STATEMENT OF FAITH
WE BELIEVE the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God.
We honor, reverence, and believe there is only one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We celebrate, acknowledge, and believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His abiding presence, and in His personal and triumphant return in power and glory.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost.
We gather in faith and combine our belief in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to indwell in Christians so they may live a godly life.
We pray for, and believe for, the salvation of lost and sinful man, and the essential regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
We pray for, and believe in, the spiritual unity and reconciliation of believers in our community through the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY IS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS A FULL EXPLANATION OF OUR BELIEF ON THIS SUBJECT. IT WILL TAKE YOU AWHILE TO STUDY THIS IN DEPTH. DON'T BE IN A HURRY, AND DON'T WORRY IF YOU DON'T FULLY UNDERSTAND IT. MEN AND WOMEN OF GREAT INTELLECT HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THIS FOR CENTURIES SO THERE IS NO NEED TO PANIC IF YOU CAN'T GRASP IT ALL AT ONCE! THE IMPORTANT THING IS FOR YOU TO BEGIN TO APPRECIATE THAT THIS DOCTRINE IS CENTRAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOD WE SERVE.
AN EXPLANATION OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
By Pastor Joseph Abraham
The subject of the Trinity is complex and easily misunderstood. Opponents, such as Moslems, claim that Christians are guilty of blasphemy and idol worship.
This is not true of Christian believers, who follow the teaching of MONOTHEISM, that there is ONE GOD.
They stand in the same tradition as the Jewish people who received their revelation from the Prophets of old.
It is easy to see their reasoning.
Superficially it would appear that we are worshipping THREE Gods, but the church in the early centuries battled with this concept and eventually arrived at various statements of faith, that as far as is humanly possible sums up the doctrine in a concise way.
It is these doctrinal statements, or Creeds, that have been held as true by countless millions of believers throughout the years.
They have been scrutinised and adopted by most Churches in the 21st century from a wide range of denominations.
They are the core values and belief system of the Church, and although there are some churches, such as the Unitarians and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who differ, they are in the minority.
I shall attempt to expand on the argument later and hope that you will remain open-minded.
Some highly intelligent Biblical Scholars, who have made the study of the Bible their life’s work, have also defended it.
To simply mock it and trash it as a teaching that has no veracity with no substance, therefore reflects more on the intelligence of the objectors than it does the believers.
I ask you to approach this study with an open mind and a spirit of humility.
Alister McGrath notes:
"If you examine the doctrine of the early church during the first two and a half centuries or so, you find that the doctrine of the Trinity was yet to be developed. The theologians of the period are well on the way to developing the doctrine, but it hasn’t yet appeared in its definitive form. That development took place in the third or fourth centuries. And so, argue critics of the doctrine, this proves that it’s not an essential element of Christianity.
Our response to this argument is quite simple. As we have seen, the doctrine of the Trinity is basically an attempt to bring together the incredible richness of the Christian understanding of God. It is the distillation of the kaleidoscopic Christian experience of God in the light of its scriptural foundations. The scriptural witness to and Christian experience of God came first, and reflection on it came later. In view of the complexity of the experience, it is little wonder that it took so long for the theologians of the church to wrestle with the implications of faith, and find the best way of describing the God whom they knew in so rich and diverse a fashion".
Granted the actual word TRINITY is not in the Bible; but the concept is, and the following is an attempt to explain why.
This doctrine, which is central to our understanding of God’s nature and plan of salvation, is not something that can be answered quickly in the heat of an argument.
It takes quiet reflection and thoughtful and prayerful consideration.
To someone steeped in the teaching that the Trinity is false, it is a difficult task to study with an open mind, but this is in fact what is necessary to arrive at a conclusion.
Most critics of the Trinity doctrine have never actually read for themselves the full text of the Creeds.
So to begin our study there follows the Early Church Creeds:
THE APOSTLE’S' CREED
This Creed is used in Western Christianity in daily prayer and worship, and in the rite of Baptism by the baptized or sponsors.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
(or Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed)
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
THE ATHANASIAN CREED
(c. 500 AD)
Whoever wills to be in a state of salvation, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith, which except everyone shall have kept whole and undefiled without doubt he will perish eternally.
Now the catholic faith is that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is ONE, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit; the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated; the Father infinite, the Son infinite, and the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
And yet not three eternals but one eternal, as also not three infinites, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one infinite.
So, likewise, the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty; and yet not three Almighties but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God; and yet not three Gods but one God.
So the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; and yet not three Lords but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be both God and Lord; so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, there be three Gods or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son, not made nor created nor begotten but proceeding.
So there is one Father not three Fathers, one Son not three Sons, and Holy Spirit not three Holy Spirits.
And in this Trinity there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less, but the whole three Persons are coeternal together and coequal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity is to be worshipped.
He therefore who wills to be in a state of salvation,
let him think thus of the Trinity.
But it is necessary to eternal salvation that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The right faith therefore is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man. He is God of the substance of the Father begotten before the worlds, and He is man of the substance of His mother born in the world; perfect God, perfect man subsisting of a reasoning soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who although He be God and Man yet He is not two but one Christ; one however not by conversion of the Godhead in the flesh, but by taking of the Manhood in God; one altogether not by confusion of substance but by unity of Person. For as the reasoning soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life eternal, and they who indeed have done evil into eternal fire.
This lenghy and somewhat cumbersome statement of belief was found to be nessessary in the 3rd. Century to confute the heresy of Arius. The shorter versions are more popular and well known in the Church generally throughout the world.
THERE ARE SOME WHO WRONGLY BELIEVE IN TRI-THEISM.
This doctrine is that God the Father is Spirit, Soul and Body, so is the Son and so is the Holy Spirit, making nine in all. Of course this heresy is not in the Bible.
Although it is in the notes of Dakes Annotated Reference Bible. Dake defines the Trinity as: “What we mean by the Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and persons in the Godhead, each with His own personal Spirit body, personal soul and personal Spirit in the same sense each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit”.
However, this is not a definition of the Trinity, but a denial of it. TRI-THEISM must be rejected because the Scriptures say God is one: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
ANOTHER HERESY IS MONARCHIANISM.
This is any teaching that denies that three persons are in the Godhead. It usually takes the two forms of DYNAMIC MONARCHIANISM and MODALISTIC MONARCHIANISM.
The first denies the Diety of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit by making Jesus merely a man, and the Holy Spirit nothing more than a divine influence, much like ‘the force’ in the StarWars movie!
In the case of Jesus, they claim that the power of God came to reside on the man from Nazareth. His ‘divinity’ therefore is one of status, not essence.
The most infamous form of Dynamic Monarchianism is that of Arianism.
Few question that Arianism had its beginnings in the erroneous teachings of Origen. (While Origen was indeed a profound theologian, prolific writer and an articulate apologist, especially against the pagan Celsius, some of his views on Christology unfortunately became the stepping stones for Arianism)
Although Origen called Jesus God, and taught that He was
co-eternal with the Father, Origen evidently did not believe that Christ was equal with God.
According to Origen, who would eventually be called a heretic, the Father alone was “ho theos” whereas Jesus was only “theos”.
This difference was not one merely of subsistence and administration, but of essence.
Jesus is not of the same essence as the Father, owing His existence to the Father. Origen even went as far as to suggest that one should not address Christ in prayer as ‘absolute worship’.
It was not long before someone took Origen’s teachings further by saying that Christ was not God at all, but merely a created being.
This is precisely what the heretic Arius did and what modern cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do today.
(For a fuller treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses miss-translation of the Holy Bible, especially in reference to John 1:1 see The scholastic ‘Dishonesty of the WatchTower’ by Michael Van Buskirk, P.O. Box 2067, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 USA: Caris, 1976, p.11 and The Kingdom of The Cults, Walter Martin, p. 85-87)
The second, called by some SABELLIANISM (a third century Roman teacher who, though he did not originate the teaching, had followers who did) teaches that God is one being who revealed Himself at different times as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, much like an actor who assumes different roles throughout his career.
In this view, the Trinity is nothing more than a threefold phase and mode of revelation.
This ancient heresy is vigorously taught and defended by such groups as the United Pentecostal Church.
The Modalistic Monarchianism (or Sabellianism) view must be rejected because it does not represent all the biblical data on the subject.
The gospel narratives leave the honest reader with the impression that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are THREE personal individuals.
In this view, the Trinity is nothing more than a threefold phase and mode of revelation.
In opposition to the heretical Tritheism and Monarchianism views, the true doctrine of the Trinity teaches: First, that God is ONE, indivisible in essence (Deuteronomy 4:4; Isaiah 44:6; James: 2:19; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:3-6)
This fact is fundamental to the Trinitarian view.
Second, the one indivisible divine essence, as a whole and not in part, exists eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As B.B. Warfield summarized it: “There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence”
THE SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE
To believe in the doctrine of the Trinity the reader must first have a source of authority from which his views are defined.
The Christian believer has the Holy Bible as his source, and believes that these writings were not inspired by men but by God Himself.
All that follows is built on that premise. Otherwise, quoting verses will mean nothing.
An acceptance of the authority and inspiration of the Bible is essential to an understanding of truth.
Why we believe that the Scriptures have divine inspiration is another subject that will be dealt with in another book.
However for the purpose of this argument it is assumed that the reader at least has a respect for the writings of the ancient prophets and will acknowledge the Christians adherence to them.
If there is to be any understanding as to why Christians uphold the doctrine of the Trinity, it must be understood that they believe the teaching is inherent in the Bible, not contradictory to it.
It is simple obedience to the Word of God that leads us to assume this theological understanding of the nature of God.
What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of scriptures, merely a few that highlight the teaching.
Question 1. WERE THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, EACH CALLED GOD?
On the Fatherhood of God, Paul and Timothy write, "servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from GOD OUR FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ". Philippians 1:1-2. (New American Standard Version)
The fact that the early Church taught the FATHERHOOD OF GOD is undisputed. “God our Father instantly places God in a place of superiority and also affection.
In fact when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, his opening line was “OUR FATHER, which art in heaven”
That word Father was the word used by children when they called out Abba, or in the English translation DADDY!
To some this seems irreverent, but to those who have been ADOPTED by God as His spiritual children, it is naural.
This loving relationship is what happens when a person comes in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ, accepting his work of reconciliation on the cross and as a result is ‘born again’. (Spiritually Born – John 3:1-16)
As in a human family, a good father will be held in honour by his offspring and obedience is expected and deserved.
In our modern culture we have unfortunately lost much of this respect and sometimes the father is not even there to assume his rightful role.
However, the Fatherhood of God is eternal and is one of the central teachings of the Christian Faith.
Question 2. WAS JESUS CHRIST GOD?
"In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS GOD". John 1:1 (Darby Translation)
Were this the only verse I could quote in support of the truth that Jesus is God it would be sufficient.
Here Scripture is clear and unequivocal. The fact that the Apostle John starts out by making this statement surely gives credence to the importance he placed on it.
The Old Testament starts with a statement “In the beginning GOD”.
The New Testament also starts with the same truth, “In the beginning was THE WORD, and the Word WAS GOD”.
Who was the Word? Without a doubt, it was referring to the man Jesus who was born in Bethlehem.
Whether you BELIEVE the Bible record is up to you. That’s your free choice. But to deny that the Bible teaches it is absurd. Only the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a small and insignificant sect of Christianity in modern times, make a translation which reads ‘a god’ and most Biblical Scholars are agreed that they got it wrong.
Let’s look for a moment at the testimony of the Prophet John the Baptist. “There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear testimony of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bare testimony of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM, and the world knew him not. He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John testified concerning him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that cometh after me, is preferred before me; FOR HE WAS BEFORE ME. And of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]. And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, "I am not the Christ".
And they asked him, "What then? Art thou Elijah?" and he saith, "I am not". "Art thou that prophet"? And he answered, "No". Then said they to him, "Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself"?
He said, "I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah". And they who were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, "Why baptizest thou then, if thou art not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet"? John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, (Jesus) whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloose".
These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man who is preferred before me; for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water".
And John bore testimony, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw and bore testimony, that this is the Son of God". John 1:6-34 (Websters Bible)
I make two comments concerning this passage.
First it is clear from the context that John the Baptist was talking about Jesus. It could be nobody else.
Second that he (Jesus) was in the world AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM.
Made by whom? JESUS!
Compare with Genesis chapter 1. “In the beginning GOD created the world”.
Who was Jesus? GOD! There can be no other conclusion.
John describes Jesus as both God and eternal. He affirms the Diety of Christ.
The Apostle John wrote his gospel with the intention of convincing his readers to believe in Jesus Christ.
Part of this belief is that Jesus is the Son of God.
This expression ‘Son of God’ is used in the New Testament as a description of Christ’s Diety.
In Chapter 5:17 Jesus says, "My Father is working until now and I myself am working". For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he not only was breaking the Sabbath but also was calling God his own Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD.
The Jews had no problem understanding the claim of Jesus to be equal with God.
That is the reason they tried to stone him.
In their eyes, what he said was blasphemy!
Notice that Jesus did not hurry to correct them, as any normal Jewish man would, but presents a stunning defence of his claim in verses 19-47.
Later (John 10:30-39) there occurs a similar situation when the Jews to whom Jesus is speaking understand with clarity his claim to be the Son of God as a direct claim to Diety, and as before, Jesus does nothing to correct them, but again presents a defence of his claim!
The Apostle Thomas was absent when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room after his resurrection.
He refused to believe that he had arisen until he personally saw him with his own eyes and felt the holes made by the nails in his hands and feet.
When Jesus appeared (John: 20:28) and Thomas believed he cried out, “My Lord and my GOD”.
No self–respecting Monotheistic Jew, brought up in the traditions of Orthodox Judaism, would acknowledge a man as his God, unless he was convinced it was true.
Did Jesus rebuke Thomas for his outburst? Quite the contrary, instead, he used this statement to confirm his Diety and said, “Because you have seen me, have you believed? Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believe”.
The Apostle Paul also confirms the Diety of Christ when he says, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities …. all things have been created by Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17)
To deny that the scripture teaches the deity of Christ is deny the obvious.
This passage culminates in a magnificent statement that leaves the reader in no doubt.
The word IMAGE in verse 20 is the Greek word 'eikon' and Paul uses it not merely to state the revelatory nature of the incarnation, but also to state who Christ is.
Professor F.F. Bruce remarks, “To say that Christ is the image of God is to say that in Him the nature and being of God has been perfectly revealed … that in Him the invisible has become visible”.
Finally let us examine the Book of Revelation 19:1-16 - Bible in Basic English
(1) After these things there came to my ears a sound like the voice of a great band of people in heaven, saying, Praise to the Lord; salvation and glory and power be to our God: (2) For true and upright are his decisions; for by him has the evil woman been judged, who made the earth unclean with the sins of her body; and he has given her punishment for the blood of his servants. (3) And again they said, Praise to the Lord. And her smoke went up for ever and ever. (4) And the four and twenty rulers and the four beasts went down on their faces and gave worship to God who was seated on the high seat, saying, Even so, praise to the Lord. (5) And a voice came from the high seat, saying, Give praise to our God, all you his servants, small and great, in whom is the fear of him. (6) And there came to my ears the voice of a great army, like the sound of waters, and the sound of loud thunders, saying, Praise to the Lord: for the Lord our God, Ruler of all, is King. (7) Let us be glad with delight, and let us give glory to him: because the time is come for the Lamb to be married, and his wife has made herself ready. (8) And to her it was given to be clothed in delicate linen, clean and shining: for the clean linen is the righteousness of the saints. (9) And he said to me, Put in the book, Happy are the guests at the bride-feast of the Lamb. And he said to me, these are the true words of God. (10) And I went on my face before his feet to give him worship. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am a brother-servant with you and with your brothers who keep the witness of Jesus: give worship to God: for the witness of Jesus is the spirit of the prophet's word. (11) And the heaven was open; and I saw a white horse, and he who was seated on it was named Certain and True; and he is judging and making war in righteousness. (12) And his eyes are a flame of fire, and crowns are on his head; and he has a name in writing, of which no man has knowledge but himself. (13) And he is clothed in a robe washed with blood: and his name is The Word of God. (14) And the armies, which are in heaven, went after him on white horses, clothed in delicate linen, white and clean. (15) And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword, with which he overcomes the nations: and he has rule over them with a rod of iron: and he is crushing with his feet the grapes of the strong wrath of God the Ruler of all. (16) And on his robe and on his leg is a name, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Look carefully at this passage for in it is the evidence we are looking for.
In verse 6, we read that there was a great army, like the sound of waters, saying, “Praise to the Lord our God, ruler of all, is King. Let us be glad with delight, and let us give glory to him: because the time is come for THE LAMB to be married, and his wife has made herself ready.
Who was this GOD?
Who was this person about to be married? And who was the bride to be? Can any doubt that this person, who is seated on a white horse and whose name is Certain and True, who is judging and making war in righteousness, is not the same WORD OF GOD, the creator of the world, that the apostle John mentioned at the start of his Gospel?
Is his name not KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS?
Who can deny that this same Jesus, who died on the cross of Calvary, is coming back in judgment, to rule and reign with his saints for eternity? “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God, “who is and was and is to come, the Ruler of all”. (Rev 1:8)
Do you not see? It’s all about Jesus!
This man who appeared amongst us for a brief 33 years, was none other than ALMIGHTY GOD.
Why did He come? Because he loved us and because He had a plan to save us! Because He had an enemy to defeat that was the Devil himself; that disobedient angel who once held high office in heaven and who, through pride and rebellion, left his rightful position and was cast down on the earth.
One day soon, Jesus is coming back to marry his Bride! Our union with God will be complete. He has chosen her and clothed her with his righteousness.
She (the true believing church – not the visible institution sometimes described as the Church) is not much to look at in the flesh, but He does not see her imperfections. He sees her FAITH and ENDURANCE.
And every one that reads these words has the wonderful opportunity to respond by repentance and faith and baptism, to join that great army of saints (called out ones)
THIS then, is the glory of the Trinity! It’s not a dry and dusty dogma that intellectuals fight over.
It’s the truth that will set you free!
It’s the truth that will bring you spotless before God.
It’s the MYSTERY OF GODLINESS that most men miss, but for those to whom the Holy Spirit has brought revelation and is speaking to, it is very ground of their being. The very meaning of their existence.
QUESTION 3. WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT GOD?
The Holy Spirit is a person also, not an impersonal force as many believe.
The Bible clearly reveals the characteristics peculiar to a person.
To start with we call the Holy Spirit by the title ‘he’ denoting personhood.
If I described you as ‘it’ you would rightly be incensed! I have attacked you personhood and described you as less than a human being. An object in fact. It is an insult.
The fact is, you are a distinct and unique individual, with a personality that is never repeated anywhere in the world.
The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of Him in this way when He said, “He will glorify me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you”. (John 16:14)
In the early days of the Church statements such as, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us” (Acts 15:28) tell us that the believers were under no confusion and had a personal relationship with God the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a person that strives (Genesis 6:3) teaches (Luke 12:12) convicts (John 16:8 directs Church affairs (Acts 13:2) helps and intercedes (Romans 2:26) inspires (2 Peter 1:21) and sanctifies (1 Peter 1:2) No object or force can do all these things. All of these activities denote personhood and cannot be performed by a mere force or power.
Electricity, for example, is a useful power, and a great tool to accomplish certain tasks, but you cannot have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with electricity.
Relationship is when two people meet and build a friendship.
The Holy Spirit is our best friend and as Pastor Colin Dye of London city Church once said, “ He is our ‘buddy’ who stands by us when we need him. He is on our side and helps us through the difficulties of life. He sticks closer than a brother”.
Scripture teaches that you can lie to the Holy Spirit! The Apostle Peter said to Ananias that, in lying to the Holy Spirit, he had not lied to men but to GOD. (Acts 5:3-4)
You can blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:31-32) This could only be true if indeed He is God.
Scripture associates divine attributes to the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul referred to Him as the “Spirit of Life” (Romans 8:2) Jesus called him the “Spirit of Truth” (John16:13)
He is omnipotent, distributing spiritual gifts to, “each one individually as He wills”
(1 Corinthians 12:11)
He is omnipresent and will abide with His people forever. (John 14:16)
He is omniscient, because “the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” and “no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God”
(1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
He was involved in the creation of the world.
He gives us life (Job 33:4) and he will also give us immortal life as Apostle Paul states (Romans 8:11) “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you”.
The Holy Spirit is considered equal with the Father and the Son in the baptismal ordinance.
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit live within the Godhead together.
They are all equally self-existent.
Though each is equal, an economy of function operates within the Trinity and allows each to play distinct roles.
The Holy Spirit executes the will of the Father and the Son.
For instance when the Father wanted to send the Son to the world for the purpose of redemption, it was the Holy Spirit who made it a reality through the Virgin Birth.
The Holy Spirit’s role in creation (Genesis 1:2) was the first evidence of His work on earth.
The very maintenance of life on earth is due to the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit.
His departure would bring certain death. If God should, “gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and mankind would return to dust”
(Job 34:14, 15; cf. 33:4)
God the Father carries out His work of bringing men, women and children to Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
We can only acknowledge Christ’s Lordship through his influence.
The Apostle Paul wrote, No one can say “Jesus is Lord” and mean it, except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
The prophets were the messengers of God; they uttered His words, delivered His commands, pronounced His threatenings, and announced His promises, because they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
They were the organs of God, because they were the organs of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit therefore must logically be God. He can be no other.
Any man claiming prophethood who denies the Holy Spirit His rightful place within the Godhead is a false prophet.
This applies to those so-called heretical Christian groups who deny His Deity. (Unitarians/Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christardelphians etc.)
God’s message is not contradictory. He will not use one prophet to speak His words, then raise up another to deny their message, giving an opposite teaching.
To undermine the life and work of Jesus Christ as the redeemer of mankind is to oppose God himself.
Dear friends, weigh these words carefully.
The relation of the Holy Spirit to the other persons of the Trinity is thus a fundamental and essential aspect of our understanding of God.
He is the same in substance and equal in power and glory. He is subordinate to the Father and Son, as to His mode of subsistence and operation, as He is said to be of the Father and of the Son; He is sent by them, and they operate through Him.
He bears the same relation to the Father as to the Son; as He is said to be of the one as well as of the other, and He is given by the Son as well as by the Father.
His eternal relation to the other persons of the Trinity is indicated by the word Spirit, and by its being said that He is out of God, i.e. God is the SOURCE whence the Spirit is said to proceed.
The Holy Spirit dwelt in the body of Jesus. “For in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9) This is a perfect description of Jesus Christ, who was the God-man, Emmanuel, (which is, God with us). “I and the Father are one”, said Jesus (John 10:30-31) and as a result the Jews took up stones again to kill him.
It was no mistake. They heard Jesus clearly and understood well what he was saying.
The word ‘one’ in the Greek is the neuter ‘hen’ meaning one in essence. (20) That this is Jesus intended meaning, is clear by the reaction of the Jews.
Jesus was not saying He was one with God in purpose, for this is hardly blasphemy and deserving of death by stoning. Moreover, it cannot be reasonably maintained that the Jews merely misunderstood Jesus, otherwise Jesus would surely have clarified the misunderstanding for them, yet, rather than CLARIFYING this supposed misunderstanding, Jesus responds by VINDICATING what He said (10:32)
Note also ‘are’ in the Greek is plural, “I and the Father one we are”. They are one in essence, yet separate persons.
I have attempted in this short treatise to lay a foundation for the Christian belief that the doctrine of the Trinity is both Biblical and logical.
Without the operation of the Holy Spirit, even those readers who have followed each argument step by step, will remain blind; for in our unsaved state we are ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1)
I pray therefore with the Apostle Paul that “the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Jesus) and that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance are in the saints, (called out ones) and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
Obviously to those who have been raised by parents and teachers who have mocked this doctrine since birth, and have instilled a hatred for those who are supposedly blasphemers and infidels, it will be difficult to step back and re-examine he subject with an open-minded and honest heart to know the truth.
But for those who do, God has promised that He will “draw all men to himself” (John 12:32) because He is “not willing that any should perish”. (2 Peter 3:9)
What I have written here is but a small fraction of what could be written, but for the sake of brevity I have left many things unsaid and many scriptures unquoted.
The nature of God is probably the most important study you will ever make in life.
To come to an understanding of who and what God is; is a truly amazing experience that is available to every man and woman on planet earth.
To be reconciled to your maker, not by works and good deeds but by His amazing love and grace, is truly awesome!
This study is a foundation. There are many other great Biblical doctrines, which make up the sum total of church doctrine.
Each teaching will inspire and thrill you as you start to understand what God has done on your behalf. You will be so happy to know for sure that your destiny is heaven, where sadness and sorrow, pain and tears are no more.
What God has prepared for those who love Him is indescribable. Now we see through a darkened glass but there will come a time when we shall see him face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Is your name written in the BOOK OF LIFE?
When judgement day comes will you stand in the presence of Almighty God, clothed with the righteousness of Christ?
If not, then perhaps today, as you hear Him quietly calling, you could respond by saying “Thank you God, be merciful to a sinner like me”.
Just as the prodigal son returned to his father in repentance, so too, you can begin your journey back home to the safety and security of the Father’s love.
Be sure of this one thing. He LONGS for you to take that first step. Come home from the ‘far country’ like the prodical son in the parable.
There is a welcome for you in the family of God.
There are many web sites containing information on the history and development of the Trinity doctrine and to access them simply type in 'trinity doctrine' and do a search.
It is not my intention to guide you to only the sites that agree with the doctrinal position I hold, for I believe that each one of us must reach our own conclusions through careful and diligent study.
You need to be convinced in your own mind and committed to the truth.
This may take months or even years as it has for me, but I believe that any intelligent person can find the truth for themselves if they are persistent.
I would certainly enjoy hearing from you with your comments and questions.
Below are some links that you may find of interest.
(This site has 8 Bible translations, the Mathew Henry Bible Commentary, Bible Dictionary and much more.)
You could do searches using other key words like:
Word of God
Blood of Christ
Many people from all faiths are finding Christ today.
Sometimes it is difficult to be open about it because of the pressure and persecution that follows.
We understand your situation and pray that you will find the strength to profess your faith in Christ.
It may cost you your life in becoming a Christian but for those who are willing to confess Christ before men, there awaits a crown of glory!
Be bold and testify whenever you get the opportunity. The time is short and Jesus is coming back soon!
Here are a few key scriptures to meditate uppon.
FOR GOD LOVED THE WORLD SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
BUT NOW A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD, APART FROM THE LAW, HAS BEEN MADE KNOWN, TO WHICH THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS TESTIFY. THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD COMES THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST TO ALL WHO BELIEVE. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE, FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD, AND ARE JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT CAME BY JESUS CHRIST Romans 3:21-26
FOR IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED, THROUGH FAITH – AND THIS IS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD – NOT BY WORKS, SO THAT NO-ONE CAN BOAST. FOR WE ARE GOD’S WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.
REPENT AND BE BAPTISED, EVERY ONE OF YOU, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST SO THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN. AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN AND FOR ALL WHO ARE FAR OFF – FOR ALL WHOM THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL.
This article is Copyright 2002. All rights reserved.