|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
The Bible not only teaches that God exists but that God exists in a triune nature. The triune nature of God is often described using terms like the Godhead or the trinity. The point is that there are three distinct individuals or beings who possess the divine nature. This doctrine is ignored by some, confusing to many and a challenge to all. The Bible says in several places that there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6). Yet, the Bible also teaches that within that oneness, there are three individuals: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The oneness of God is not contradicted by the fact that three different beings possess a divine nature. There is an uncompromised unity among the three members of the Godhead, though each member contains His distinct individuality.
We must humbly approach this subject, realizing that there are some things about God and His nature that we will not know on this side of eternity (Deuteronomy 29:29; Job 11:7). Nevertheless, we also must acknowledge that God has given us enough information in Scripture to speak with some definiteness on His triune nature. The triune nature of God is not a side issue that should only be engaged by specialists. The nature and identity of God is to be studied, known and appreciated by all of God’s people. In this article, I want to briefly point out some things about each member of the Godhead that will hopefully help us appreciate Scripture’s teaching on this vital subject.
God the Father
God the Father is perhaps the most familiar of the three members of the Godhead to most Christians. Usually, when God is referenced, this is who we have in mind. God the Father is eternal and is responsible for creating the world in which we live (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 43:7; Revelation 4:11). Our prayers are directed to God the Father in the name of His Son Jesus (John 15:16). God the Father is described as the One who sent the Son into the world for the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 3:25; 1 John 4:10). Some have described God the Father as the member of the Godhead who orchestrated the plan to save humanity, the mind behind the scheme of redemption (John 3:16). Jesus often described Himself as being sent by the Father and that He came to do His Father’s will (John 3:17; 5:23; 6:29; 6:57; etc.). Finally, one day Jesus will deliver the kingdom (i.e., the church) up to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
God the Son
Jesus the Christ is presented to readers of Scripture as the Son of God (Mark 1:1; Romans 1:1-4). Jesus, God the Son, is the one who came into the world to die for our sins (Galatians 4:4-5; Matthew 26:28). Though Jesus emptied Himself and became a human (Philippians 2:5-11), the Bible still describes Him as being equal with God (John 1:1-4; Hebrews 1:1-3). It is important to see that Jesus is as much God as God the Father and not any less. He, too, is mentioned as being responsible for creation (Colossians 1:15-17). While many are familiar with the humanity of Jesus, we must remain impressed with His deity and the fullness of God in Him (Colossians 2:9). Jesus was able to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7), read minds (John 2:24-25) and rise from the dead (John 10:18) because He is God (John 20:28). God the Son is the One Who will judge us in the last day (John 5:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:10), and it is through His name that we are saved (Acts 4:12).
God the Holy Spirit
The Bible tells us that the Spirit of God was present at creation (Genesis 1:1-2). Elihu rightly described himself as being created by God’s Spirit (Job 33:4). The men who wrote the Bible were directed by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21) as He gave them the words to write (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:13). He is called God, just like the Father and the Son (Acts 5:3-4). The Holy Spirit was possessed in a miraculous measure by some in the first-century church of God.
Much more could be said about the one God and the triune nature He possesses. We should study each of the members of the trinity individually and collectively. We need to appreciate Their distinct roles but also not make more of Their distinctions than the Bible does. We are baptized into the Godhead (Matthew 28:19), and we are in a close relationship with each of Them as we walk in the light (2 Corinthians 13:14). Praise God for God!
[Editor’s Note: It helps me to think in these terms: one God (Godhead) but three persons and one humanity but billions of persons. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
A Sobering Thought
It is a sobering thought that in His death, Christ achieved more than all others achieved in their lives! He has conquered more hearts, been more loved and achieved more fame than any emperor, king, queen or president ever did! He split history into A.D. and B.C. His influence on civilization worldwide is undeniable. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but Christ Jesus made the moon that he walked on! He is King of kings and Lord of lords – the eternal Sovereign of an unending kingdom. Truly He is Lord!
The word, “Lord” in the Greek, is “kurios,” and carries with it the idea of supreme authority. It is often overlooked, through our misunderstanding of the deeper meaning in the title, “Lord.” Now, “lord” can mean, as in Matthew 27:63, simply a respectful, “sir,” as when the false witnesses were brought before the Sanhedrin at the trial of Jesus or as Paul used it in Philippians 2:10-11. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Here Paul leaves no doubt as to the divine context of the title. In Revelation 19:16, Christ is referred to as, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” This title indicates a ruler of prestige. Common in the Middle East for centuries, it was a title fitting for Jesus the Messiah, King of Israel, the Christ.
The Roman Emperor was often referred to as kurios Caesar, reflecting not just his earthly authority, but also the supposed god among us that he claimed to be. In the Greek, the Lord Jesus Christ reads as “Kýrillos Iisoús Christós,” declaring His right to rule as Savior and as the anointed one of God. This name carries with it authority and declares at once His complete victory over the powers of darkness. In His early life, as Jesus of Nazareth, He showed His compassion and mercy. In His mission as the Anointed One, He took away the power of sin over mankind, and in His resurrection and ascension, Jesus took His rightful place as Lord over all.
Christ’s death matters, for through it, we can be assured that (1) the price of our sin is paid in full, and (2), we are valued more than we could have ever imagined. His life matters, for by His example (that we must follow, Matthew 4:19), we learn to behave in a manner pleasing to God. The wisdom of Christ reveals much about our world and indeed the world to come. He promised to give us a life with purpose. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). His reign matters – remember, we are commanded to maintain His church and cooperate with God’s kingdom in the here and now. Why do I say cooperate? Well, we have a choice to obey through our love for Him or, like Judas, betray our Lord for our own selfish desires. Other lords, such as Caesar, maintained their empire through the application of terror. Christ’s kingdom is properly maintained when we apply His charge to our lives through our love for Him. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If our love for him is real, then our service to Him will be what we desire above all else. When we face our precious Lord at the end of time, it will be our greatest desire to hear Him say, “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Our question to ourselves must be, “Where do I fit in this story?” Our lives are busy, but our duty is clear. In the end, as loyal and loving Christians, we should have the same desire as the apostle John in Revelation 22:20, when he exclaimed, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” He is the loving Creator, God in the form of Man. He broke the power of sin and Satan over us with His selfless love. Will you call Him your Lord or reject Him? The choice is yours.