The One True God and the Trinity
by Gini Crawford, MSW
The doctrine or principle of the Trinity is - God is One God, but He exists eternally in three persons; each person is fully God. God's Word teaches us the One True God is: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The word trinity is never used in the Bible. It is a man-made technical term used to define the foundational truth of Who God is. (Matthew 28:19)
Have you ever heard of the Trinity? When I first became a Christian, I was taught about the Trinity, and just kind of took it on faith. However as I became more familiar with the Bible, I began to see God being One but in three persons all throughout it.
I think the idea of the Trinity is difficult for us to comprehend fully because our reasoning is from an earthly perspective. But we need to remember, God is God! He is incomprehensible. His ways, His thoughts, His reasoning, His power, His love, and so on, are so far above ours. Why wouldn't He be three persons, since He is so much greater in all ways than we are? In Isaiah 55:8-9 God states,
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." NASB®
God the Son
God the Son, who is Jesus Christ, explains the One True God to us. In God the Son - the word son or huios in the Greek language means relationship of Son to Father, or likeness of character, but never birth. God the Father is Spirit, so no man has seen Him at anytime. (John 4:24) The New Testament, very plainly teaches that Jesus has revealed God to us - He is God in flesh. Jesus said in John 14:9, "he who has seen Me has seen the Father." Many places in the Bible it is hard to tell whether the passage is talking about God the Father or God the Son. This is because of the doctrine of the Trinity.
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18 NASB®
Jesus Christ physically shows God to us (John 14:7-11). Jesus was in the Garden of Eden talking to Adam and Eve. He appeared to Hagar in Genesis 16 as the angel of the LORD; He appeared a number of other times to other people. Temporary appearances by God the Son to humans are called theophanies, which occurred before His incarnation.
The incarnation of Jesus Christ took place when God the Son, about 2,000 years ago, willingly let go of His glory and rights as the One True God, to take on flesh and blood. Jesus became a human just like you and me, but He was very different too. This was because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, which meant He was still fully God and had no sin nature. As He lived on this earth, He had the same hardships and joys poor people back then had. He also had the weaknesses, needs, temptations, and ills we all do. He also chose to suffer in ways no one else ever did for our sakes. Yet through it all He never sinned. Since He is God, He had to temporarily surrender His eternal nature to die on a cross for our sins. (Matthew 1:18-25; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 4:14-16). The Son of God did all of this so we could live happily ever after with Him. Amazing facts, aren't they?
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us ... And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NASB®
God the Holy Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is called our Helper. He represents Jesus to us. This is because He is Jesus Christ's proxy in the world while Jesus isn't here in bodily form. Jesus' disciples were worried about Him leaving them, so Jesus tells them about His Helper, the Holy Spirit. He assures them that His Helper will be sent to them and will live within them - to guide, comfort, empower, and teach them (and us too). (John 14:16-17, 26, 16:13-15; Acts 1:8; Titus 3:5).
As a Christian, did you know you have a hotline to God because His Spirit lives within you? What does it mean to you that the Holy Spirit is your Helper?
The Triune God
Today we learned about a fundamental doctrine - God is One but eternally exists in three persons. Look up and read each of these passages from God's Word which describe the fact of the Trinity. Write down one insight for each section.
- God is One God: Isaiah 45:5-6, 21-22; Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 6:4-5
- Jesus is God in the OT: Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23 (Immanuel means God with us)
- Jesus is God in the NT: John 1:18; John 14:7-11; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 2:2b, 9; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 5:20
- The Holy Spirit is God: Exodus 31:3; Isaiah 11:2; John 16:13-15; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:9-11
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