Our Great God
Doing those things which promote an increase of our knowledge of God should be on every true believers short list of priorities. When occupying ourselves with this worthy endeavor, we will find ourselves doing that which pleases God Himself.
Jer. 9:23-24 – Thus says the Lord, Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.
Hos. 6:6 – For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Gaining knowledge, wisdom and an understanding of God is better than all of the gold, silver and rubies of this world and that it does not even begin to compare to anything else that you may desire in this life! In other words, gaining the knowledge of God in this life is bigger and better than any materialistic thing that you could ever buy, want or desire in this life!
Pro. 16:16 – How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
Pro. 20:15 – There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.
Pro. 3:13-15 – How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels. And nothing you desire compares with her.
The Goal of Our Study
The study of God must lead us to God Himself, or our study has failed to produce its fullest potential. It must lead us first to a personal relationship with Him through His Son the Lord Jesus and then to a deeper communion with Him through continued spiritual growth.
True believers should not be content with simply studying and pondering the truths in the Bible, we must take it a step further and seek to commune with the God of the truth. All acquired truth should lead into a deeper understanding, fellowship and communion with God Himself.
A. God Has Revealed Himself In Several Ways
If it were not for God choosing to reveal Himself, we would be left to ourselves to try to understand who God is.
God has chosen three ways in particular to reveal Himself:
Creation — Conscience — Revelation
Rom. 1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom. 2:14-15 – For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.
1 Cor. 2:9-12 – but just as it is written, things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.
It needs to be understood that no human being has the ability to understand God exhaustively. There is a limit to how much we will be able to comprehend His being. That’s because we are finite creatures and God is an infinite being. This does not mean that we cannot know anything about God. It simply means that our knowledge is partial and limited. We can know God to the degree that He chooses to reveal Himself.
The Triune God
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of revelation, not of natural religion, and therefore the first thing we must realize is that we are totally dependent upon the revealed Word of God for it’s explanation. There is not one single text that gives all the information about this grand subject, therefore, we must search and dig in the Word so we can come to a Biblical conclusion about the Trinity.
1. God As a Triune Being
The Bible emphatically teaches that God consists of three persons who are one in nature. There are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one Being. Each person being fully God, thus making them all equal and eternal.
A. The Scriptural Basis for the Trinity
Although the word “Trinity” is never used in the Bible, the idea represented by the word is taught in many places.
Gen. 1:26 – 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.
Gen. 3:22 – Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.
Gen. 11:7 – Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.
Is. 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, Here am I. Send me!
Is. 48:16 – 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.
Matt. 3:16-17 – 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, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matt. 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor. 13:14 – The grace of the Lord Jesus the Messiah, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
1 Pet. 1:2 – according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus the Messiah and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
Jude 1:20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus the Messiah to eternal life.
Deut. 6:4 – Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
The word “one” is a key word in this passage. In the Hebrew, there are two words for the word “one,” “echad” and “yachid.” “Yachid” means absolute one, like having one single grape. “Echad” refers to a compound oneness, like having one cluster of grapes that has many grapes on it, yet there is only one cluster. The Hebrew word that is used in Deut. 6:4 is “echad.” There is only one God, but He has revealed Himself as three persons.
B. The Mystery of the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity goes beyond our ability to completely comprehend it.
However, we can understand some things about it as we summarize the Bible’s teaching on the subject.
The Bible’s Teaching on the Trinity:
- God is revealed in three persons
- Each Person is fully God
- There is only one God
God is revealed in three persons
The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. All three are distinct persons, yet one. These distinctions are seen in a number of Bible passages.
John 1:1-2 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
1 John 2:1 – My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the Messiah the righteous.
Luke 4:14 – And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.
John 16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Acts 10:38 – You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Each person is fully God
The Scriptures clearly teach that each person of the Triune Godhead is fully God. Each possessing all of the attributes and qualities that manifests their Deity.
God the Father
It’s clearly taught in the Bible that there is a person who is called the Father, who is God.
John 6:27 – Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.
Rom. 1:7 – to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah.
1 Cor. 8:4,6 – …there is no God but one. Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus the Messiah, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
God the Son
It’s clearly taught in the Bible that there is a person who is called the Son, who is God.
John 1:1-2, 14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Heb. 1:8 – But of the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.
John 20:27-28 – Then He said to Thomas, reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing. Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!
Rom. 9:3-5 – For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, …whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Messiah according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus.
Is. 9:6 – For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Col. 2:8-9 – See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Messiah. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.
God the Holy Spirit
It’s clearly taught in the Bible that there is a person who is called the Holy Spirit, who is God.
Acts 5:3-4 – But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.
1 Cor. 2:10-11 – For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?
Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
There is one God
So far we have seen that God is three persons and that each person is fully God. We must take it one step further and show that these three are one. Other wise we would be supporting polytheism, but that is not what the Bible teaches.
Is. 45:5-6 – I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.
Is. 45:21-22 – Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
James 2:19 – You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
C. Distinctions Between the Members of the Trinity
Since all three members of the Trinity are fully God and fully share in all the same attributes, are there any differences that exist between them?
The differences that exist within the Trinity, revolve around their functions, not within their being or essence. The differences can best be seen in what each person does.
The differences that exist within the Trinity can be seen in what each member did in the provision of redemption.
Eph. 1:3-6 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus the Messiah to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Eph. 1:7-12 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight …In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in the Messiah would be to the praise of His glory.
Eph. 1:13-14 – In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
The differences that exist within the Trinity can be seen in what each member did in the creation of the universe.
Gen. 1:3 – Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
John 1:3 – All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Col. 1:16 – For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Gen. 1:2 – The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
D. How Can We Best Illustrate the Trinity
Many individuals have come up with various analogies to try to help people better understand the concept of the Trinity.
- water, a tree, a three leaf clover, a human being, an egg
All such analogies are inadequate and breakdown when trying to be used to illustrate the concept of the Trinity.
Is. 40:12-18 – Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales?Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understand-ing? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
It is not possible to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity with temporal things. It goes way beyond our ability to comprehend it as taught in Scripture. We take it by faith. All false religions and cults deny the Trinity thus making them inadequate forms beliefs that cannot save a soul. The Trinity is one of those essential teachings that must be believed in for salvation to take place.
How important is the Bible’s teaching about the Trinity? The truth of the doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely essential if one is to have true faith. Everything rises or falls with a correct understanding of this central teaching. This truth separates true faith from every false religion.