The Triune Lord
Natural Knowledge is the general revelation of God that is available to all through what God has created. It reveals that God exists and demonstrates for us his divine attributes.
Revealed Knowledge is the special revelation of God that reveals that reveals who God is, what he expects of us, and what he has done for us. This revelation is found in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth and the words of the Bible.
From the words of the Bible and through the revelation of God through the person of Jesus of Nazareth, God is revealed to be Triune; in other words, the one true God is Father and Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there is only one God and he exists in three distinct persons.
There is only one God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
Isaiah 44:6-9 – “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. 7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”
1 Corinthians 8:4 – “There is no God but one.”
But doesn’t the Bible indicate that there are other gods?
Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”
But what does the Bible say about these other gods?
Jeremiah 2:11 – “Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.”
Jeremiah 10:5 – “Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”
1 Corinthians 8:4-6 – “Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
These so-called gods are no-gods!
God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
All three persons of the Trinity were revealed in Jesus’ baptism.
Matthew 3:16-17 – “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
There are three persons, yet only one name in which disciples are baptized.
Matthew 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The three persons of the Trinity are named together in Paul’s closing benediction to the Church of Corinth.
2 Corinthians 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.”
The Father is called God in Scripture.
Ephesians 4:4-6 – “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Romans 1:7 – “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus is called God in Scripture.
Romans 9:4-5 – “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”
John 1:1-3, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 5:16-18 – “And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.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.”
Colossians 1:15-20 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
The Holy Spirit is called God in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19 – “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?… Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”
Acts 5:3-4 – “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
Summary of the Doctrine of the Trinity
Scripture reveals that there is one God, yet in Scripture we also see that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. All three persons are equally and fully divine. This teaching is called the Doctrine of the Trinity (three in unity).
To express the oneness of the Trinity the Church has adopted the language of substance, essence, or nature. God is one in substance (deity or divinity). All three persons share in this one divine substance. Again, each person is equally and fully God.
To express the threeness of the Trinity the Church has adopted the language of persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not different Gods. Instead they are distinct and separately identifiable individuals each with their own conscious and relational personhood.
There is one God (one divine substance/essence/nature) in three persons.
The language can be confusing or complicated to discern at times because God can at times be used to refer to the Trinity and other times be used to refer to the Father.
Why does this matter?
The one true God is the Triune Lord. To worship any other God is to worship a false God.
The one true God is the Triune Lord. To confess any other God is to speak a lie.
God has revealed himself as the Triune Lord. To know God is to know the Triune Lord.
Salvation matters. The Triune Lord saves people from sin, death, and the Devil. All three persons of the Trinity work in our salvation. The Father sent the Son into the World. The human nature of the Son was conceived by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. The Father told the Son what to speak and to do during the Son’s earthly ministry. The Holy Spirit empowered the Son during his earthly ministry. The Son died for the sins of mankind. The Father accepted the Son’s sacrifice as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. All three persons were at work in the resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit works faith in the hearts of men so that they might believe and receive the benefits of the Son’s saving work.
The Trinity is necessary in prayer, since we pray to the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Of course, prayers can also be addressed to each person or to all three persons at the same time.
All three persons are Eternal.
Exodus 3:14 – “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Psalm 90:2 – “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Revelation 22:13 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
All three persons are Omnipotent (All-Powerful).
Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
Luke 1:37 – “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
All three persons are Omnipresent (Ever-Present).
Jeremiah 23:24 – “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?”
Psalm 139:7-12 – “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
All three persons are Omniscient (All-Knowing).
1 John 3:20 – “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
All three persons are Love.
1 John 4:8 – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
All three persons are Good.
Psalm 92:15 – ““The LORD is upright; He is my Rock, and in Him there is no unrighteousness.”
Mark 10:18 – “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”