. Yet, God eternally exists in three distinct, divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We use the term “Trinity” to refer to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. From the earliest pages of Scripture, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit worked together. Together they were involved in creation, salvation, sanctification, and glorification. None of them works outside the single will of God, which always works to the glory of God. They do not fight among themselves, and never act in conflict with each other. They are totally united, always.

First Steps in Christ–Step Seven–The Trinity

The Baptism of Jesus

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold,the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting upon Him, and behold,a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:16-17, Page 1504

As Jesus stood in the Jordan river on earth, clothed with human flesh, truly God and truly man, a voice came from heaven and said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” In this passage, the three divine Persons appear at the same time. God the Son stood in the Jordan River on earth being baptized. God the Holy Spirit descended as a dove from heaven and landed on Jesus. God the Father then spoke from heaven. The Father and Son are not the same Person, for God the Father was speaking from heaven and God the Son was standing in the river. They exist simultaneously, and God the Son pleased God the Father. The passage also records the activity of the Holy Spirit. As a dove, the Holy Spirit alighted upon the Son of God as Jesus came up from the water. God the Holy Spirit is not the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit is not the God the Son. This passage helps to explain the three Persons of the Godhead. Even though we see God in three divine Persons, Jesus also described Himself as One with the Father (John 10:30, Page 1676). Likewise, in the Old Testament, God described Himself as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Page 297).

God Is Spirit

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”│John 4:24, Page 1660

God Is Spirit. Jesus taught that God is spirit. That means you cannot see God with human eyes because He is invisible (Colossians 1:15, Page 1841; 1 Timothy 1:17, Page 1855; John 6:46, Page 1666). The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were not created, but always existed together. Jesus took human flesh through the miracle of the Holy Spirit coming upon the virgin Mary and dwelt among men. He remained fully God, and also became fully man. While on earth, the Holy Spirit and the Father lived in Him and all the fullness of deity dwelt in Christ (John 3:34, Page 1658; 17:21, Page 1690; Colossians 2:9, Page 1843). Our human spirits bear the image of the invisible God (Genesis 1:26-27, Page 2), just as Christ is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4, Page 1807).

God Is Alive

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son to also to have life in Himself;” │John 5:26, Page 1663

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have eternal life in themselves. They have eternal existence from eternity past and continue through eternity future. God created the heavens and the earth, and every member of the Trinity participated in creation (Father, Genesis 1:1, Page 1; Son, John 1:3, Page 1653; Holy Spirit, Genesis 1:2, Page 1). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last (John 1:17-18, Page 1915; Revelation 22:12-13, Page 1941). When we consider our mortality, we must turn to God’s eternality. We rest in God because He has promised to love us forever. Because God controls eternity, without beginning or end, we place our full confidence in His power to sustain us forever. When He says He will never leave us or forsake us, He means for eternity. Death could not hold Jesus Christ, for it was impossible for Him to be held in the power of death (Acts 2:24, Page 1702).

When believers come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, they must turn away from all idols and serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9, Page 1847). God created and sustains all life on earth, and men must never worship creation and instead of the Creator God (Psalm 36:9, Page 889). We depend upon God daily for all our food (Psalm 145:15-16, Page 998). Spiritually, Jesus promised believers that He would give them a well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14, Page 1659). Jesus defined eternal life as knowing God the Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom God the Father sent to earth (John 17:3, Page 1689). God is the God of the living, for they have eternal life in Him (Mark 12:24-27, Pages 1582-1583).

Three Divine Persons: One God

“He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying “The LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET.’” │Matthew 22:43-44, Page 1542

God exists eternally as three divine Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (“the Trinity”). All three persons share all attributes and have a common purpose and common will. They share the same substance. Together they are one compound unity, one God. Consider the illustration below.

              Trinitarian Triangle

Notice that God the Father is not God the Son. Jesus could be standing at the Jordan River on earth, and His Father remains in heaven, speaking from above. Likewise, the God the Holy Spirit descended from heaven to earth. The God the Holy Spirit is not  God the Son or God the Father. Also, please keep in mind that God the Father never died on the cross; only God the Son (Jesus Christ) died on the cross. So, do not thank the God the Father in your prayers that God the Father died on the cross. Notice the arrows outside the triangle indicate the distinct Persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Notice the lines inside the triangle indicate that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all God. One God eternally exists in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God the Father

Jesus repeatedly testified that God the Father had sent Him to earth, to do His works. Because God the Father loved God the Son, God the Father showed God the Son all that God the Father was doing (John 5:19-20, Page 1662). God the Father loved the world, and sent Jesus, the unique Son of God, to die on the cross, so that every person who believes, will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16, Page1658). From God the Father, every family on earth derives its name (Ephesians 3:14, Page 1830).

God The Son

Jesus referred to Himself using many titles, but in the New Testament, He often described Himself as the Son of God and the Son of Man. The title Son of God emphasized His unity with God, and the title Son of Man emphasized His unity with man. God the Son always existed, and He was never created. He was before all things, and all things were made through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16, Page 1841). God the Son died on the cross, and shed His blood to take away the wrath of God and provide salvation for people. Without faith in God the Son as Savior, no one comes to the Father, for Jesus Christ is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6, Page 1684). One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11, Page 1837).

God the Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit participated in creation, just like God the Father and God the Son participated in creation (Genesis 1:2, Page 1; 1 Corinthians 8:6, Page 1791; Colossians 1:16, Page 1841). God the Holy Spirit possesses all the attributes of God. God the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30, Page 1831) and can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19, Page 1851). God the Holy Spirit fills the believer (Ephesians 5:18, Page 1832) and Jesus baptizes each believer with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Page 1504). God the Holy Spirit moves men to speak for God (2 Peter 1:21, Page 1901) and God the Holy Spirit knows all things, for He searches the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-13, Page 1784). God the Holy Spirit abides everywhere (Psalm 139:7-8, Pages 992-993). God the Holy Spirit acts as a Helper for believers (John 14:16, Page 1685) and a Teacher (John 14:26, Page 1685) Who guides us into all truth (John 16:13, Page 1688). By the Holy Spirit believers have been sealed for the day of redemption, for He functions as a pledge of our salvation (Ephesians 4:30, Page 1831; Ephesians 1:13-14, Page 1827). The Holy Spirit lives within each believer (1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797) and we walk in the Holy Spirit so that Holy Spirit produces His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:16-26, Pages 1825-1826).

 

God Is Love

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” │1 John 4:7-8, Page 1908

God is Love. The Bible used a special word for love here: agape. Agape describes love that only a perfect, holy God can give to you. Agape means that God does the best thing for you, not necessarily what will make you feel good. In order to share God’s love with anyone, you must first be born of God. If you have not been born again, then you cannot know God’s love or share His love. When you believe that Christ died in your place on that cross to pay for your sins, and believe in your heart that God raised Christ from the dead, then God has forgiven your sins. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit suffered crucifixion in the flesh, but Jesus did. We believe that Jesus died for us. God says the just shall live by faith. As we live in faith, God pours His love upon us and through us. Nothing characterizes God better than love. Jesus died for us because the Father loved us and gave His Son for us. Jesus loved us and endured the shame of the cross. The Holy Spirit loves us and empowers us to live for Christ.

Modalism Heresy

“He said to them ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying, “THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”‘? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son? │Matthew 22:43-45, Page 1542

Some people falsely teach that God is only one person. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Oneness Pentecostals, and other groups deny that God eternally exists in three divine Persons as one God.This heresy denies that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both God just like the God the Father. The Bible clearly affirms the deity of Jesus Christ, meaning that He is really God (John 1:1, 14; Pages 1652-1654). The Bible clearly affirms the deity of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-6, Page 1707). Modalists teach that the one God appears as Jesus, as the Father, and the Son, but He always takes just one form or another. God never appears simultaneously as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. According to Modalists, God appears on one mode or another. Modalists fail to understand the baptism of Jesus. On earth Jesus stood in the Jordan river as God in the flesh. At the same time, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and landed upon Jesus at the river. At the same time, God the Father spoke from heaven about His beloved Son, Jesus at the river. So, all three Divine Persons were present at the same time. Therefore, Modalism contradicts the Bible. Antichrists teach Modalism. Be careful to avoid antichrists and Modalism.

 Openness of God Heresy

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”│John 4:24, Page 1660

The Openness of God Heresy holds that God does not know all the future, and He does not control all the future, because humans make choices that affect how the future will unfold. In that sense, the future remains open to change, depending upon what humans decide. In essence, The Openness of God Heresy denies the omniscience of God (He knows everything–past, present and future). God actually proclaims that He alone knows all things, including all future things (Isaiah 41:21-24, Pages 1133-1134). The Openness of God Heresy also denies the immutability of God. God never changes (James 1:17, Page 1888; Hebrews 13:8, Page 1886). The Openness of God Heresy denies the omnipotence of God (Matthew 19:26, page 1535; Jeremiah 32:37, Page 1241). Antichrists teach the openness of God when they suggest that God does not know all things in advance. In fact, God controls all things according to divine will (Ephesians 1:11, Page 1827).

The Attributes of God

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” │ Romans 1:20, Page 1759

The creation of God displays His glory and reveals God’s divine attributes. God renders man without excuse by displaying His attributes, eternal power and divine nature for the whole world to see and reverence. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have these attributes. God has three “omni” attributes, plus immutability. We can examine them briefly and see that they related to one another.

Omniscience

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our hearts before Him in whatever our heart condemns us for God is greater that our heart and knows all things.”│ 1 John 3:20, Page 11907

Omniscience means God knows everything (1 John 3:20, Page 1907). God remembers the end from the beginning. God declared that  from ancient times He will accomplish all His good pleasure.  (Isaiah 46:9-10, Page 1144). God knows all things, including all the things that you need, even before your pray (Matthew 6:8, Page 1508). Even before I speak, God knows all things (Psalm 139:1-6, Page 992).

Omnipresence

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”│John 4:24, Page 1660

Omnipresence means God is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12, Pages 992-3). King David always knew that God was with Him (Acts 2:25, Page 1702). Jesus promised that He would always be with us, and that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, Page 1886). God Himself is never far off, and man cannot hide himself from the presence of God. God fills the heavens and the earth (Jeremiah 23:23-24, Page 1222).

Omnipotence

“And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” │Matthew 19:26, Page 1535

Omnipotence means God has all power (Matthew 19:26, Page 1535). God can do all things, and nothing can stop His power (Job 42:2, Page 855). Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37, Page 1595). God’s power acts in righteousness and no one has ever seen such power as God displays (Isiah 64:4, Page 1171).

Immutability

“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore, you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”│Malachi 3:6, Page 1497

Immutability means that God does not change (Malachi 3:6, Page 1497). God never lies, never repents of evil, never fails to do what He promised to do (Numbers 23:19, Page 260).  God never changes, never varies, never has a shifting shadow, but always gives perfect gifts (James 1:17, Page 1888).  When God called you to salvation, He never withdraws His gifts or revokes your calling (Romans 11:29, Page 1775).

First Steps in Christ–Step Seven–The Trinity