FIRST Thoughts

The Bible reminds us often that God's ways are far above our ways. As believers, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5) and we remain incapable in the present of understanding all there is to know about God. That is why He is God and we are not.

God has revealed what every person in this world needs to know to acknowledge and relate to Him as God, but it is humanly impossible to contain God.

One of those subjects that is difficult to comprehend is the Triune God; The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity, as this doctrine is known, is seen throughout the Bible even though the term is not found specifically in the pages of scripture.

For that reason, many have denied this foundational truth altogether to their own detriment.

I'm not able or equipped to fully explain this biblical principle that is foundational to one's faith but that in no way causes me to dismiss its truth. There are some ways that we can better understand who God is, what God does and possibly even why, at least in some applications through better understanding the doctrine of the Triune God.

Elmer Towns comments on this subject with the following, "The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each distinguishable from the other, yet everything that is true about God is true about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity states that God exists in unity and yet exists in three eternal Persons. The members of the Trinity are equal in nature and distinct in Person."

Towns continues, "The Father is the head or fount of deity, the Son is the revealer of deity, and Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, is the agent that usually carries out the work of deity. In scripture, one Person of the Trinity seems to perform the entire process (Isaiah 6:3-9; John 12:37-41; Acts 28:25-26)."

Records indicate that the oldest or earliest identification of the Trinity is the Athanasian Creed written about A.D. 250 which states, "We worship one God, in trinity, and trinity is unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance." end

That creed expresses the truth of the Trinity even though it may not fully explain the doctrine. Hence the need for faith in what God has revealed and what we do understand.

Robert Dick comments on the Trinity, "While there is only one divine nature of God, there are three persons called the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who possess, not a similar, but the same numerical essence, and the distinction between them is not merely nominal, but real."

I have heard and many have used the different characteristics of water to illustrate the Trinity, particularly that water may be seen as ice, liquid, and vapor. The problem with that approach is you lose the distinction of each Person of God in the process. God is separate in ministry and one in nature without tension. Each exists in perfect harmony with the other.

To give you an example of the Trinity in the Bible that is easily overlooked is the passage in Numbers 6:24-26 which has been made more familiar in recent months by the song, 'The Blessing'. The basis for that song points to the daily ministry of the Trinity. The verses read as follows, "The Lord bless you, and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." Three separate benefits contained in one blessing from One God manifested in three Persons.

While the former is an Old Testament reference to the Trinity, there are others in the New Testament, particularly the record of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Upon Jesus' coming up out of the water, the Bible records the following words in Matthew 3:16-17, "As Jesus, God's Son was raised from the water, the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and the Father responded with, 'this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.'"

All three were present in one place in separate form and yet One in person and purpose.

I recognize that some still refute this foundational doctrine of faith along with others like the virgin birth but that does not in any way change the truth that God is seen as three in form and remains One in function.

Augustine is credited with these words, "if you try and explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind, if you deny the Trinity, you will lose your soul."

There remain many important principles that require faith that not only believes in spite of the evidence but believes in spite of the consequence.

If these principles were easy to embrace, then everyone would be on board. These principles are not easy. By contrast, they're difficult to understand and impossible to fully explain, yet faith remains essential.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1)." Truth is one day faith will be replaced with perfect knowledge and understanding. Until then, the believing sinner rests on the promise of God the Father as revealed through the Person of God the Son through the presence and provision of God, the Holy Spirit in faith.

If He (God) is not sufficient now, nothing else will long satisfy!

Blessings of grace for today and guidance for tomorrow--

Pstr K

Psalm 27:1

(ref. Elmer Towns--Concise Bible Doctrine--pgs 93-94)