Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE TRINITY?
“HOLY... HOLY... HOLY! MERCIFUL AND MIGHTY! GOD IN THREE PERSONS,
Look at the words, “God in three Persons?” That’s the “Blessed Trinity.” Down through the centuries, the Christian church has doggedly held three individuals make up the Godhead, asserting that the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God. At the same time, the church also affirms these are NOT THREE SEPARATE GODS but one single God. “Three in one,” declares the Athanasian Creed (350 A.D.), “neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.”
Hard to understand? Perhaps, but that doesn’t keep Christians from believing it. Why? Because the Bible says so and sometimes in a single verse, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19 KJV).
Observe how all three are CO-EQUAL in the baptism formula. Since the FATHER IS GOD (no argument there), it would be the worst kind of blasphemy for the Lord Jesus Who said this, to place HIMSELF alongside the Holy Spirit and the Father—IF THEY WERE NOT EQUALS. Thus, in one verse, we have a statement so precise and conclusive that you wonder why anyone would question the Trinity or challenge it.
More than once the Jews picked up rocks to stone the Lord. They clearly understood His claim: “We are not stoning you for any of these (miracles),” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33 NIV).
As for the Holy Spirit being God, He is continually referred to as “the Spirit of God” (Matthew 3:16; Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11, etc.). Used throughout both Testaments, that title can only mean GOD’S OWN SPIRIT. I am not saying this is easy to understand, only that the Bible clearly insists God operates as a Trinity. Our salvation is definitely based on the working of the Trinity (1 Peter 1:2). So is any ministry (1 Cor.12:4-7).
EXPLAINING IT IS SOMETHING ELSE
Maybe you say, “Honestly, I can’t explain the Trinity—and I’m glad. If I could, that would make God too small.” I respect that. You are resting on your faith. But for myself, I want to understand as much as I can. You will see why in just a moment.
Admitting much is beyond my grasp, I am offering an explanation of the TRINITY that presses the limit of my understanding. Yet I stay within the boundary of our fundamental creeds.
I DON'T SEE THREE GODS
That is, when we get to heaven, I don’t expect to see THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE presiding as God. Yet while I’m on earth, I do find God revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with all three functioning simultaneously. Therefore, I conclude the TRINITY to be how our ONE GOD deals with us while we are on the earth. What am I saying? The TRINITY is a space/time program only.
What does that mean? The TRINITY is the one God dealing with man on the earth by functioning in THREE DIFFERENT ROLES. Hang on to that word ‘ROLES.’ By operating in different ROLES, the Son and the Spirit can appear as different personalities and do no violence to the Godhead. But how can ONE GOD work in three different roles SIMULTANEOUSLY?
Webster defines OMNIPRESENT as “present in all places at the same time.” One of the attributes fundamental Christians ascribe to God is OMNIPRESENCE. See what that unlocks? God can be PRESENT to the Son, and as the Holy Spirit at the same time. Consequently, at Jesus’ baptism, we find the SON emerging from the water, the HOLY SPIRIT descending like a dove, and the Father revealing Himself via the VOICE FROM HEAVEN—all at the same time (Matthew. 3:16,17). Observe the ONE GOD performing three ROLES simultaneously. Not difficult when you are OMNIPRESENT. It's easy when you can be in ALL places at the same time.
GOD AS A MAN
God is Spirit (John 4:24). But so are we for that matter. When you place a spirit being in a body and limit him to the brain that comes with his body, you cut him off from conscious awareness of God. A man limited to the five senses of his body, has no way to explore the spirit world. He only knows what he can touch, taste, smell, see, and hear. That’s what makes FAITH necessary. Faith is needed to bridge the gap between flesh and spirit.
This is why Jesus had to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). The baby Jesus had to grow up like any man, even though (in identity) He was God! Jesus is God operating in the ROLE of the Son. He is God living BY FAITH, just as He asked us to do.
RETURNING AS A MAN
Jesus came as a MAN, did His job as a MAN, died as a MAN, and is coming back as a MAN. Though faithful in everything required of Him, He left this world in disgrace (Galatians 3:13). But God doesn't intend for it to always be that way. As a man, Jesus earned a super reward! And His reward is to return as the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS (earthly titles by the way) and inherit the whole world as His kingdom (Revelation 11:15).
But He’s coming back AS A MAN! That’s clear enough since He’s returning in the glory of HIS FATHER (Matthew 16:27)! See, He’s still in the SON ROLE! He’s going to rule the world AS A MAN, and you and I are going to be “JOINT HEIRS” with Him (Romans 8:17). But how can GOD be an “heir?” He can’t unless He returns in the role of the Son.
IS THE SON ROLE ETERNAL?
Does Jesus continue in the SON ROLE after the earthly program ends and you and I are with God in eternity? Of course not. Do we expect to see three Gods in heaven? I don’t think any sincere Christian thinks that. Consider this clue:
“In the beginning was the WORD” (John 1:1). The Word is Jesus. However, the word “BEGINNING” is a finite term. Eternal things have neither beginnings nor endings. Even the phrase, “I am Alpha and Omega” is finite (Revelation 1:8). Yes, Jesus was present “in the beginning,” BUT AS GOD. That’s when God inaugurated the SON ROLE.
If a false teacher could convince you that Jesus is NOT GOD as He claimed, but lied, all else the Lord said is open to question. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). If one should ever shake you, believe me, everything is tied up with the Deity of Christ. That’s why I say it is DANGEROUS AND DEADLY not to have a good solid explanation for the Trinity.
Now consider 1 Corinthians 15:24, “Then comes THE END, when He delivers up the kingdom to God.” Following that it says, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (Father) that put all things under Him, that God may be ALL IN ALL” (1 Corinthians 15:28 KJV).
Are these verses saying the SON ROLE is just for the earthly program and that’s all? Now we have reached the limit of my understanding. I urge you to check the references and let the Holy Spirit give you His answer to that question. May this article be a help to you so you can give an . . .
EXPLANATION FOR THE TRINITY!
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2022 Personal Christianity
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