Saturday, November 9, 2013
Triplets of Grace: God in Three Persons
God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), so only He can understand His own nature as One God in Three Persons. Like the mysteries of the Incarnation (John 1:14), the Church (Ephesians 5:32), and the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), the Trinity is a great mystery that our limited human minds cannot understand fully until we reach glory (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Yet the Scripture is clear that God is one God, yet a three-part Being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22). We may not fully comprehend it, but we can have faith that it is so because God’s Word says it (2 Timothy 3:16). Each Person of the Trinity is unique, and yet All are equally God and perfectly aligned in Their will.
God is Spirit (John 4:24), Love (1 John 4:8) and Light (1 John 1:5). The spirit, or mind, of Father God formed a plan (Job 33:4; Psalm 143:10; Isaiah 61:1; Romans 8:9,14,27;; the body of God the Son offered Himself in perfect love to fulfill that plan (John 10:15,17; 15:13; 1 John 3:16). and the light energy of the Holy Spirit empowered that plan (Genesis 1:2). Father, Son and Holy Spirit are self-existent (Exodus 3:14), present from the beginning of time (John 1:1), and each possesses all the divine attributes.
From the beginning of Scripture (Genesis 1:1), the Trinity appears as Elohim, or Hebrew for God -- a plural noun used with a singular verb form, reflecting the constancy of all three Persons of God acting as One Creator. God the Father loved the world so much that to save it He gave His Son (John 3:16), conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).
When Jesus the Son was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a bodily shape like a dove, and God the Father in Heaven voiced His approval of His Son (Luke 3:22). As Jesus died for our sins, He with His last breath recognized that the Spirit was leaving His earthly body and was returning to the Father (Luke 23:46).
Thank God for His Triune nature, for without it, how would the plan of salvation be possible? Jesus suffering and dying as human flesh to pay for our sins would have no meaning or value unless God the Father raised Him from the dead, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All who trust in that as the only way to heaven (John 14:6) can therefore have everlasting life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
After His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus Christ’s last words to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven were: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
When a person is saved by placing their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8; 2 Corinthians 1:22), Who instructs them in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2). In turn, we can know the Father through knowing Jesus Christ (John 5:37;14:7-9). Paul prayed that the Father of glory would give believers at the church of Ephesus the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17).
Many of the other epistles acknowledge and recognize the distinct yet unified Persons of the Trinity. Jude tells us to pray in the Holy Ghost to keep ourselves in the love of God (the Father), looking forward to eternal life through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:20-21). Peter says that believers are foreknown by the Father, sanctified by the Spirit, and cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:2).
When we are born again and then baptized as a public act of obedience to God, we are baptized “in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” reflecting the “the fact that all three persons of the Trinity have accomplished our salvation,” as the Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon put it (Sermon no. 115; 1 February, 1857). Spurgeon goes on to say:
The Father blots out my sin; the Father accepts me and adopts me into his family through Christ. The Son could not save without the Father any more than the Father without the Son; and as for the Holy Spirit, if the Son redeems, do you not know that the Holy Spirit regenerates? … When you say, “Saviour,” remember there is a Trinity in that word—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, this Saviour being three persons under one name. You cannot be saved by the Son without the Father, nor by the Father without the Son, nor by Father and Son without the Spirit. But as they are one in creation, so are they one in salvation, working together in one God for our salvation, and unto that God be glory everlasting, world without end. Amen.
As we shall see in a subsequent post, there are numerous passages where Jesus prays to the Father or where He tells the disciples that He will leave but that the Comforter (Spirit) will come, again emphasizing that the Three Persons of the Trinity are distinct yet One in their perfect will. May we be ever thankful to the Trinity for our salvation -- to God the Father Who sent His Son to save us and His Spirit to guide us!
© 2013 Laurie Collett