Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (John 4:24)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY is unique to Christianity. No other faith, religion, sect, or philosophy advocating one God also proclaims there are three who are God. This apparent paradox does not mean there are ‘three gods in one --- but that one God exists as three Persons — co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal — All Three possessing the same essential nature. (Gen 1:26; Matt 28:19; (2Co 13:14)
The Trinity defines the unity of God as having one Divine nature with specific and describable attributes. However, each member of the Godhead — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — is a separate Person who possesses these attributes individually. No one member of the Trinity, in His essential being, is subordinate to another member. (Eph 4:4-6) Each person of the Godhead has a purpose related to the eternal will and plan of God. The Scripture ascribes to each person distinct roles not jointly shared by the Trinity. The Father is the planner, the source of all things. The Son is the agent through whom the Father’s plan is enacted. The Holy Spirit is the revealer and empowers the plan in our lives.
Trinitarian tenets are not abstract Theology. There is a practical reason for every believer in Jesus Christ to fully comprehend this Doctrine. Our view of the Trinity determines our understanding of Christology, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our view of the Holy Spirit affects our Concept of living the Christian life. Our worship and Spirituality are possible only with a Biblical Perspective of the Godhead. In short, we must Spiritually Understand the Trinity, to have a maturing relationship with God. (1Co 2:12)
THE TRINITY DEFINED
The word Trinity is not found in the Scripture, but the Concept is Biblical. Historically, the formal Doctrine of the Trinity derives from a succession of early church controversies and councils which sought to explain the Biblical Testimony regarding:
1. The oneness and unity of God in three Persons.
2. The Deity of Christ.
3. The personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit.
The councils were in response to heresies such as monarchianism and Arianism. The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) declared God the Son to have the same nature as the Father. The Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) asserted the Deity of God the Holy Spirit. In the intervening centuries Trinity’ became a technical word for the three Persons of the Godhead.
Rarely does a single passage of Scripture define point-by- point a complex Doctrine. Rather, pastors filled with God the Holy Spirit formulate the Thoughts of any major Doctrine by comparing and correlating all related Biblical passages. The believer accepts Truth derived from many passages just as he would accept a Biblical Principle directly stated in a single context. The Doctrine of the Trinity is likewise formulated by combining all passages related to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
All that God has made known about Himself can ONLY be understood by believers filled with God the Holy Spirit, even the fact that He is singular in one sense and plural in another. (Deut 29:29; (1Co 2:12-14) You may wonder how one God can exist in three Persons; yet from Scripture you can know that They so exist! Your finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite, but through the Ministry of God the Holy Spirit who Reveals the Scriptures, you can understand and accept Spiritual Thoughts by means of faith. (Matt 11:25-30; Luk 10:21-24; (2Co 5:7; Heb 4:2-3)
Man possesses four basic systems of perception: (A believer has five; Spiritual faith) rationalism, empiricism, mysticism and faith. Nothing is known that is not learned through one of these systems or through a combination of them. Rationalism relies on human reason and logical consistency as the criterion for reality, totally apart from authority or revelation. Empiricism establishes reality based on the experience of the senses. Reality is what you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Mysticism is demon revelation from and through the old sin nature. (Eph 2:2) The fourth system is faith, the only nonmeritorious system of thinking. The fifth system is Spiritual faith, God the Holy Spirit's Revelation of Divine Thinking to the unbeliever, (The Salvation Message) and to the believer, (The full realm of Scripture) based on confidence in the Authority and Veracity of God's Word! Faith Comprehends infinite Spiritual Thoughts that are beyond the finite reasoning powers and sensory systems of human thinking. (1Co 2:13-14; (1Th 2:13) The Concept of the Trinity is established in both the Old and the New Testaments. The oneness and equality of the Trinity is emphasized in the Old Testament:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Unique) (Deut 6:4)
However, a plurality is clearly confirmed in another passage.
“Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.” (Isa 48:16)
The Hebrew word for “God” is Elohim — a plural word indicating the existence of more than one Person in the Godhead. When, (Gen 1:1) Declares “Elohim created the heavens and the earth,” the plural asserts that all three Persons had a part in creation: The Father conceived the plan; (Gen 1:26) the Son accomplished creation; (John 1:1-3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2) the Holy Spirit restored creation, (Gen 1:2) after Satan’s first fall and or rebellion.
The Old Testament generally uses the word JHWH when referring to one member of the Trinity. This proper name for God or Lord, called the Tetragrammaton, when these “four letters,” are in this arrangement --- they are considered sacred and are never pronounced by devout Jews. We translate JHWH as Jehovah or Yahweh, Actually, this word is the doubling of the verb “to be,” meaning “absolute existence.”
The context of Scripture may indicate which member of the Trinity the Tetragrammaton describes. For example, the appearance of Yahweh to man, a Theophany of the Old Testament, always refers to the Son, the manifest Person of the Trinity. (John 6:46; cf., John 14:9-10; Isa 6:8-11; cf., John 12:39-41) Occasionally, Yahweh implies all three Persons, as in the general blessing,
“The LORD [Yahweh] bless you, and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” (Num 6:24-26)
Another Old Testament reference to the Trinity is in the pronoun “Us.” God again refers to Himself in the plural.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1:26-27)
While these words imply a heavenly convocation among the members of the Godhead --- a decision-making process within the Trinity --- there has never been a time when omniscient God did not know all that is knowable. God cannot be indecisive; rather, He Speaks from His infinite and eternal knowledge. And He Communicated it to us in a form of expression we could fathom. He described His indescribable person and plan in terms of human experience. His language accommodated our limited ability to comprehend the infinite. Thus, human beings can understand what God set forth in the Divine decrees. Such Biblically recorded “convocations” among the members of the Trinity serve to verify the existence of the threefold Personality of God. (Gen 3:22; Gen 11:7; Isa 6:8)
THE ESSENCE OF THE TRINITY
While the present study emphasizes God as a Triune Being, understanding Divine essence is essential. You must Comprehend the unity of the Godhead before you can begin to grasp the Concept of the Trinity. Immediately you face a problem: You need a specialized vocabulary. The terms you learn must convey the exact meaning of each Divine characteristic. Once mastered, this vocabulary will save thousands of words of explanation and lay the foundation for further categories of Divine Thinking. (Isa 28:10) The first vocabulary term is essence. Essence is the being or nature of a person, what that person is like. A second vocabulary term is attributes or those qualities which compose the essence of a person. Each Person of the Godhead has identifiable and identical attributes. Therefore, God has one essence — the oneness or unity of God refers to the identical essence of the three Persons.
God’s essence can be known only through His attributes. There are ten major attributes of Deity, all of which are equally ascribed to each person of the Godhead. No individual attribute is separate from His essence as a whole. Each attribute is an intrinsic quality of the nature of God. What are these attributes?
God is sovereign, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, King of heaven and earth. He has absolute authority and will. Concerning the First Person of the Trinity, the Father, the psalmist Writes: “That they may know that You Alone, whose name is the LORD [Yahweh] Are the Most High over all the earth.” (Psa 83:18) The will of the Father ultimately will “be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)
Concerning the Son the Father said, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (Psa 2:6) Jesus Christ as the God-Man also affirmed His Own sovereignty.’ “...All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt 28:18; cf., Php 2:11; Rev 19:6) Although Satan is the ruler of this world, (John 12:31; cf., John 16:11) the Lord’s will is infinitely greater. How reassuring to know that Jesus Christ controls history and the destiny of believers! (Psa 33:1-22)
As sovereign, the Holy Spirit distributes Spiritual gifts “to each one individually, [Believers] just as He wills.” (1Co 12:11)
The righteousness of God is perfect goodness, sinless in character and person. His attitudes and actions conform to the flawless standard of His Own nature. God is absolute righteousness in contrast to relative righteousness in the human realm, (Honest in one or more areas but dishonest in the rest)
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds, (Old sin nature good) are like a filthy garment. (Isa 64:6) cf. (Psa 39:5; Psa 49:11-12; Psa 49:20)
The Father asserts His own righteousness: “My righteousness shall be forever;” (Isa 51:7-8) and the Son affirms the Father’s perfection. (Luk 18:19; John 17:25) God the Son Himself is said to be “...holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens.” (Heb 7:26) “Righteous,” (1Jn 2:1) and the One “Who knew no sin, [He did not possess a sin nature].” (2Co 5:21) ...And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness.” (Jer 23:6) The Scriptural designation of God the Holy Spirit as Holy signifies that He, too, possesses absolute righteousness. (2Co 3:17 )
An integral part of God’s justice is fairness; it is impossible for God to be unfair to any member of the human race. Man’s point of contact with God is Divine justice. The justice of God is the source of both judgment and blessing. (Deut 28:63) What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes. What God’s righteousness rejects, our sin nature and personal sin, His justice punishes. What the righteousness of God accepts, His own righteousness in the believer, (1Co 1:30) the justice of God blesses. The justice and righteousness of God combine to form His integrity and or holiness. (Psa 33:5; Psa 89:14; Psa 97:2; Jer 9:24)
God the Father is just in all His dealings with mankind. (Deut 32:4; Neh 9:33) The Father gave the Son as a substitute to pay the penalty for our sins in order to satisfy the Father’s justice and righteousness. (John 3:16; Eph 2:15-16) He also appointed the Son the “righteous Judge,” (2Ti 4:8) giving Him the “authority to execute judgment.” (John 5:27)
As an expression of God’s fairness the Holy Spirit supplies common grace — His work that convicts “the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8-11) God passes no sentence of eternal condemnation upon any person unless His offer of eternal Salvation through the work of Jesus Christ is rejected. (Rev 20:15) This offer is extended throughout the entire life of the unbeliever.
God is eternal, unchangeable and IS Virtue love. (1Jn 4:8; (1Jn 4:16) His Divine love is infinitely superior to human love. God does not depend on emotion to express His love. God needs no response, no reciprocation, no reassurance, no demonstrations of faithfulness to sustain His love. In fact, God’s love exists with or without a created object, because God loves His own perfect essence.
The love of God is expressed in three categories.
1. Divine self-love, directed toward the perfect righteousness among the members of the Trinity, is totally justified because of the character of God.
2. Divine personal love is directed toward all believers because they possess the perfect righteousness of God.
3. Divine impersonal love is directed toward the fallen angels and all mankind as sinners. (John 3:16; Rom 5:8) God’s impersonal love is based on the integrity of God rather than the merit or attractiveness of His creation.
“God Is love” applies to every member of the Trinity. The Father loves the Son and also expresses His love to us through the Son.
“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (1Jn 4:9)
But God demonstrates His own [Impersonal] love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
The love of God is also demonstrated to us through the Holy Spirit.
...Because the [Personal] love of God [The Father] has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5)
The personal love of God must be consistent with His own righteousness. Man can never meet God’s standard of righteousness. (Rom 7:18) If God were to love imperfect man in the same way He loves the perfection of His own essence, God would compromise His integrity.
The original man and woman, were created as perfect HUMANS --- but not part of the Godhead, (Rom 8:19; Gal 6:15; Col 1:15; (1Jn 3:2; Rev 3:14) and they did not have God's righteousness --- so were objects of God's Virtue love. After the Fall, Adam and Eve were defiled by sin. The righteousness of God demanded that Divine justice condemn man. Justice condemns all human beings. (Rom 5:12) but likewise, only Divine justice can save human beings. (Rom 5:19) Motivated by God’s impersonal Virtue love for fallen humanity, the justice of God judged Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of all mankind. Since Christ paid the penalty for sin, the justice of God, without compromise to God’s integrity, imputes the righteousness of God to every believer at the moment of faith in Jesus Christ. (Rom 4:5) (God always knew man would sin --- and was always designed to become part of God's family by faith in Christ; Gal 3:26)
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:21)
Since God loves His own perfect righteousness — wherever it is found — we now become objects of Divine personal love! Nevertheless, because our Salvation depends on His justification of us, (Rom 3:24-26) His justice and now personal love continue to be the source of all our blessing and discipline.” Knowing that God will not and cannot compromise His integrity. His justice is also the source of our comfort and encouragement. He personally and eternally loves us because we possess His righteousness.
GOD IS. He Is absolute existence. He Is the self-existing one, Yahweh, the great “I am,” (Exo 3:14) Who has neither beginning nor end. (Psa 90:2; Psa 102:27) The self-existing life of God means His existence is entirely self-contained and does not depend on anything external to Himself. The Hebrew word resit, translated “beginning” (Gen 1:1) when related to the Godhead refers to the beginning of Their work of creation, but not the beginning of God. (John 1:1) states that both God the Father and God the Son existed eternally prior to creation. They had no beginning. Jesus Christ was “with” the Father and already “Was God” when time began.
In the beginning was the Word, [Jesus Christ, God the Son] and the Word was with God, [The Father] and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
The New Testament affirms that “eternal life... Was with the Father,” (1Jn 1:2) and this same “life is in His Son.” (1Jn 5:11) Jesus Christ is the “Alpha and the Omega” in, (Rev 1:8) “Alpha,” the beginning letter of the Greek alphabet, refers to the eternal preexistence of Jesus Christ. “Omega,” the final letter of the Greek alphabet, refers to Jesus Christ in hypostatic union during His Incarnation or First Advent. “He is the eternal Son of God and as humanity, the Son of David, who will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at His Second Advent and reign forever.
God Is timeless. In contrast mankind thinks in terms of past, present, future; of short or long periods; of years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. James likens our lives to “a vapor” (Jas 4:14) here today and gone tomorrow. No wonder David exclaimed,
“What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?” (Psa 8:4)
Yet a loving, eternal God cares enough to extend a gracious offer for us to share His eternal life.
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
God is all-knowing. Omniscience derives from the Latin omni, which means “all,” and scientia, “knowledge.” Eternal God in three persons has always known all things which include both the actual and the possible past, present, or future events. Before the creation of the world, God knew every problem, every heartache, every moment of your life, including every sin you would ever commit. Although His omniscience transcends time and eternity, His knowledge of events before they occur does not violate or interfere with human volition. By Divine design human beings are free agents who can choose to partake of God’s grace or reject Him. You, for example, are accountable to God for all your decisions and actions. (Rom 14:12)
All three members of the Godhead are omniscient. The Father is “perfect in knowledge.” (Job 37:16; cf., Matt 6:8; Matt 10:29-30; Rom 8:27; Heb 4:12-13) God the Son knows “all things.” (John 18:4; cf., Matt 9:4; John 2:24-25) And the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of the LORD, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel strength, knowledge and the RESPECT OF THE LORD GOD.” (Isa 11:2)
God exists beyond spatial limitations. He is immanent and transcendent. Immanence means His entire essence is always present everywhere in nature, in history, in all the affairs of mankind. (Jer 23:23-24; Acts 17:27-28) Transcendence means He is independent of the created universe so that no particular place exclusively contains Him. (Psa 113:5-6; Isa 55:8-9; John 8:23)
Immanence and transcendence exist in balance, so that “the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa 6:3) His whole Being is present in every point in the universe, while at the same time He Is “Holy” and “lofty and exalted” infinitely beyond the universe! (Isa 6:1-3) He pervades the universe, while at the same time He is free to be in a specific location, including:
1. Giving the Law to Moses. (Deut 4:10)
2. A Theophany. (Gen 18:1; Exo 3:2-6; Num 14:10; (1 Ki 8:10-11; Isa 6:1-3; cf., John 12:37-41)
3. The Incarnate Person of Jesus Christ. (John 1:14)
4. And indwelling the believer. (John 14:20-23; (2Co 6:16)
Omnipresence assures that no believer will ever be alone. (Heb 13:5) The Father fills heaven and earth. (Jer 23:23-24) The Son Who is in the Father and in the believer, (John 14:20; Col 1:27) promises, “I Am with you always!” (Matt 28:20) And, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit resides in every Church Age believer. (1Co 6:19)
God is all-powerful, unlimited in His ability and authority. His omnipotence guarantees that “nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luk 1:37) If God is limited in any sense, the restriction is self-imposed, to be consistent with His essence. God can do all He wills, but may not will to do all He can. (Eph 1:11)
Omnipotence is the superior Divine power of the Trinity. The Father is called “Almighty” (Job 11:7) and His power is eternal. (Rom 1:20) The Son’s power created the universe, holds it together, and is perpetuating history. (Isa 40:26; cf., Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:3) Jesus Christ, also is called “Almighty, mighty, and omnipotent,” (Gen 17:1; Isa 9:6; Rev 4:8; Rev 19:6)
Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 1:4)
The Holy Spirit supplies the Divine power for believers to execute the plan of the Father. (Zec 4:6; Acts 1:8; Rom 15:19)
During the Incarnation Jesus Christ limited the independent use of His Deity to strictly conform to the plan of the Father; (John 5:17; John 6:65; John 8:28; Php 2:6-8) and to utilize the power of the Holy Spirit. (Isa 42:1; Matt 4:1; Luk 4:18-19; John 3:34) His purpose was to demonstrate to New Covenant Age believers’ dependence on the Father’s plan and the Holy Spirit’s power in the Spiritual life.
God is unchangeable. He is neither capable of nor susceptible to change. He is absolute stability. God’s sovereign decisions, His omniscience, His holiness, all His characteristics are eternally the same and of equal stature. (Num 23:19; Psa 33:11; Psa 102:27; Mal 3:6) His Word and His Works are unalterable.
The question is frequently asked, If God is all-powerful could He not alter anything He desires? No! Each attribute is consistent with His integrity. No attribute can supersede or operate independently of God’s other attributes. This means God will never act capriciously, or arbitrarily, or in violation of what He has already decreed. Therefore, God’s omnipotence cannot override His immutability.
From God’s immutability comes His faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23) The Scriptures declare repeatedly that God is faithful. He is always reliable; God will never let anyone down! He is faithful to keep His Word. (Heb 6:17-19) Not one of His promises has ever failed. (1Ki 8:56) Although we may be faithless, He remains faithful! (Rom 3:3-4; (2Ti 2:13) With the Father there is “no variation, or shifting shadow.” (Jas 1:17) Jesus Christ is “the Same yesterday and today, and forever!” (Heb 13:8) The Holy Spirit is faithful to assist the believer in all things, (John 14:16) and to Teach him God’s Word. (1Co 2:13)
God is absolute Truth. (Psa 12:6) His veracity is evident in His Words, (John 8:45-46) in His Works (Psa 33:4) and in His Ways. (Rev 15:3) God means what He Says in all His Revelation, including Mandates, Doctrines, Promises, and Warnings. His faithfulness upholds His Word of Truth. (Psa 100:5; (2Pe 1:20-21) The Veracity of the Father is affirmed by the Son: “He who sent Me is True.” (John 7:28; cf.; John 17:3) Of Himself, Jesus said, “I Am the way, and the Truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6) “The Spirit is the Truth” in, (1Jn 5:6). Understanding Who and What God Is, and relying upon His perfect character for both adversity and prosperity builds a foundation of confidence and inner peace. (2Ti 1:7) The results are wise decisions and actions in every circumstance of life.
THE SPECTRUM OF DIVINE ESSENCE
All the attributes of Divine essence are resident in all three persons of the Godhead, but not all are manifested at the same time. The properties of light epitomize not only this unity of essence but also the individuality of each attribute and Person. A ray of white light contains all colors, but they are blended together and undetectable to the naked eye. When white light passes through a prism, it emerges as a spectrum of colors from violet to blue to green to yellow to red. When white light illuminates objects around you, each object has a different color because it reflects part of the spectrum while absorbing the other colors.
An object is white because all colors of the spectrum are reflected. Black objects absorb all colors and reflect none. Red objects reflect more red. Differently colored objects reveal color only when illuminated by some consistent source of white light. Similarly, the entire spectrum of Divine essence in each Member of the Trinity remains present and constant, no matter which attribute is reflected --- in the spotlight of our scrutiny, at a given point in time.
For example, the question is frequently asked, “How can a loving God send someone to hell?” This question ignores Divine attributes such as righteousness and justice. Isolated from God’s integrity Divine love would be reduced to something like human sentimentality. God’s love is tempered by His justice, the source of both blessing and cursing. The Father loved us enough to send His Son; and His justice is satisfied by the work of the Son on the cross. (Heb 12:2) But, His justice is also manifested in Divine judgment on those who reject the work of Christ.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
We adjust to the justice of God; (By Salvation, rebound and maturity adjustments) or the justice of God will adjust to us! (By judgment, Divine discipline, and the sin unto death)
The attributes of the Trinity never operate in a vacuum independently of each other. As in our analogue to light, every Divine attribute and all three Persons of the Trinity are reflected in the work of Salvation for mankind. The justice and righteousness of God condemn unbelievers. The attributes of love and eternal life receive the focus when a person believes in Jesus Christ. Omniscience and sovereignty are the origin of God’s plan, while immutability and veracity are foremost in the faithfulness of God to the believer.
THE PERSONALITIES AND ROLES OF THE TRINITY
One God exists in three distinct Personalities. The Bible distinguishes the role of each Person of the Trinity --- as the plan of God for man unfolds. But, the Divine Personalities are not the same as three separate human personalities. No two individuals have the identical essence of personality that the members of the Godhead possess. The uniformity of essence and the three separate but equal Personalities of God are best illustrated by an equilateral triangle.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are coequal and coeternal, neither being any less God than the Other. Only in describing Their works related to man can one Member be viewed as ‘subordinate’ when executing different aspects of the Divine plan. For example, the Son demonstrated obedience to the plan of the Father by going to the cross. (John 4:34)
"THEN I [Jesus Christ] SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK [Old Testament] IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'" (Heb 10:7)
The Holy Spirit demonstrates obedience by revealing the Father’s plan to unbelieving mankind. (Gen 6:3; John 16:8)
The Father is the architect of the plan; the Son is the executor of the plan; and the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the plan. Always remember that descriptions of individual functions of each Member of the Trinity never reduce the equality of Deity among the Three. Although each member of the Godhead has a different function, They cannot act in opposition One over the Other. Also, never assume that God adopts one of three names to coincide with each phase in His plan. The three Persons are separate and distinct and exist coterminously, (At the same time) even though They are One God in essence. (Luk 3:22)
People who cannot explain this profound Biblical Doctrine shrug off the existence of the Trinity as a ridiculous and outmoded superstition. Yet the Trinity is not an inscrutable Concept beyond the grasp of human Spiritual understanding. If this were true the Trinity would not have been revealed in Scripture.
The Trinity can perhaps be understood by examining a second analogy to light. While no analogy to nature can fully explain the Tri-unity of God, a simple example may clarify the Concept. Light is a single phenomenon with three distinct properties: actinic or radiating energy, especially in the ultraviolet spectrum; luminiferous or illuminating; and calorific or heat-producing. Each property is distinct but all unite as light. The actinic property is like God the Father, neither seen nor felt. The luminiferous property is like God the Son, both seen and felt. The calorific property is like God the Holy Spirit, felt but not seen.
THE DIVINE DECREE
Although God has always known His plan for the ages, He Revealed His plan in a form His created beings could Spiritually Comprehend. (1Th 2:13) His Revelation accommodated our finiteness. Theologically, this plan for mankind is called the Divine decree. (Psa 148:6) At some time prior to the creation of the heavens, earth and mankind the members of the Trinity formulated their decree. This decree included the creation of man as a free agent capable of understanding and loving God while enjoying a perfect relationship with Him. (Just not a part of God and His essence) But, omniscient God also knew the human beings He created would use their volition to sin and disobey Him.
God decreed that sin and the resultant Spiritual death of man would not terminate His plan. A way of Salvation had to be provided by which undeserving man could be brought into an eternal family relationship --- and temporal fellowship with God. Grace is the key! Under His policy of grace, God alone accomplishes the work, while man receives the benefit totally apart from his own merit or ability.
The work God accomplishes occurs in three phases. Phase one is Salvation; phase two is the Christian way of life; phase three is eternity. To make Salvation a Reality, the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, sent His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, into the world by means of the Holy Spirit. (Matt 1:18)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, became the agent of the Son’s conception. (Luk 1:35) The virgin pregnancy resulted in the birth of the Unique Person of the universe, Jesus Christ, who is God and man in One Person forever. (Luk 2:11) Different from God, Jesus Christ is truly man; different from man, Jesus Christ is undiminished Deity. As the only true and perfect member of the human race, He was qualified to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind. (The Only PERSON ever BORN perfect: body, soul and spirit. Adam and Eve were created perfect) Throughout His earthly ministry, the Son always executed the will of the Father. (John 8:29; Heb 10:9) The ministry of the Holy Spirit sustained the Person of Jesus Christ on earth. (Matt 12:18; Matt 12:28; Luk 4:1; Luk 4:14; Luk 4:18; John 3:34) Even when Jesus hung on the cross and was judged by the Father for our sins, the Holy Spirit faithfully continued to sustain Him. (Heb 9:14) All three members of the Trinity contributed to our Salvation.
When Christ said, “It is finished!”; (John 19:30) our Salvation was accomplished. Man’s acceptance of this magnificent gift from the grace of God is all that remains. How does man accept God’s unspeakable gift? Entrance into phase one, Salvation, is attained when a person believes in Jesus Christ as Savior through faith alone in Christ alone. (John 3:16; John 20:31; Acts 16:31)
Phase two begins at the moment of Salvation and continues throughout the believer’s life on earth. The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life. Fulfillment depends on the Holy Spirit and on the Word of Truth resident in the believer’s soul. God’s purpose is to bless each believer in time.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3)
But such blessings come only to the Christian who grows in the grace and knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ, (2Pe 3:18) by means of the Teaching Ministry of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-15) The filling of the Holy Spirit, the power for the Christian life, is attained by rebound, or private confession of sins to God.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:9)
Private confession consists of simply naming known sins to the Father, who then cleanses the believer from all sins, including the unknown and forgotten ones. The result is the filling of God the Holy Spirit and temporal fellowship with God. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the ability that makes Truth Spiritually Understandable and produces Spiritual growth from learning, Thinking, and applying Truth. (John 15:7-8) Phase three is God’s plan for the believer in eternity. This ultimate promotion begins at the point of physical death.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I [Jesus Christ] would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
We are not told the full extent of the blessings and provisions of eternity. Beyond the grasp of our finite minds, eternity is described in terms of negatives:
“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
Because the decree is in grace, man’s entrance into the plan of God must be compatible with grace. God is perfect; His plan is perfect. Therefore, the good works of imperfect man fall short of the perfect Standards of God.
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, [Grace in action] by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. (Tit 3:5)
The only means by which we can respond to grace and enter into the plan of God is by the nonmeritorious system of faith. Faith is devoid of works. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, (Salvation) it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9)
THE TRINITY MANIFESTED
Two events, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament, vividly demonstrate to us the Reality of the Trinity. When God called Isaiah to be His servant, the prophet was shown a rare vision of heaven.
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa 6:1-3)
Why did these angelic beings repeat the word “Holy” three times? Their praise was addressed to the Trinity. Notice, they did not say, “Holy, Holy, Holy are the Lords of hosts.” God is three persons but one God with one essence.
Jesus Christ is the only visible member of the Trinity. Isaiah saw Him seated upon His throne as the sovereign of heaven and earth. So glorious was the sight of the Lord’s holiness, (His perfect righteousness and justice) that Isaiah came face-to-face with his own unworthiness. (Isa 6:5) Though saved, how could Isaiah or any sinner, including ourselves, stand before holy God and continue to live? The answer:
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)
At one point in history, the Trinity was uniquely manifested on earth. This occasion was the baptism of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist had been announcing the First Advent of Christ. He had baptized believers in the Jordan River to identify them with the coming Kingdom. Then, Jesus appeared on the scene and asked to be baptized by John. At first John refused, protesting his unworthiness. Only after the Lord explained that He must be baptized to identify Himself with the Father’s plan did John agree to perform the baptism.
Of the various baptisms mentioned in Scripture, the baptism of Jesus Christ was unique. This baptism demonstrated the Son’s complete obedience to the Father’s will. The sinless One was willing to identify Himself with the sinner by being judged on the cross. During the baptism all three members of the Trinity took part.
But Jesus answering said to him, [John] “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. (Matt 3:15)
The plan of God is a step by step natural day by day process that leads us to Spiritual maturity; to fulfill God's will for our life; is to fulfill all righteousness.
His baptism foreshadowed the cross where “all righteousness” would be fulfilled. That is, God the Father would be satisfied or propitiated with the righteousness of the Son. Also involved is the Doctrine of redemption which requires that the Savior be perfect righteousness in order to purchase freedom for the human race from ‘the slave market of sin.’
The extraordinary Revelation of the Trinity occurred during the ritual.
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him. (Matt 3:16)
Water represented the will of the Father for the Son during the First Advent. Under the water, Christ was identified with the Father’s plan for man’s Salvation. As Jesus emerged from the water, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, descended upon Him “in bodily form like a dove.” (Luk 3:22) By this sign, John and everyone present undoubtedly knew that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. (John 1:33-34)
And behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I [The Father] Am well-pleased.” (Matt 3:17)
The voice of approval was from God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity. Therefore at Christ’s baptism, the beginning of His earthly ministry, the three members of the Trinity work in concert to confirm the identity of the God-Man; and anointing Him with the full power of the Spiritual life. (Isa 11:2-3) Three years later, before His ascension to heaven, Jesus Christ commissioned believers to represent Him on earth. The formal words of the appointment again bring the Trinity into focus.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19)
Believers are baptized in the “Name” — not names — of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Name” in the singular parallels “Lord” in, (Isa 6:3) affirming that God is One in essence but three Persons. While the emphasis in, (Isa 6:3) is on the Three-in-One, in Matthew it is on the One-in-Three. God the Father is the soul; God the Son is the body; and God the Holy Spirit is the spirit; and These Three are ONE! (Isa 48:16; Eph 4:4-6; Col 2:9) cf. (Heb 13:8)
HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND THE PERSONS OF GOD?
How can the infinite personalities of the Godhead be described to our finite minds? What vocabulary, what means of communication could best explain to man what would normally be incomprehensible? As one method of Revelation, the Holy Spirit has chosen to use anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms the language of accommodation. God uses language of accommodation to give us insight into Divine character and function through analogy to human characteristics and function, which God does not actually possess. An anthropomorphism ascribes to God portions of human anatomy to explain His routine. An anthropopathism ascribes to God human feelings, passions, and thoughts to explain Divine policies, actions, and decisions in terms of human frame of reference.
The term “Father,” for example, draws upon our familiarity with the concept of a paternal relationship. Father describes the relationship between the first and second persons of the Trinity, and also defines our family bond through regeneration. Believers are called sons of God. (Gal 4:6-7) Likewise, the names “Son” and “Holy Spirit” instruct us about the roles of the other persons within the Godhead.
GOD THE FATHER
AUTHOR AND PLANNER. In Scripture the father is the head of the family. (1Co 11:3) Likewise, God the Father is the epitome of fatherhood and is supreme over all things. (1Co 8:6) The title ‘Father’ emphasizes the absolute authority and design of the First Person as author of the Divine plan for humanity (John 14:24; Eph 1:1-23)
One God and [Even] Father of all [Believers] who is over all [Sovereign] and through all [Omnipresent] and in all. [Indwelling of the Father] (Eph 4:6)
In eternity past, the Father planned and designed all that was, is, or ever will be. (Gen 1:1) “...He marked out the foundations of the earth”; (Prov 8:29) prepared the elements, (Job 28:25-27) and set the bounds for the seas. (Job 38:11) The Father purposed to make man, (Gen 1:26) and to treat him in grace. (Eph 1:2-4; Eph 2:8-9) All planning and production of the Father are manifestations of His essence. Yet, He does not surpass in either quality or degree the other members of the Trinity, but is coequal with the Son and the Holy Spirit.
FATHER OF JESUS CHRIST. One title of the First Person is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Co 1:3; (2Co 11:31; Eph 1:3; Col 1:3; (1Pe 1:3) This title indicates the relationship between Christ and the Father. Christ is both the Revelation of the Father and the focal point of His plan. (John 1:14; (2Co 4:6; Eph 3:11; Heb 1:2)
No man has seen God [the Father] at any time; the only begotten, [Uniquely born] God [Jesus Christ] who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (John 1:18)
The relationship of Father and Son has existed from eternity past in the Divine decree. (John 17:5; John 17:24-25) Although eternally possessing equality with the Father, (Php 2:6) the Son functioned in a subordinate role to accomplish the redemptive will of the Father. Such phrases as “His only begotten [Uniquely born] Son” (John 3:16) and “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18) must be understood in the sense of the unique mission of the Second Person of the Trinity. Although eternal God, He proceeded from the Father to be manifested in the flesh. (John 1:14; John 8:42) Jesus Christ was born into the world without a sin nature, (1Pe 1:19) through the virgin birth, (Psa 2:7; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23) and the only one qualified to act as a substitute to be judged for the sins of all mankind. (Isa 53:1-12; Heb 9:16; Heb 9:28; 1Jn 3:5)
FATHER OF ALL BELIEVERS. Since God the Father is the author of Salvation, all believers are personally and eternally related to Him through the new birth. (Gal 4:6; Eph 1:5; Eph 3:14-15; Eph 4:6) Contrary to the popular notion of the universal fatherhood of God, God is not the father of all mankind, (John 8:42-44) but the Father of all believers. Membership in the family of God is not automatic, but is a result of a simple act of faith in Jesus Christ
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26)
As members of His family, we may address God as “Father.” (Rom 8:15) Like all loving fathers in the human realm, God the heavenly Father provides what is best for His children. (Matt 7:11) All our needs were met and supplied in abundance through the Divine decree in eternity past. As a guarantee of eternal provision the Father actually indwells every believer; (John 14:23; Eph 4:6) and is the personal grantor of these blessings for time and eternity. Grace blessings include all of the gifts bestowed on the believer at Salvation, the Promises, Commands and Doctrines: THOUGHTS in time, and for eternity.
To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. (1Pe 1:4)
Like all children we will sin against our heavenly Father. We must then be disciplined for our own good. (Heb 12:5-11) Yet, our Father is always ready to receive His children back into fellowship as soon as they return to His plan by way of private, direct confession to Him. (1Jn 1:9)
GOD THE SON
THE UNIQUE PERSON OF THE UNIVERSE. Jesus Christ, the Second Person, is the manifest member of the Trinity. (John 1:14-18; John 14:9) He is known as God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. His title, “Lord,” which is Kurios in the Greek and Yahweh in the Hebrew, proclaims His Deity. He is different from God in that He is true humanity and different from humanity in that He is also God. “Jesus,’” which may be translated “Savior,” is the name of His humanity and signifies His redemptive work on our behalf. (Matt 1:21) The designation “Christ,” meaning “the Anointed One” or “Messiah,” indicates His offices of prophet, priest, and king to Israel.
As the unique person of the universe, Jesus Christ possesses two natures that are inseparably united in “hypostatic union” without loss or mixture of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union being personal and eternal. He is undiminished Deity and true humanity. (Rom 1:2-4; Php 2:6-8; (1Ti 3:16) He bears every attribute of Deity and is eternally related to the other two members of the Trinity. (Isa 48:16; John 1:1-4; Heb 5:5)
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. (Col 2:9)
As Deity, Christ has all authority, (Matt 28:18) possesses life in Himself, (John 5:26) imparts eternal life, (John 10:28) forgives sins, (Matt 9:6; Mark 2:7) and executes judgment. (John 5:22) As the Son of God, (Rom 1:1-4) Christ Is the “exact representation of His, [The Father’s] nature.” (Heb 1:3) On the rare occasions when He referred to Himself as the “Son of God,” He was accused of blasphemy; (John 10:33) and threatened with death. (John 5:18) Many who heard His claim to being Deity and Messiah violently rejected that claim.
As “the Son of Man,” (Luk 19:10) Christ took on the “likeness” and “form” of man. (Php 2:7) He stressed this title more often than any other during His earthly ministry. Since His Deity had always existed, (John 1:1) He now focused on that which was new to them and which must also be understood — His humanity. (Matt 1:25) During His life on earth, Jesus experienced physical, intellectual, and Spiritual growth. (Luk 2:40; Luk 2:52) He knew fatigue, (John 4:6) hunger, (Matt 4:2) thirst, (John 19:28) testing and temptation, (Heb 4:15) suffering, (Heb 2:18) and death. (Luk 23:46)
As the God-Man in hypostatic union, when Christ spoke from His Deity, He referred to God as His Father; when speaking on the cross from His humanity He referred to the Father as His God. (John 20:17) Yet, His humanity in no way diminishes or detracts from His Deity nor from His equality with the Father and the Holy Spirit. (John 5:23)
Jesus is clearly revealed in the Old Testament as: 1. the Creator, (Gen 2:7; cf., John 1:3; John 1:10; Rom 11:36; Col 1:16-17) 2. the Angel of the Lord, (Yahweh} (Gen 16:10; Gen 22:11; Jdg 13:17-23; cf., John 1:18) 3. the Messiah or Anointed One. (Psa 2:2; Dan 9:25; cf., John 4:25-26) He is repeatedly declared to be Yahweh. The New Testament greatly expands our understanding of His person and work.
THE INCARNATION. The Incarnation of the Son of God, His coming in the flesh, and His hypostatic union are the very foundation of Christianity. To provide Salvation for mankind, the Son had to become a true member of the human race. As sovereign and eternal God, He is not subject to judgment or death on the cross. What an astounding endeavor for the Creator to lower Himself to the level of His own creation that He might lift us to His own sphere of glory! (Psa 82:6; John 10:34-36) In the fullness of time, (Gal 4:4) Jesus Christ, conceived by God the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, (Luk 1:31-35) “was revealed in the flesh” (1Ti 3:16) and “dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)
During His ministry on earth, He displayed the glory and omniscience of God; (Mark 9:2-8; Luk 9:29-36; (2Co 4:6) yet He came primarily to reveal the love of God. (1Jn 4:9-10) The supreme proof of that love was the cross.
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
His miracles, which presented His Messianic credentials, alleviated suffering in the lives of only a few. There is only One way to provide Salvation for all mankind; Jesus Christ had to become “flesh” and be judged for our sins and take our place.
The penalty God had declared for sin was Spiritual death, separation from God. (Gen 2:17; cf.; Gen 5:3-5; Rom 5:12) To pay that penalty, Christ, as our substitute, had to bear the sins of the world in His humanity and be judged by the Father. (Matt 27:46; (1Pe 2:24) So excruciating was the suffering of Christ while He bore the sins of the world that the Father veiled His Son’s agony and shrouded the hill of Golgotha in total darkness. (Luk 23:44) After God had judged every sin — past, present, and future — Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus had suffered Spiritual death and judgment for ALL! (1Jn 2:2) The work of Salvation was completed. Then, by an act of His own volition, Jesus gave up His physical life.
Physical death separates the body from the human soul and spirit but never terminates the consciousness of the soul and spirit. During the three days and nights following the crucifixion, the body of Jesus Christ was entombed. (Luk 23:50-53) His human soul and spirit went to Paradise in Hades. (Luk 23:43; (1Pe 3:18-19)
After three days, the omnipotence of God the Father, (Acts 2:24; Rom 6:4; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; (1Th 1:10; (1Pe 1:21) the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit, (Rom 1:4; Rom 8:11) and the omnipotence of God the Son raised the humanity of Jesus Christ from the dead, (John 2:18-21; John 10:14-18) making possible eternal life for every believer through faith in Christ. Jesus came forth from the grave, (Matt 28:6) with His soul and spirit reunited in a glorified, immortal resurrection body. He is the only human being ever to be resurrected. The resurrection of Christ with His glorified body guarantees the future resurrection of all believers. (1Co 15:22-23; 1Co 15:54)
All three members of the Trinity had a part in Christ’s resurrection. Jesus was “raised from the dead through the glory, [Power] of the Father” (Rom 6:4) who returned His human soul and spirit to His body in the grave. (Rom 8:11) God the Son designed and created His own resurrection body. (Col 1:16) During the Incarnation the humanity of Christ became lower than angels, but through resurrection, ascension, and session, His humanity became superior to angels. (Heb 1:4; Heb 2:9) His crucifixion had to come before His glorification. The cross must come before the crown.
HIS GLORIFICATION. Forty days after His resurrection — during which the Lord “presented Himself alive ...by many convincing proofs” — He departed visibly from this earth and entered into heaven. (Acts 1:2-3, Acts 1:9-10) There Christ presented Himself, the first resurrected man in heaven, and was accepted by the Father as the perfect and only sacrifice for sinful humanity. (Heb 9:24-28) Upon entering heaven, the God-Man “...sat down [Session] at the right hand of the Majesty [Father] on high.” (Heb 1:3) His session demonstrates His complete acceptability to God in His humanity. (Psa 110:1; Heb 1:13) At the Father’s right hand, the place of honor, Christ continues His ministry as our Intercessor, High Priest, and Advocate. (Heb 7:25; Heb 8:1; (1Jn 2:1)
As the manifest person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the ‘Shekinah Glory,’ dwelt with Israel in the sacred Tabernacle and Temple. He was the God of Israel; (Lev 26:11-12) whose presence in the Holy of Holies was demonstrated by a brilliant cloud above the Tabernacle. (Exo 40:34-38) During the Incarnation, the visible Christ ‘Tabernacled’ or dwelt among men in the flesh. (John 1:14) His transfigured glory became visible to Peter, James, and John during His ministry on earth. (Matt 17:1-5) After His ascension the sacred Tabernacle, [Temple] for His indwelling was transferred to the body of the believer. (John 14:20; John 17:23; John 17:26; (2Co 6:16; Col 1:27-29) Now, we may share His glory both in time and eternity. (2Co 3:18)
HIS RETURN. In heaven Jesus Christ is preparing a place for believers — His bride, (Rev 19:7) the Church, (John 14:1-3) the body of Christ, (Eph 4:11-12) the royal family of God. (1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6; Rev 5:10) On earth the royal family is being formed by the power of the Holy Spirit, who places each New Covenant Age believer into union with Christ at the moment of faith in Him. (Gal 3:1-6; Gal 3:14; Gal 3:26-27; Eph 4:4-5; (2Th 2:13-14)
A little before seven years of the Tribulation are completed, (Matt 24:22) Jesus Christ, accompanied by His bride, Spiritually mature believers from all dispensations, (Periods of time) (Psa 45:13-17; (1Th 3:13; Jud 1:14; Rev 19:14) will return “as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west.” (Matt 24:27) At His First Advent, He came in humility, (Php 2:5-8) to be judged; at His Second Advent, He will appear in power and glory, (Matt 24:30; Matt 26:64) to judge, to wage war, and to rule. (Rev 19:11, Rev 19:15-16) Every eye will see the returning Sovereign of heaven and earth, His eyes a flame of fire and on His head many crowns. (Rev 1:7; Rev 19:11-12)
Upon the defeat of all satanic forces the millennial kingdom will be established on earth and Christ will begin his reign in everlasting righteousness. At the termination of the literal one thousand years of perfect environment, He will judge all unbelievers before His Great White Throne, (Rev 20:11-15) and sentence them to the Lake of Fire for having rejected His saving work on their behalf. The present universe will be destroyed. (2Pe 3:12-13) In the new heavens and new earth the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to rule His eternal kingdom, (2Pe 1:10-11) under the authority of the Father, (Rev 22:3) and in perfect union with Him. (1Co 15:28) “The whole earth [Will] be filled with His glory.” (Psa 72:17-19)
Truly our incomparable Christ, “the Lamb who has been slain,” (Rev 13:8) IS “worthy ...to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12)
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE PERSON OF THE SPIRIT. Some who reject the Concept of the Trinity seek to reduce the Holy Spirit to nothing more than an influence, just as some view the Son as a mere man. The lack of material form or substance, of the Spirit does not make Him any less a Person than the Father, who is equally invisible. The term “ghost” is a misleading translation of pneuma, which means “spirit.” There is no word in the Greek for ghost. The closest word is phantasma, (Matt 14:26) which means apparition.” But this word is never used of the Third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a true Person in the same sense that the Father and the Son are Persons. (2Co 13:14; (1Pe 1:2)
The term Spirit relates to the distinct role of His Person, since the Father and Son are also spirit (John 4:24) The Holy Spirit is the unseen power of God, the Person through whom Divine power is conveyed. As such He reveals the plan of God on earth and is the agent for executing the Christian way of life.
His many titles in both the Old and New Testaments indicate His Deity and also reveal His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. Regarding His attributes, He is called “Spirit of holiness,” (Rom 1:4) “Spirit of life,” (Rom 8:2) “Spirit of the LORD, wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear and or respect” (Isa 11:2) “Spirit of Truth.” (John 14:17) Such titles as “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of our God” (Gen 1:2; Matt 3:16; (1Co 6:11) and “Spirit of your Father,” (Matt 10:20) associates the Holy Spirit to the Father; while “Spirit of Christ” and “Spirit of Jesus Christ,” (Rom 8:9; Php 1:19) “Spirit of His Son” (Gal 4:6) and “Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9) relate Him to the Son. These titles do not mean that He is merely an attribute of God. No attribute would be designated by the personal pronouns “He,” “Him,” and “His.” Nor could an attribute “guide you into all the Truth,” (John 16:13-15) or restore and give life. (Gen 1:2; Job 33:4) These titles refer to the Holy Spirit as a separate and distinct Person.
The role of the Holy Spirit must not be confused with the other members of the Trinity.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17)
The phrase ‘The Lord is the Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit, not the Second Person of the Trinity. “The Lord is the Spirit” asserts the Deity of the Third Person. The phrase never means that the Spirit supersedes the presence of the resurrected indwelling Christ in the believer. (Rom 8:10; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27) The activity of One cannot be attributed to the Other. They are separate and distinct Persons, Both of Whom are equally present With and In the believer!
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY TO MANKIND. The Old Testament credits the Holy Spirit with the renewal or restoration of the earth after the judgment and destruction of original creation. (Gen 1:2; Job 10:22; Job 26:13; Job 38:30; Psa 104:30) To keep humanity from returning the earth to chaos, God has a remnant of Spiritually mature believers. (Rom 11:4-5) Another benefit of God the Holy Spirit is common grace which occurs in evangelism. Every human being born subsequent to the fall of Adam is born Spiritually dead — without a human spirit. The Holy Spirit must act as the missing human spirit so the Spiritual Information of the Gospel is comprehensible. (1Co 2:13-14)
When the Spiritually dead person is willing to listen to the Gospel message, the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit makes the message lucid. (John 16:7-11) If that person responds positively through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit’s ministry of efficacious grace acknowledges and makes faith effective for Salvation. (Eph 2:8)
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY TO BELIEVERS. The Holy Spirit is the Divine author of the Word of God, also called the Mind of Christ. (1Co 2:16; Heb 3:7) Not only does the Holy Spirit guarantee the accuracy of the Word in the original language, (2Sa 23:2; (2Ti 3:16; (2Pe 1:20-21) but He also Teaches the believer. (John 14:26; John 15:26) This Teaching ministry converts academic “Spiritual knowledge” of Truth, termed gnosis in the Greek, (Eph 3:19) into full “Spiritual knowledge” or epignosis. (Eph 4:13; (2Pe 1:8) Gnosis Truth has no Spiritual benefit. (Because of unbelief) Only epignosis knowledge is usable for application in the Christian life. (1Th 2:13) Our human intelligence alone cannot comprehend Spiritual information. Therefore, the Holy Spirit provides the Spiritual I.Q. necessary for our finite minds to understand the Revelation and or Thoughts of the infinite Thinking of God! (Heb 4:12-13)
Although the Holy Spirit has been in the world from the beginning and has always had ministries to believers, there is a marked difference between His work in the Old and New Testaments. Throughout Old Testament times, God sovereignly limited the temporary indwelling and or enabling presence of the Spirit, to believers in fellowship --- who had special tasks to perform: leaders; (Gen 41:38; Num 11:17; Num 11:25; Num 27:18) the skilled artisans of the Tabernacle; (Exo 35:30-35) judges; (Jdg 3:10) kings; (1Sa 10:10; (1Sa 10:13) prophets. (Dan 4:8; Zec 4:3-6) The Spirit could be asked for more power and received. (2Ki 2:9-10) The Spirit also could be removed from the believer. (1Sa 16:14; Psa 51:11)
The Spirit’s ministries vary from dispensation to dispensation, although His function is ESSENTIAL in the Tribulation; as in every period of history! (Rev 5:6; Rev 6:9; Rev 11:4-6; Rev 11:11; Rev 14:4-5; Rev 14:13; Rev 17:17; Rev 18:4; Rev 22:17) cf. (Zec 4:3-6) The work of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant Age is a unique manifestation of the grace of God. Never before did God the Holy Spirit permanently accomplish the following four supernatural works in every believer. These works comprise four of the Ministries of the Holy Spirit to the believer at the point of Salvation.
1. The baptism of the Spirit places us into union with Christ, making each New Covenant believer a member of the body of Christ, the the royal family of God. (1Co 12:13; (1Pe 2:9)
2. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit transforms the believer’s body into a Temple for the simultaneous indwelling of God the Father and Jesus Christ — the Shekinah Glory. (Rom 8:9-11; (1Co 3:16; (1Co 6:19-20; (2Co 6:16; Eph 4:4-6 cf., Col 1:27-29)
3. The sealing of the Spirit guarantees the eternal security of each member of the royal family. (Eph 1:13; Eph 4:30)
4. A Spiritual gift is given to every believer to function as royalty on earth. (1Co 12:4-7; Eph 4:11)
Possessing these four blessings, the individual believer today has the most phenomenal Spiritual privileges of history. The primary purpose of these privileges is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 16:14; Gal 5:22-23) Whether or not this purpose is fulfilled by the believer depends upon the filling of the Spirit and the application of epignosis Truth to our Thinking. The filling of the Spirit is an absolute status Commanded to every believer for empowering the Christian life. (Eph 5:18) The filling of the Spirit may be lost at any time through sin, but it may be regained instantly through confession of sin. (1Jn 1:9) By contrast, the indwelling of the Spirit is a permanent condition, not mandated, but represented in Scripture as an accomplished fact for all believers.
Spiritual growth cannot be produced in the Christian life apart from the filling of the Spirit. (1Co 3:12-13) This Spiritual growth of intrinsic value, “gold, silver, precious stones,” is the only “work” that can survive the test of time and will be rewarded in eternity. (1Co 3:14) Thus, the Holy Spirit, often neglected and unrecognized, is majestic, all-powerful, loving, and coequal with the other two Persons of the Godhead.
JUST A BEGINNING
To love God, we must know Who and What HE IS! We can know God only to the extent that we perceive what God has revealed about Himself in His Word. God is a Trinity. Our study has only begun to explore the infinite depths of the Trinity. Every Scriptural examination of God’s character illuminates the wondrous facets of Each Member in the Godhead. Every examination of Their Individual roles uncovers crucial resources for living the Christian life.
God presents all Truth “...through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, [Spiritual Thoughts] even the depths, [The most Advanced Doctrines] of God.” (1Co 2:10) As we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” we develop a greater and capacity for more Truth and love for God --- the Holy Trinity! God always grants us the SPIRITUAL POWER, Truth, motivation, and opportunities necessary to know Him, serve Him, and honor Him!
Then he said to me, "This is the Word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, (The old sin nature) but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. (Zec 4:6)