We believe in one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
What comes to your mind when you think about God, what He is like, what attributes He possesses, or how He interacts with humanity? All of us have views and opinions about who God is. You may question the validity of that statement by asking, “What about those who don’t believe that God actually exists?” Good question! But isn’t the belief and view that God doesn’t exist actually a belief and view of God in itself? We all have a theology of God, because the essence of theology is the way you view who God is, what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do in the future; therefore, we are all theologians regardless of our religious or non-religious affiliation.
A.W. Tozer famously said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Maybe you view God as an angry father, a spiritual genie, or even a last-ditch lifeguard, each view catering to an immediate fear or need in our lives.
Does God care about what comes to our mind when we think about Him? Far too often we limit our view of God to our small, human perspective, and our view of God is often not truly who He is. What if we allowed our view of God to be completely shaped by His description of Himself?
As we established last week, God is a supreme communicator who has plainly articulated in His Word who He is, what He has done, and what He desires to do now and in the future. Philip Ryken explains, “To know God is to know Him as triune.” This means that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – three in one. Although the term “Trinity” is not used in the scriptures, the concept is undoubtedly a biblical theme.
Understanding the Basics
The most basic doctrine of the Trinity is this: God is three persons, each person is fully God, and there is one God. We see this triune doctrine in the earliest part of the Bible when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26). This says that humanity is created in “our” image, but who does “our” refer to? The only possible answers at that time in creation would have been angels or the triune God. The Word explicitly states in the next verse, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). J.A. Medders, in his book Rooted, clarifies it for us this way:
“There is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God, working in perfect relationship with one another, eternally possessing the same divine substance. All three are simultaneously and equally omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at all times), holy, loving, just, and all other attributes of God. We cannot elevate His threeness over His oneness. We cannot elevate one of the Persons over another. They are not set on a better-than-the-other totem pole; they are connected and dependent upon one another. He is three. He is one.”
Trying to comprehend the Trinity is a massive undertaking. It is complex and breathtaking, profound and beautiful, unique to Christianity and yet open to all humanity.
Why is a growing understanding of the Trinity important for life? If we want God’s amazing and powerful work in our life, then we must better understand Him as Triune God.
God the Father
We read about God the Father many times in scriptures, not only affirming that He is Father but also describing who He is as God the Father. The New Testament writer James regards God as a Father when he states, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17) Jesus refers to God as Father when He tells us that God the Father knows exactly what we need (Matthew 6:25-34), as well as when he says that God the Father holds us in His hands (John 10:29).
The perfect gift-giver, the sufficient provider, and the giver of ultimate security, God the Father is the perfect prototype for all earthly fathers. Is this a truth that you desperately needed to hear today? Do you genuinely rest in His security, or is your life riddled with constant insecurity? God the Father has extended His hands to you and graciously offered infinite rest and security for you. This is who He is.
God the Son
In Colossians 1:15-20, Paul explains that Jesus is fully God and fully human, and that by Him all things have been created. We learn that Jesus holds all things together, and that in everything Jesus is preeminent, meaning that He is the most important of all important things and people. We learn that in Jesus the fullness of God dwells and that He is on a mission to reconcile all that is broken. We know that He accomplishes this mission by sacrificing His life in a brutal death on the cross and rising three days later, triumphant over death.
When you read this description of who God the Son is, does it draw you in to the Gospel story? Does it lead you to lay down your life in worship? David Martyn Lloyd-Jones sums it up for us, “There is something essentially wrong with a man who calls himself a Christian and who can listen to a truly evangelistic sermon without coming under conviction again, without feeling something of his own unworthiness, and rejoicing when he hears the Gospel remedy being presented.”
God the Spirit
God the Spirit is probably the most misunderstood person of the Trinity, but we must understand that God the Spirit is equally deserving of worship as God the Father and God the Son. Many churches and some Christians fall into one of two traps: making too much of the Holy Spirit or making too little of the Holy Spirit.
Making too much of God the Spirit happens when our theology of the Holy Spirit takes precedence over God’s gospel. For example, some believe that an individual cannot be saved until they possess specific gifts of the Spirit. How is this reconciled with the complete and finished work of Christ on the cross? Was Jesus’ atonement not sufficient? Of course not! It is vital for God the Spirit to be understood through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is an equally destructive view of God the Spirit which develops when we make too little of the Spirit. This happens when we live in awareness of God the Father and God the Son but ignore God the Spirit in our daily lives. How do we understand the importance of God the Spirit in our everyday living? Jesus provides critical insight regarding God the Spirit in John 14:16-17, 25-26, when He makes it clear that GOD the Spirit dwells in the life of one who has surrendered his life to HIM through belief in the Gospel. From the moment of salvation, the Spirit of God begins His transforming work in the life of a disciple of Jesus. While this transforming work tends to be slow, it is powerful. Paul identifies this transforming work of the Spirit of God as the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). As Jerry Bridges writes, “If we take seriously the Christ-like character traits we’re to put on, we see how impossible it is to grow apart from the power of the Spirit.”
God the Spirit desires to work in and through you today. In fact, the Spirit of God is the only way that you can live the life God has called you to live. He will bring to the surface the deep-seated issues of your heart in hope of transforming you into something new. The Spirit will provide opportunities throughout the day for you to be God’s hands and feet in your community. Call on the Spirit by daily praying something as simple as, “Give me the ears to hear what you want me to hear, the eyes to see what you see, the thoughts that you desire for me to possess, the actions that you want of me, and the words that you want to speak through me today.”
Right now, you are infinitely loved by God the Father, adopted in God the Son, and being molded by God the Holy Spirit.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Fathered By God by John Eldridge (God the Father)
King’s Cross by Tim Keller (God the Son)
Forgotten God by Francis Chan (God the Spirit)