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Who is God?

Who is God?

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Uncovering what the Bible says about the doctrine of God gives us an excellent example of how to study the Bible. That’s because in order to rightly understand what the Bible says about God you can’t just rely on a single or even a few verses. You must consider a large number of relevant verses. Some of the verses seem to contradict each other at first glance but with effort all of the verses can be reconciled resulting in a better understanding of what God wants us to know about Him.

Remember, last week we examined that the Bible is our final court of appeals for Christian doctrine. So we are not free to define God however we want even if our personal definition is simpler to understand.

What’s at risk is the very God we worship. If we fail to understand God the way He wants to be understood we risk worshipping a God that’s not even real.

Here’s what we believe…

We believe in one God existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe the persons of the Godhead to be co-equal and eternal (Matthew 28:19; John 3:16; Philippians 2:5-8; Acts 5:3-4).

This statement has two parts. The first gives us the definition of God and the second describes the essential nature of the Godhead.

1) The Definition of God…

We believe in one God existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Lets break this down into three parts: 1) There is one God 2) God exists in three persons and 3) Each person of the Trinity is fully God.

1) There is one God

We don’t worship three God’s, only one. Deuteronomy 6:4 says…

Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

And James 2:19 says…

19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.

There are dozens of other places that we could turn to, but you get the idea. The Bible teaches that there is only one God.

But this one God…

2) God exists in three persons

Human language is inadequate to fully describe God but we use the word “persons” to emphasize what the Bible teaches about the distinctiveness of the persons of the Trinity. The word Trinity isn’t in the Bible but it is nevertheless a good way of describing what the Bible teaches.

The three persons of the Trinity are distinct but not separate.

The person of the Father is not the Son. John 1:1-2

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

The person of the Son is not the Father. 1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous one.

The person of the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. John 14:26…

I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

And there are many other verses we could use to show that the three persons of the Trinity are distinct.

The three persons are distinct, but they are not separate.

There is one God. God exists in three persons.

Each is distinct from the other but never acts independently. They are one in nature and purpose.

Now, sometimes we use analogies to help us understand the trinity but I don’t believe they are all that helpful. Nevertheless I’ll mention a few because they are so often used.

Maybe you’ve heard the three leaf clover analogy or “the egg” analogy but these imply that God has three separate parts. We don’t believe that. We believe that each of the three persons of the Trinity is fully God. For example, God the Father is fully God, not just a part of God. More on that in a minute.

Or maybe you’ve heard the three forms of water analogy. God is like water that can become liquid, steam, or ice. But this isn’t a good analogy either because God is Father, Son and Holy Spirt all at the same time. He doesn’t just put on a different hat depending upon who He wants to be.

There is one God and at the same time He exists in three persons.

So there really isn’t a good analogy we can use to describe God and it’s interesting that even though the Bible uses metaphors and analogies to teach about God’s character, it never uses an analogy to teach about the Trinity.

All efforts to describe God with an analogy fall short because God is beyond our comprehension. And as soon as we try rest assured we probably just described a god that doesn’t exist.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says…

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.

So, we don’t know God fully now, but we can understand what He has revealed about Himself. And He reveals that first there is one God who, second, exists in three distinct persons and…

3) Each person of the Trinity is fully God

Our statement of Faith says…

We believe in one God existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

So, the Father is fully God and many places teach us this. One is found in 1 Corinthians 8:6…

6…yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from him, and we exist for him.

So, the Father is fully God and the Son is fully God.

Continuing on in the same verse…

…yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from him, and we exist for him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through him, and we exist through him.

Both the Son and the Father are fully God. Read also John 1:1-4…

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life and that life was the light of men.

The Word, also called Jesus Christ, is fully God which is why in John 20:28 Thomas responded to to Jesus’ invitation to touch his wounds called Him, “My Lord and my God!”

John 3:16, which we know so well, assumes Jesus is God…

16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Who is saved? Those that believe in God, those that believe in the Son who is God.

The Father is fully God. The Son is fully God and so is the Holy Spirit.

The Bible places The Holy Spirit on an equal level with the Father and Son.

Matthew 28:19 says…

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,

In the name of who? In the name of God and all three persons are stated.

In Acts 5:3 Ananias is said to have lied to the Holy Spirit…

3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 … You have not lied to people but to God.”

John in chapter 16:13 describes the Holy Spirt doing things only God does…

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

And there are many more verses that we could turn to to show that the Holy Spirit is fully God.

He has the attributes of personhood, performs the actions of persons, and has personal relationships. He has insight (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). He knows things, which requires an intellect (Romans 8:27). He has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11). He convicts of sin (John 16:8). He performs miracles (Acts 8:39). He guides (John 16:13). He intercedes between persons (Romans 8:26). He is to be obeyed (Acts 10:19-20). He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), blasphemed (Matthew 12:31), even insulted (Hebrews 10:29).

So, the the Father is fully God. The Son is fully God and the Holy Spirit is fully God. That’s what we believe.

1) God is three persons.

2) Each person is fully God.

3) There is one God.

If we deny any of these in order to make God more “understandable” then we deny what Scripture teaches.

For example, it might be easier to think of God as three separate Gods but that denies the Bibles teaching there is only one. It might make more sense to describe the Holy Spirt as only a power but then we have to reject or explain away all of the verses with the Holy Spirit doing things only God can do.

Ok. We believe God is three persons, each person is fully God, and there is one God.

Now, what is…

2) The Essential Nature of the Godhead

Our statement says…

We believe the persons of the Godhead to be co-equal and eternal.

“Godhead” is a word that means deity or divine nature. The Godhead is the essence of the divine being, it refers to God’s essential nature. The three persons of the “Godhead” are at least two things: they are co-equal and eternal.

1) They are “Co-equal”

They are “co-equal” in terms of their qualities. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all omnipresent, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc.

Colossians 2:9 says

9 For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,

So, everything that makes up God the Father, his essential essence is also found in the person of Jesus Christ, and vice versa, and is also true of the Holy Sprit, since He too is fully God as we already showed.

All of God’s attributes are found in all three persons. God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Father are all equally and infinitely wise. They are all infinitely holy, infinitely loving, and so forth.

In addition…

2) They are equally “Eternal”

Psalm 90:2 says…

Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.

Because all three members of the Trinity are equally and fully divine then it makes sense for all three to have also existed from all eternity.

We see this in the very first pages of the Bible. Genesis 1:2 says

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.

God the Sprit was there from the very beginning, and so was God the Father, and so was God the Son. John 1:1-2 says…

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

So, we believe…

We believe in one God existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe the persons of the Godhead to be co-equal and eternal.

Why is this understanding so important? Because it’s how God reveals Himself in the Bible and if we want to know Him we have to know Him in the way He reveals Himself.

The Mormon way doesn’t work because they don’t believe in the eternity of God. They believe Jesus was created and is just one of many sons of God. Lucifer is his brother. They even believe God the Father was once a mortal from another planet who worked his way up to become a god.

False religions may use the same terms we do but they define them differently so the object of their worship is different than ours. We don’t worship the same God.

God wants us to both know who He is and to experience Him as He reveals Himself to be.

The Puritan theologian John Owen said,

“The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our Communion with God…”

If we, either intentionally or unintentionally, dispense with the doctrine of the Trinity, then we cannot, in any Christian sense, know God.

The doctrine of the Trinity identifies who we worship, and how we should approach Him. We don’t approach Him irreverently like we we have Him all figured out.

Here’s what Isaiah said in 6:1-5…

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth. 4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Armies.

Isaiah probably didn’t understand the Trinity in the same way we do because we know so much more about the Son than He did. But what He did rightly understand made Him tremble. It made him reflect on how unworthy he was.

When we encounter the God of the Bible, the God who is holy, holy, holy we can’t help but be awestruck with amazement, wonder, humility, and a desire to worship.

The Bible teaches that there is one God who exists in three persons and and that each person is fully God. How this can be is beyond our full comprehension. But to knowingly deny any of these truths is to deny God himself. Instead, let us embrace who God reveals himself to be and grow in our awe and reverence of who He is.

Make Disciples Who Make Disciples

Make Disciples Who Make Disciples

Scripture

Scripture