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Tag Archives: the Trinity

The Clarity of the Trinity! (2 Corinthians 13:14)

I. The Doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught in the Bible!
Although the term “Trinity” is not used in the Bible (our Jehovah Witness friends are right about that), nevertheless the concept of the Trinity is there.

And for the Apostle Paul such an affirmation did not in any way contradict that revered SHEMA of the Hebrew people found in Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

The doctrine of the Trinity is a matter of progressive revelation (that is, God did not tell us all we needed to know about a particular doctrine in one installment).

There are many clear texts that show the oneness of God, the Person of the Father, the deity of the Lord Jesus and the deity of the Holy Spirit.

II. Each Member of the Godhead has various characteristics!
The LJC >> grace         God the Father >> love         The HS >> fellowship

III. We Should Bless One Another with a Trinitarian Blessing!

Why speak of God in general terms when He has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Paul delineates the Three in this blessing. Why should we not do the same?

Today’s Challenge: If indeed the God who exists is triune, then how should His threeness be shown in our prayers, discussions, and meditation? How Person-specific should we be when we speak of and to the Lord? Do you ever direct your prayer to God the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2020 in trinity

 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #20): Chapter 19- “Jesus’ Promise”

We are almost done with Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Chapter 19 is entitled JESUS’ PROMISE and subtitled “Who Is the Holy Spirit?”

Thielen’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit is orthodox. He gives examples of how we miss the Spirit in our churches, allowing ourselves to fall into church comas. The Holy Spirit (and, for that matter, the doctrine of the Trinity) is a mystery. But the Spirit is God’s empowering presence in the church, in the world, and in ourselves.

MY RESPONSE: My only challenge to this chapter is that Thielen could have pointed out Scripture that show the Holy Spirit’s deity and personality (such as Acts 5 and Ephesians 4). My Jehovah Witness friends will be quite happy with the description of the Spirit as “God empowering presence,” but Thielen means more. And I believe we should take seriously the possibility of developing a personal relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2019 in the holy spirit

 

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Some Thoughts on FRIENDSHIP — From an INTROVERT! (Part 2) THE TRINITY!

I’m an introvert. Technically I’m what they call an “expressive” introvert. But an introvert nonetheless. I’ve taken the Myers/Briggs, the Briggs and Stratton, and the Disc Personality tests. And I come out as an introvert.

The Lord has a great sense of humor — and this year it seems He’s going to have me write TWO books on FRIENDSHIPS.  That’s funny.

The God of the Bible is relational.  How do I know that?  First of all, the Bible clearly teaches the doctrine of the TRINITY.  God is three persons but one God.  Christians are not polytheists (we don’t believe in three gods), nor are they modalists (sometimes God is Father, sometimes Son, sometimes the Holy Spirit).  He is both three and one.  I know this doctrine drives our rationalist Jehovah Witnesses friends nuts, but that’s the testimony of Scripture.

There have always been relationships between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Forever.  There was never a time when they did not relate to one another in perfect love and fellowship.  But . . . here’s a wild question . . . what if this Triune God wishes to invite US into that circle of relationship?  This is not to imply that we somehow become deified.  No. But this thrice-relational God calls us into a relationship with Himself (“Himself” being an awkward way to refer to each member of the Godhead).

Why would God do such a thing?  Why would He provide His Son as the substitute for us, dying on the cross to redeem us from our sins, so that we could have fellowship with Him?  Why would He do that?  Let’s be perfectly clear — it was not from any lack in God that He was lonely or He somehow needed us to complete Himself.  It was out of sheer mercy and love.

He invites us into relationship with Himself. Into that Trinitarian circle, not as equals by any stretch of the imagination, but as sons and daughters and brothers of the Lord Jesus! He creates, not because He had to create to be love, for there was always love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He creates to share His glory with His creation, to express His qualities through people made in His image, and to have an eternal relationship with each of us!  “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him!”, as Pastor John Piper puts it.

Biblical Christianity is primarily relational.  When it degenerates into empty ritual, meaningless religious motions, or trite traditions, the heart of God must break.

Forgive me, dear reader, but I’m going to ask you for something very specific. Would you pray for me and these two writing projects at least once a week over the next few months? If you agree to do this, you may let me know privately through my email (theoprof@bellsouth.net) or publicly in the comment section below. THANKS!

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in relationships

 

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How Should I Pray for . . . Others? (A Study of Colossians 1:9-14) Part 2

If prayer really accomplishes something — and we believe it does — why don’t we pray more for others around us? Could it be that part of their spiritual development is directly tied to our prayer lives? Is it possible that that person doesn’t grow because I don’t pray for them to grow?

We are considering Paul’s profound prayer in Colossian 1. There we read:

We have seen that Paul refers to each member of the Trinity as he prays for these believers.  I have often thought that we are too general as we pray to “God” or “Our Heavenly Father.”  The Father does certain things; the Spirit does certain things; and the Son does certain things.  Why not craft our prayers in terms of their ministries?

Notice that the broad term “God” is used in verse 9 (“we continually ask God . . .”) and in verse 10 (“growing in the knowledge of God”).  The term “Lord” is used in verse 10 (“so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord”).  But the specific term “Father” is used in verse 12 (“giving joyful thanks to the Father”).  The Father is also the referenced in verse 13, for He is the One who “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”  “The Spirit” is specifically referred to in verse 9 (“the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives”).  “The Son” is referred to in verse 13 where we read that we have been “brought . . . into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”  And the “in whom” refers back to the Son in verse 14: “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

I have found it a helpful practice over the years to be more Person-specific in my prayers.  The Father originated the plan of creation and salvation; the Son accomplishes redemption; the Spirit applies salvation to us.  It is the Spirit who illumines our minds to understand the Scriptures.  It is He, the Third Person of the Trinity, who brings conviction of sin to the unbeliever (as well as to the believer).

I’m sure you’ve heard someone publicly pray, “Heavenly Father, we thank You for dying on the cross for us . . .”  It wasn’t the Father who died!  It was the Son. I’m not suggesting that we should become hyper-critical about public prayers, holding up a sign that says “8.5” or some such nonsense.  But we ought to become more aware of the differences between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And pray in accordance with those differences.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2018 in prayer

 

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Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #7 The Truth of the Trinity!

The belief in one God eternally existent as three persons is taught in the Bible and should be embraced and acknowledged by all genuine Christians.  Explain the Trinity? We can’t even begin. We can only accept it—a mystery, disclosed in Scripture. It should be no surprise that the triune Being of God baffles our finite minds. We should be surprised, rather, if we could understand the nature of our Creator. “He would be a two-bit deity, not the fathomless Source of all reality.” (Vernon Grounds)

“God, to keep us sober, speaks sparingly of His essence.” (John Calvin)

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

“But the word ‘Trinity’ isn’t even in the Bible!” said the nicely dressed young Jehovah’s Witness who was standing on my front porch. Perhaps you’ve had the same thing happen to you. Why do we Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and does such a controversial belief really matter?

We believe in God’s unity or oneness and therefore reject any notion of more than one God in the universe. Christians are not polytheists (a belief in more than one God). But doesn’t the doctrine of the Trinity sound like a belief in three gods?

First of all, it must be said that we affirm the doctrine of the Trinity despite the fact that the term does not occur in the Bible. Other terms important to us do not occur in the Bible either, such as “theocracy” (government by God—a favorite term of Jehovah’s Witnesses, by the way), “theodicy” (a defense of God’s goodness in the face of evil’s reality) or “Sunday school” (we all know what that term means!). The issue is not whether the word itself appears in the Bible, but whether the concept is a biblical one.

The great scholar Tertullian coined the term “Trinity” to explain the biblical data that asserts God’s oneness (“unity”) and His plurality (“threeness”). What is the evidence of His “threeness”? Traditional references include Genesis 1:26 (“Let us make man in our image,” emphasis added), Matthew 3:16-17 (the baptism of Jesus), Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission), as well as benedictions or blessings, such as Second Corinthians 13:14 (which mentions Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and Jude 20-21.

The fact of the matter is that the Bible indicates that the Father is God (Deuteronomy 6:3), the Son is God (John 1:1; 20:28) and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4)—yet there is only one God! The burden is on the one who denies the doctrine of the Trinity to explain such passages, and, believe me, the Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly try! For them only Jehovah is the almighty God. Jesus is God’s first creation (actually, they believe He is Michael the archangel, who gave up His angelic nature to become man) and the Holy Spirit is neither divine nor a real person (He is Jehovah’s “active force”). Such explanations support one kind of strict monotheism, but do little justice to the clear evidences of both Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s full deity (subjects we will examine more closely when we discuss the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit).

Such theological questions seem completely irrelevant to the world around us. But if we are dealing with the very nature of the living and true God, we must take the biblical material seriously. The doctrine of the Trinity explains, for example, how God could love before He created the world. He did not need to create in order to love. There was love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit before this world came into existence.

“Father, I don’t understand Your essential being, and I shouldn’t expect to. I want to believe what Your Word teaches. Help me to worship You, to proclaim Your Son’s finished work, on Calvary and to enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.’

Having the wrong view of God means having the wrong view of Jesus. And that is spiritually lethal.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in doctrine of God

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 5)

Let’s continue looking at Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17.  We now read the following:

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

There is so much in the Lord’s prayer here, isn’t there?  Several truths jump out at me as I think about the words He prayed.  Notice, first of all, that we are the Father’s gift to the Son (v. 6).  The Father “gave” the disciples (and us) out of the world.  Jesus sees us as a GIFT of the Father to Himself.  Second, notice the astounding statement Jesus makes about His disciples:  “and they have obeyed your word” (v. 6).  When?  Where?  When I read the gospels I see complaining, unbelief, dissension, lack of trusting Him to provide for them.  But He saw their hearts.

Please notice, lastly this morning, the undeniable connection between the Father and the Son (vv. 6-8).  Jesus often emphasized His relationship with the Father.  He spoke the Father’s words.  He was doing the Father’s work.  Everything He had came from the Father.  It was the Father who sent Him to the earth.  The unique unity between the Father and the Son was often highlighted by the Lord Jesus, to such a degree that it got Him executed!

A prayer for today:  “Lord Jesus, I praise You for Who You are.  For Your relationship with the Father.  For Your willingness to obey His Word.  Help me today to live as the Father’s gift to You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in prayer

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 110)

Psalm 110

Of David. A psalm.screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-7-37-23-am

The Lord says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing
    on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
    your young men will come to you
    like dew from the morning’s womb.

The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
    and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
    and so he will lift his head high.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in the Trinity

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 97)

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-52-52-pm
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all peoples see his glory.

All who worship images are put to shame,
    those who boast in idols—
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and rejoices
    and the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments, Lord.
For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
    for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
    and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in polytheism

 

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