Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why believe in the Trinity

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.

In today's blog I want to consider a doctrine, a teaching of scripture, that is so fundamental to the Christian faith, that if one were to deny it, would bring into question their salvation.  The Doctrine of the Trinity has been attacked over the centuries as being illogical and of no real consequence to the everyday concerns of the Christian life.  In today's blog, I want us to consider this simple question: why believe the Trinity? 

Though the word "Trinity" is not found in the Bible, that does not mean the teaching is not found
Immediately some people will note: "If the doctrine of the Trinity is as core to the Christian faith as you claim, then why is the word "Trinity" not found in the Bible?"  True, the word "Trinity" is not found, but neither is the word "Bible", and yet the term "Bible", which comes from a greek word "biblos" meaning book, is doctrinal shorthand for designating the 66 books of the Old and New Testament as "The Book" - i.e "Bible".  Thus too, the term "Trinity" is doctrinal shorthand for bringing together three fundamental ideas that the Bible teaches about the nature of God. 

1. God is one God
Deuteronomy 6:4 states - “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!"  Isaiah 43:10 tells us - "“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." 

These two scriptures commmunicate the first fundamental assertion of the biblical view of God - that there is only One God.  He is One God, not three gods.  The Doctrine of the Trinity never has nor never will deny the underlying unity of the very being of God.

2. The Deity of Christ
1 Corinthians 8:6 tells us something profound about God and Jesus Christ - "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."  Jesus Christ is asserted many times in the New Testament as being God.  Not only is He the Creator, as revealed in this verse, but He is also the Savior of the world, as spoken of in passages such as 1 John 4:14.  According to the Old Testament, only the God of the Bible can be deemed the True Savior. (please compare Isaiah 43:11)  So when we come to clear and definite statements about Christ's deity, we come to understand that He shares in the same life as the God of the Bible, who is called elsewhere in scripture "God the Father".  (please compare Deuteronomy 32:18 for instance)  God is one in His being, and now as we probe the text of scripture, we discover that He is at least two in terms of His identity - God the Father and God the Son. 

3. The Personality of the Holy Spirit
Jesus tells us about the Holy Spirit in John 16:13 - “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."   Notice how often Jesus uses the personal pronoun "He" in reference to the Holy Spirit - clearly the Spirit of God is not an "it", nor a "force", but a genuine personality.  We first meet the Holy Spirit back in Genesis 1:2, where we see Him hovering over the face of the deep at creation.  We discover that the Bible describes the Holy Spirit as being God (Acts 5:3-4) who has the ability to communicate (John 16:13). 

The Personality of the Holy Spirit is the third plank of the doctrine of the Trinity.  Just like Jesus Christ, He too shares in Divine nature.  In fact, when Jesus states in John 14:16 that "another comforter" will be sent after He ascends into heaven, that term "another" means "of the same kind".  Thus The Holy Spirit is God, just as Jesus Christ is God, just as the Father is God.  God is "One what" and "Three Whos" - One God, who is identified as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

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