The evidence for the Trinity is throughout the bible. Here is another example:
John 16:32, Jesus said, “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.”
A common argument against the Trinity is that God is only person; God is alone. Jesus declares just the opposite. Jesus is not alone. The Father is with him. Think with me, if God is only one person who manifests himself in different forms (as Father, later as Son, and still later as Spirit) then we must affirm that God is alone. If that is true, then Jesus was wrong. The Father is not with him, Jesus is left alone, he has only himself.
Praise God for the Trinity; three in One. We see the great blessing of the Trinity in their perfection relationship of love and joy. When every other person had abandoned the Son, he took heart. He was not alone. There was another person with him. The Father is not always the Son. No, the Bible affirms the Father is always with the Son.
Ephesians 2:18 is one of the clearest affirmations of the Trinity. It is quite difficult to understand one person simultaneously filling these three roles. We affirm what the Bible teaches: God in three persons, God in perfect unity.
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father (Eph 2:18 ESV).
Our first question is who is the “him” through whom we have access? He is the crucified preacher (see verses 16 and 17). This is God the Son. The Spirit and the Father are obvious. Notice how the three persons of the Trinity work together in unity.
The Son provides access to the Father. Jesus gives us forgiveness, righteousness, and the rights of a first-born son. We receive these gifts by faith. The Spirit is the means by which we have access to the Father who is spirit. Our worship, our enjoyment of God, must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The Son contributes his person to us, the Spirit contributes his person to us, and all of this is for access to the Father. The Father’s Son and the Father’s Spirit adamantly want us to know and be with the Father. Looking back into Ephesians 1, we see that the Father has planned this very thing (Eph 1:4-5). The persons of the Godhead are not separate phases of redemption existing individually or apart from the others. The persons of the Godhead are simultaneously existing in perfect unity and inviting us to come and be reconciled to God.
Hebrews 1:1-4, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to the angels as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs” (ESV).
Here we see these basic facts about two of the three persons of the Trinity:
- The Father speaks to us by his Son.
- The Father appointed his Son as the heir of all things.
- The Father created the world through his Son.
- The Son is the radiance of the Father’s glory.
- The Son is exactly like the Father.
- The Son has sovereign rights over creation.
- The Son is now sitting at the right hand of the Father.
God is not one person who is constantly shifting between two or three forms; one moment the Father, the next moment the Son, then back to the Father, then on to the Spirit. God is one. God is one perfect unity of three persons who are each fully God. Let’s be in awe and wonder over the God who is utterly different from us and infinitely higher than us.
We continue in our pursuit of a biblical understanding of the Trinity. Today, we look at 1 Corinthians 15:26-28.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when it says, “all things are put in subjection”, it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Here, in 1 Corinthians 15:26-28, we see a radical distinction between the persons titled God and the Son. To read this passage as if there is no distinction between the Father and the Son is nearly impossible to defend. The read this passage as if the two persons mentioned here do not exist simultaneously is also nearly impossible to defend. The weight of this passage (along with 1 Corinthians 2:10-16), affirming the doctrine of the doctrine of the Trinity, is substantial.
What do we gain for this truth? We live in a day when the Son is exercising his sovereign rule over a wayward creation. The day is coming, may it come soon, when all aspects of creation will be brought into the proper place of submission. We gain hope from this passage and a perspective on today. A better day is coming. Don’t be surprised by difficulty. Look to Christ and his rule over all. He can be trusted.
The one God exists as three persons in radical unity. Therefore, we see God’s revelation of himself emphasizing at one time the distinction of persons and at other times the unity of the one God. Here is a perfect example from Acts 5:
Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?'”
Acts 5:4, “You have not lied to men but to God.”
Stop there. The Holy Spirit is God.
Acts 5:9, “But Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?”
Stop there. Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the Spirit of the Lord.
Are they testing the Spirit who is the Lord? No. Here we see distinction. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord, or the Lord’s Spirit. There is a distinction of persons. In 5:19 we see a reference to “an angel of the Lord,” or the Lord’s angel. To read “Spirit of the Lord” as “Spirit who is the Lord” means we must also read “angel of the Lord” as “angel who is the Lord.” This is an impossible reading. The consistent reading of the full text of Scripture consistently reveals the oneness of God and the distinction of three persons.
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
For this Theology Thursday we are looking at the Trinity in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. One of the basic ways of demonstrating the reality of the Trinity is to prove the simultaneous existence, distinction, and unity of the three persons of the Trinity.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (ESV).
First, we see God (remember when the individual persons of the Trinity are mentioned, God is a reference to the Father). We see God brings unity to the various members of the church by uniting all believers together in Christ. The Father unites all Christians together in the Son. Thus, the Father is working to accomplish something in the Son. There is a distinction of persons.
Second, we see God putting his seal on the church. This seal is best understood as God’s Spirit given to each Christian as a guarantee of salvation. The Father unites Christians to the Son and the Father seals Christians by giving them the Holy Spirit. To deny the existence of the Trinity is to make these two verses meaningless or unintelligible. The affirmation of the Trinity calls us the Christian to test herself to see if she is experiencing these blessings.
Are you united to the Son by the Father?
Have you been sealed with the Spirit by the Father?