Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Doctrine of the Trinity-Part 10

After looking at the following:

I) That there are 3 persons (Part 5 & 6)
II) They are all called God (Part 7 & 8)
III) There is One God (Part 9)

We now come to the Fourth proposition:

IV) They must all be God

The natural conclusion, regardless of its difficulty to understand/comprehend, is that the doctrine of the Trinity must be true. There are also verses when seen together that show the Trinity such as:

o Acts 3:26 & 1 Thes 1:9-10 - Father Raised the Son
o Jn 2:19-21 Jesus says He raised Himself
o Rom 8:11 - HS raised Jesus
o Acts 17:31 - God raised Christ

It is not the obviousness of the Trinity that sends people off in search of a different answer it is, in my opinion, our arrogance as finite beings in thinking we must all be able to comprehend all that God does and says. We must understand that God has communicated His attributes in a manner that can be clearly seen in scripture and as His people we need to recognize that and believe the word of God. Not because we have it all figured out but because it is just that, the word of God.

Of course for the unbelieving world who are blinded by sin and dead they will not see this but that is not an excuse for professing believers. The doctrine of the Trinity is a litmus test for fellowship between believers. Mind you I said between those that profess Christ, not to become a believer. As was stated early on the issue is with those that simply and forthrightly deny the doctrine of the Trinity. One who denies the Trinity is not a child of God since the “g”od they would claim to worship is not the same one true believers worship, as defined by His word. Again, I would differentiate between one who is struggling to learn and see the truth of the Trinity and one that denies it and especially one that teaches against it

The following is a chart that lists some of the verse already given and what they speak to:

Once we see that the Trinity is true we need to understand how it functions as this seems to be where we may claim the truth of the doctrine of the Trinity but then misrepresent it’s working.

There are distinctions between the three persons of the Trinity. There is an ordering of activities of the Trinity that is sometimes referred to as the “economy of the Trinity”. Whcih refers to the differing ways, or activities , of the three persons of the Trinity

Such as:
o It was God the Father who spoke the creative words to bring the universe into being

o It was God the Son who carried out the creative decrees (John 1:3)

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

o The Holy Spirit was active in a different way as He was seen as “hovering” or “moving” over the face of the waters in Gen 1:2

“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
It needs to be remembered that because the three persons have differing activities this does not take away from their equality. An issue mankind has a penchant for as we so often equate ones job or activity with worth or equality.

In the act of redemption there were differing acts as well:

o God the Father planned the redemption and sent the Son (John 3:16; Gal 4:4; Eph 1:9-10)

“"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,” ~ Gal 4:4

“ making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” ~ Eph 1:9-10

o The Son obeyed and accomplished the redemption for us (John 6:38; Heb 10:5-7)

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” ~ John 6:38

“Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'” ~ Heb 10:5-7
o The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son to guide and to bring about regeneration or new spiritual life (John 14:26; John 3:5-8)

“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 have said to you.” ~ John 14:26

“Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." ~  Jn 3:5-8

These differing roles last for eternity (1 Cor 15:28) but the three are still coequal for eternity in being

“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.”
Thus they are equal in being but subordinate in role. Again, existing in eternity past (Eph 1:3-4) as an example of the relationship between the Father and Son in the past.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love”

So why does this all matter

1) It affects or worship

Keep in mind that worship is not simply what we do one day a week but what we are to do with all our being, in all that we do (1 Cor 10:31)

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Also, we are called to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."”

To worship other than the true God is to worship a false God and thus not to truly worship at all. Thus, ones view of the Trinity will affect not only how we worship but who we worship and who we worship with. How we view God also affects our worship since it affects how we decide to interpret scripture, by our understanding/comprehension or by God’s revelation. When truth is lost so is true worship

2) It affects our understanding and proclamation of the Gospel

The Gospel is how God saves men through Christ unto Himself. Change your view of God and you do not have the same Gospel, you do not have the Gospel at all. You will not have a biblical Christ that can save. The God that provides a savior is the triune God of scripture. To define God any other way is to have no God.

3) It affects the rest of our doctrine

To deny the Trinity leads to denying other core beliefs because if one is willing to deny what is clearly taught because it does not make sense it will make it that much easier to change any other doctrine that seems difficult.

We need to be sure that we understand the importance of the Trinity, the cults do. That is why they see it as so important to combat it. Even to the point that the Mormons’ have co-opted the terms. You can speak to Mormon today and they will say they hold to the Trinity, at least those I have talked to have spoken this way. However words have meaning and theirs are unbiblical. One does not need to know how they define God as much as we need to know how we do so.

One proof that the Doctrine of the Trinity is taken lightly today is that people would even have a serious conversation as to whether the Mormon’s are our bother in Christ or not. If you were to ask most professing believers on the street they would not deny them being called Christians.  Thus showing not only their lack of understanding of Mormonism but also of the Trinity.

What we believe about God goes farther than Him being the ultimate being but goes into all that He has revealed through His word. To simply seek for unity around “Christ” without defining Christ is folly. Understanding/apprehending the Trinity from a biblical perspective is part of knowing God and thus Christ. One does not need to understand the Trinity to be redeemed but one that is redeemed will not deny the God that saves and thus will not deny the Trinity.

Let us worship God in all we do and that includes in our understanding of Him.

Doctrine of the Trinity Series:

Sermon Series on The Doctrine of the Trinity:  Part 1   and   Part 2

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

(all verses used are from the ESV unless stated otherwise)

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