Tuesday, July 22, 2014

P4 The Importance of the Trinity - The Holy Spirit & Life Applications

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.”

Review from yesterday
As we saw yesterday, the term "Trinity" is doctrinal shorthand in bringing together the Bible’s revelation of God. We have thus far looked at the first major truth comprising the doctrine of the Trinity: namely that God is One God (Monotheism) Who is the Father. We have also considered the second major truth that functions alongside the truth of Monotheism in the Biblical revelation of God: namely the Deity of Jesus Christ.

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, defines the Trinity: “The eternal Triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”
As we already mentioned, three major truths comprise this very important Biblical teaching of God as Trinity. I will list them for the reader's convenience and then we will consider the third and final truth in today's post: The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
1. God is One God (Monotheism)
2. The Deity of Jesus Christ
3. The Personality of the Holy Spirit

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, wherein 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. 

Summing up what we said
As we saw today the doctrine of the Trinity is undoubtedly the Biblical teaching about the nature and identity of God. The term "Trinity" is doctrinal shorthand for bringing together three fundamental ideas that the Bible teaches about the nature of God.  First, Monotheism or the idea that there is only One God. This One God is identified early in the scripture as the Father to His people Who is All-powerful, knowing, everywhere present and their Redeemer. Second, when we came especially to the New Testament, we saw the immediate identification of Jesus The Son as being fully Divine, sharing in the same Divine nature as the Father. Jesus the Son would come to earth through the virgin birth to share in our human nature, die on the cross, be raised again and ascend back to heaven wherefrom He will return to earth in His second coming. Then finally, we looked at the third truth of the Personality of the Holy Spirit and how He is equal to the Son and the Father with regards to His Divine Nature. The Holy Spirit convicts men of sin and strengthens believers in this current age.  

Applications for your life
Now how does knowing this about the God of Divine revelation help you out in everyday life? For one thing, God is by nature The Relational God. There is no doubt that He created marriage, the family and the church to be each a reflection of something that is true about Himself, namely a unity with a diversity of persons flourishing in love and trust. Without the Triune understanding of God, we would have no basis for the most fundamental aspects of marriage, family and the church – namely unity of love among diversity of persons.

Secondly, to say God is the God of love demands Him to Be The Trinity. How? One writer has noted that in the context of love you need three essential ingredients: A lover, one receiving love and love itself. With God we see the Father Who loves, The Son receiving the Love and the Spirit being the Personification of the love between the Father and the Son.  Without the Trinity, we would have no basis for understanding the nature of love itself.

Then finally, the plan of salvation itself entails the activity of the Trinity. Passages such as Ephesians 1:1-14 and others reveal that the Father planned salvation for His people Whom He knew about beforehand in the Son in eternity, the Son then came to purchase such salvation that is sufficient to save the entire world but will only be applied to all who believe. The Spirit agreed to apply salvation to all whom He would convict and who in turn would believe.

These are but a sample of the many applications for understanding why the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is important to the Christian life. In short, without God we have nothing.