Article 2 | God

ARTICLE

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

  • God the Father
    • God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
    • Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
  • God the Son
    • Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
    • Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
  • God the Holy Spirit
    • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
    • Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

VERSES REVEALING THE BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE TRINITY

The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34)

  • The Baptist Faith & Message relays our Trinitarian understanding of God as follows: The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
  • The baptism of Jesus is one of the few events in the life & ministry of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels.  This should testify of its doctrinal significance, especially regarding our understanding of the Trinity.
  • In any one of the narratives, notice the distinction of each person of the Trinity: the Father speaks from Heaven, Jesus is on earth being baptized, & the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove.

OT Quotation about David (Matthew 22:41-45; Mark 12:35-37)

  • In one of Jesus’ explanations of the Trinity, Jesus, the Son of God, is teaching in the Temple. He quotes David from Psalm 110.  He offers the question to the scribes, “How can the Messiah (identified as “Lord,” which they would have understood as God) be a descendent of David & yet be God?”
  • Can you see the Trinity laid out in this passage?  David is filled with the Holy Spirit as he is writing Psalm 110.  God the Father (“the Lord”) says to Jesus, God the Son (“my Lord”), “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”  This Messianic prophecy from David foresees the resurrected Son of God seated at the right hand of God the Father until the time comes for Jesus to return & gather His bride to Himself & all of God’s enemies will bow in submission (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 4, 7).

The Conception of Jesus

  • Luke 1:35 | And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
  • Because Luke spoke to Mary while collecting information for his Gospel account, she was able to convey the prophecy which explained Jesus’ miraculous conception.
  • Notice the three distinct persons of the Trinity present
    • “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” >> Mary would be filled with the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would, as He does in every situation, fulfill the will & purpose of God within Mary.
    • The “power of the Most High will overshadow you” >> the “Most High” is a name that would have been very familiar to Mary, as this was one of the names of God revealed in the Old Testament.  “El Elyon” (Hebrew for “Most High God”) was the sovereign Creator who ruled over all & had no limitations.  This particular name of God was used by Nebuchadnezzar when He saw that Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego were alive in the fiery furnace.  The point?  God can create & sustain life wherever He wants to.
    • The “child to be born…the Son of God” >> Jesus, God’s Son, would take physical form within the womb of Mary.

Jesus Declared as God

  • John
    • 1:18 | No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. >> God is Spirit & no one has ever seen Him, until now that Jesus has appeared.  He has come from the Father’s side & now, in Jesus, we can see God.
    • 5:18 | This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. >> Jesus never claimed to just be a prophet or a good teacher, but instead everyone around Jesus understood that He was claiming to be God.
    • 10:30 | I and the Father are one. >> This clear statement by Jesus shows the indistinguishable unity of character & nature between God the Father & God the Son.
  • Jude 1:24 | …to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. >> Notice in this benediction by Jude, who was Jesus’ half-brother, there is a clear distinction, yet unity between “God” (God the Father) & “Jesus Christ” who is “our Lord.”  The use of the word Lord for Jesus makes clear that Jude understood Him to be God.

Father, Son & Spirit at work in the Salvation & Life of Christians

  • John 14:26 | 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. >> God the Father will send God the Holy Spirit to remind the disciples of all the words that God the Son, Jesus, spoke to them.
  • 2 Corinthians
    • 1:21-22 | And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, [22] and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. >> At salvation, God the Father unites us spiritually with God the Son.  As a testimony of this unity, God the Father sends God the Spirit.  This is a “guarantee” of our salvation.
    • 13:14 | The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. >> In a Trinitarian benediction at the end of his letter to the repentant church in Corinth, Paul wants them to understand the provisions of the Godhead towards the child of God.  We receive grace through our relationship with the Lord Jesus, love from God the Father & a communion or daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
  • Ephesians 2:18 | For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father >> Because we are united to the Lord Jesus, when we walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit we are actually living in the presence of the Father.  Through the ministry of Jesus & the Holy Spirit, Christians can now spiritually enter into the Most Holy Place, the presence of God, which the writer to the Hebrews calls the “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).
  • Titus 3:4-7 | [4] But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, [5] he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, [6] whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7] so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. >> In verse 4, God the Father is call “God our Savior” who sent Jesus, who is called God’s “goodness & loving kindness.” Our faith in what Jesus has done leads to our salvation.  But that happened thousands of years ago.  How do we experience union with Him now?  Paul tells us that now, all these years later, the finished work of Jesus is implemented by the “Holy Spirit” who works within us “regeneration & renewal.”  These heavenly treasures are received only by those who put their faith in “Jesus Christ [the] Savior.”
  • Hebrews 2:3-4 | how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, [4] while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. >> Notice that this “great salvation” was “declared at first by” the Lord Jesus, God the Son.  However, He was not the only one declaring it.  Verse 4 tells us that God the Father also bore witness as He sent God the Holy Spirit to perform “signs…wonders…[&] miracles” by the Holy Spirit, who also gives “gifts…distributed according to [the Father’s] will.”

Plural of Majesty or the Godhead speaking as one?

  • Many Anti-Trinitarians explain these verses by saying that God is using a figure of speech called “The Plural of Majesty,” which is also called the “Royal We.”
  • Consider these examples:
    • Genesis 1:26 | Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
    • Isaiah 6:8 | And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
  • The problem is that the “Royal We” did not exist until the 4th Century A.D.  It was made most famous by Queen Victoria when a vulgar joke was told in her presence. When she replied, “we are not amused”, she clearly intended to speak on behalf of the other ladies whom she knew were equally offended.

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