John 15:26--When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me
“. . . in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”--Matthew 28:19. Who is God? The Hebrew word ‘elohim, in the Old Testament is the plural form of the noun for God. The New Testament presents a powerful case for the deity of Jesus and His equality with His Father. The Gospel of John begins with the assertion of Jesus’ deity by stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word was clearly Christ! In a similar manner, the author of Hebrews states that Jesus was the radiance of the glory of God and the exact representation of His nature. Paul wrote in Colossians (1:15-20, 2:9) and Philippians 2:6 that Jesus was the image (form) of the invisible God. He describes Christ’s work as the Creator and the One who was before all things.
Though Christ never directly claimed to be God He clearly established His deity. He spoke with the full authority of God. The Jews accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to forgive sins. Jesus mentioned angels, the kingdom of God and God’s elect as His own. He claimed the power to judge the world. While on trial for claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus affirmed Caiaphas’ statement that He was so. In the same manner He did not correct His disciple Thomas, who stated, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Finally, He beat death and ascended into heaven fulfilling His purpose as God’s Son to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
The Bible also identifies the Holy Spirit as God. Acts 5:3-4 illustrates that lying to the Holy Spirit was equated with lying to God. Numerous passages like 1 Corinthians 3, 2 Corinthians 13:13 and 1 Peter 1:2 give the Holy Spirit equal billing with God. But how can three different Persons be one God?
It is this impalpable mystery which sets Christianity apart from all other. Attempts to illustrate the Trinity by the three-part egg or three properties of water are inadequate and unnecessary. What is required is not the perfect illustration but rather a humble faith expressed in consistent love. The Trinity is not ultimately what causes people to stumble. Jesus is the obstacle. The deeper issue man trips over is not how God could be three-in-one, but rather why he should surrender his life to the lordship of Christ. What draws people to salvation is not logic but the invisible working of the Holy Spirit sent by God to confirm in our hearts the authenticity of Jesus Christ.
Man loves to be in control, to establish a works-oriented approach to earning immortality. Yet he is wholly incapable of offering a Savior who lived a sinless life and overcame death. We worship an invisible God. We cannot rub a lamp and produce the Holy Spirit. We are not in control! God is the omnipotent One who offers us grace in the form of His Son.
Caution is necessary in attempting to explain what is inconceivable. Our attempt to offer a manmade solution to a God-sized mystery especially offends Muslims who frequently reject Christianity because of our callous presentation of the Trinity. Why not admit, “I don’t understand, nor can I fully explain the Trinity.” Why not share, “What I believe is that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on the cross and rose from the grave because God says in His word that He loves you and me. He has changed my life and given me joy that overcomes all adversity. He has filled my heart with peace and assurance so that I do not fear death or carry the guilt of my sins. His Holy Spirit not only guides me but also fills me with hope for the everlasting life I will experience with God in heaven. I know Jesus. The Holy Spirit resides in me. God sits enthroned in heaven. How they are all God is more than mystical—it’s fantastic.”
Among the religions of the world, the Christian faith is unique in making the claim that God is one and yet there are three who are God . . . The doctrine of the Trinity is crucial for Christianity. It is concerned with who God is, what he is like, how he works, and how he is to be approached.—Millard J. Erickson in Christian Theology
The doctrine of the Trinity is not a Christian revelation, it is an attempt on the part of the mind of man to expound the Christian revelation, which is that there is only one God to the Christian, and His name is Jesus Christ.—Oswald Chambers in The Shadow of an Agony
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)