THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
THE TRIUNE NATURE OF GOD
Three distinct persons-Fully God and equal
The trinity, what is it? What does it mean? The trinity is a term that it is believed to be first used by a theologian (Tertullian) in the late 2nd century, to reference the totality of what the Bible teaches about who God is. The word trinity is not found in the Bible but the concept clearly is. Does the idea of the trinity really matter? What difference does it make? The trinity is central to all that we believe. Without the trinity there is no salvation. It is an important concept to understand for several reasons:
1) We were created in His image-our longings for a sense of belonging, relationships, the basics of order and roles all come out of the trinity. It is how we were designed to express ourselves;
2) It affects the way we understand and relate to our God. We cannot have a full appreciation and love for God without knowing who He is. We are not talking about some concept, some theological debate. We are talking about God, His nature who He is; and
3) It is how He revealed Himself to us. It is how He wants us to know Him. When some one shares something about themselves with you it is because they want you to know them better, to be at a deeper level with you. The same is true with your relationship with God. He wants you to understand as much as you can about the richness of your relationship with Him and His love for you;
4) God by His very nature expresses to us the value of relationships, the value of community and what that looks like. Ephesians 4:2-6 2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” There are three distinct persons, but one God acting in perfect unity, clearly demonstrating oneness with diversity within the trinity. Another example, Philippians 2:1-10 “1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” A clear example of God’s design for the church reflected in the triune Godhead. The church is to operate as a community, diverse, with individual roles, different levels of authority, like a family (parents and children), none being more important than the other subjecting ourselves to each other. Unity is not we are all the same, believe exactly the same dress the same. Unity is keeping our eyes fixed on the same God, same purpose, the same hope, subjecting ourselves one to another.
God is one.
So as we talk about three distinct persons we are not talking about three Gods or God expressing Himself in three ways. We are looking at three distinct persons, with three distinct roles in perfect unity. When I say person I do not mean in the sense of arms and legs but a person having intellect, can speak, has feelings and a will. Each person being fully God, meaning each has all the attributes of God, those that we covered a moment ago, eternal, all-powerful, all knowing etc. Each being equal, meaning one is not more God than another, but each having a distinct role working in perfect unity. So here is how we will break it down. We will look at the Word of God to see how God Himself weaves the divinity of all three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout scriptures, Old and New Testament. A triune understanding of God is absolutely necessary to understanding how we are created, His love, His eternality and our salvation. It is who God is and it is how He has revealed Himself to us. We will not attempt to compare Him in substance to water, egg, an avocado or any other fruit. But we will look at how the Trinitarian relationship is a part of His nature
Father Most people accept the fact that the Father is God and is referred to as God throughout His Word.
John 6:27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
1 Corinthians 8:6 “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3 Ephesians 1:3)
Jesus is clearly called God throughout the Scriptures.
Matthew 28:9 “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.” Jesus received worship. Only God is to be worshipped (Deuteronomy 17:1-7; Acts 10:25-26)
John 1:1-4; 1:14 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 apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 14. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 5:17 John 12:37:41 Isaiah 6:9-11; 20:28-29 Hebrews 1:8 1 Corinthians 8:4-6)
Jesus claimed to be God and that is why they wanted to kill Him. (Mathew 26:63-65; John 5:17-23;John 10:30-39)
Jesus was also fully human (Isaiah 7:14; 9:16; Romans 8:3; 1John 4:2)
Holy Spirit– The Holy Spirit is also called God throughout the Scriptures. In the OT He is associated with God’s power (an attribute only attributed to God) Micah 3:8; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13, 19. He is eternal, Hebrews 9:14, He is all knowing, Isaiah 40:13-14; 1 Corinthians 2:10. He is creator, GEN 1:2; Psalm 104:30. He is all-present, Psalm 139:7. In the New Testament Acts 5:3-4; John 14:16; 2Corinthians 3:16-18
Acts 5:3 “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Just begin to look at scripture through the lens of the triune God. You will see how it unfolds in a beautiful way. Look at the triune God like a dance that weaves in and out in rhythm to music. If you look at God as one and one dimensional you miss out on all the depth and richness He has for us. (one dimensional vs 3D CGI)
References to the triune God
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 on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
1 Corinthians 6:11
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
2 Corinthians 13:14
1 Thessalonians 1:3-5
2 Thessalonians 2:13
Trinity in Gospel Summary
Jesus the second person of the trinity, God, took on human flesh without giving up His deity and in this form bore our sins as a perfect sacrifice for the father. Through this we received new life through the Spirit.
Creation and Restoration
Triune nature of God allowed God to create Man. Because God had a perfect relationship within the trinity there was no need to create man for His need to use us but purely out of His will pleasure and love. The triune nature of God allows Him to love.
God can be eternal and personal because of His triune nature. Can there be an eternal God that is personal who existed by Himself for an infinite amount of time? Because of His triune nature He is love who perfectly existed three persons diverse yet in harmony.
Triune Nature of God Revealed in Scriptures
Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
The plural “let Us..” and the plural pronoun “in our…”
Gen 3:22 – Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever–”
Same concept, “..become like us…”
Gen 11:7 – “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Again the same concept
Psalm 110:1 David said “The Lord says to my Lord…”
See Matthew 22:41-46
Isaiah 63:10- God’s people grieved the Holy spirit. Indicating He is separate from and able to be grieved, emotional characteristic indicating a distinct person
See also Isaiah 61:6
Trinity in the New Testament
Mat 3:16 – And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
Mat 3:17 – and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
1Peter 1:2 similar verse mentioning all three persons of Trinity
Summary:-God is three persons-Each person is fully God-There is one God
Each person of the godhead is fully God but God is not fully God without each person.