|When Three Equals One
Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz
I AM REVEALED
Jun 13 2011
Now we're going to look at the subject of God from a little different viewpoint. And in the process we're going to address
a question people have been asking for millennia:
Okay, it sounds like a trick question followed by a smoke-and-mirrors move. Actually, it isn't. Like we promised in the
previous chapter, this chapter is going to stretch you a bit.
God is the One and Only
A lot of people today wonder how any religion (in this case, Christianity) could set itself up as the only religion. And how
any God (in this case, the God of the Bible) could have the arrogance to say He is the only God.
This is where the Bible can get a little inconvenient - and might even seem intolerant to those people of other faiths.
You see, on the question of "one and only," the Bible isn't open-minded at all.
In the Old Testament, the people of Israel (also known as the Jews or Israelites) had a tendency to worship other gods.
The Jews probably saw this as a kind of religious insurance policy: If Jehovah didn't deliver for them, maybe another
god would. No wonder that number one on God's list of Ten Commandments was:
righteous sort of way, God is a jealous God. He says so straight out in the second commandment:
waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God
tried to get away from a just and holy God by inventing gods of their own. Sometimes these other gods are literal
images. They are given names in an organized system. The religion of Hinduism, for example, has thousands of gods.
Let's sort out these views about God and gods with three words:
• Atheism is the belief that there is no god.
• Polytheism is the belief that there are many gods.
religions, including those practiced during Old Testament days, believe in one supreme god, who is the source of all
things. But the god of these religions is usually considered unapproachable, so more gods with different purposes are
No Other Gods - Whatsoever! The first and second commandments can be violated even if you don't bow or curtsy
before a bronze statue. God is interested in our hearts, our devotion, our affection and attention. Whenever we put
something else - anything else - before Him, we are "worshiping" another god. Career, house, money, success - even a
relationship - can become a god. It boils down to whether God comes first, or our own selfish desires and ambitions.
Who or what do we really worship?
The Three-in-Oneness of God
Now let's try to answer a question you may have been wanting to ask since the beginning of the book:
Bible. This word, trinity, and the meaning it conveys, is vital to the Person of God, and it will influence everything else
we write from this point forward.
What is the Trinity? Perhaps a line from a great hymn - "Holy, Holy, Holy..." - best defines this awesome word:
"God in three Persons, blessed Trinity"
Essentially the Trinity describes the three distinct Persons which make up the one true God:
• God, the Son
• God, the Holy Spirit
distinct personality traits, but He also is three unique Persons, each one with individual personality traits.
Trinity does not mean three gods exist who together make up God. That would be tritheism. God is one. Deuteronomy
6:4 makes no bones about it: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One."
Theologians use the concepts of Trinity in order to help describe the "fullness of the Godhead," including both God's
unity and diversity. This essentially defines the tri-unity of God. There is only one God, but within that unity are three
eternal and co-equal Persons - all sharing the same essence and substance, but each having a distinct existence.
There's no question that the Trinity is one of the great mysteries of God and the Bible. Yet that should not keep us
from trying to understand it and what it means for us.
What the Bible Teaches About the Trinity
Although the Bible never mentions the word trinity, the concept is definitely there. In fact, there are several passages
which picture three distinct Persons in the Godhead present at the same time.
The most striking passage on the Trinity can be found in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus has just been baptized by
John. Here's what Matthew writes:
the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son,
whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17).
Isn't that incredible? All three persons of the Trinity present in one place at one time, distinct yet united: The Father's
voice is heard, the Son is being baptized, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove.
Yet another example, often called "The Great Commission," is contained in Christ's instructions to the disciples:
the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
Before we conclude this chapter on the unity and trinity of God, we want to present evidence from the Bible that each
Person in the Trinity is equal to God.
The logical conclusion from such evidence is that each person in the Godhead is both equal and the same.
1. God the Father is God. This is kind of an easy one. God is called "the Father" numerous times, including this
salutation from the apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome:
2. Jesus the Son Is God. Unlike other founders of major world religions - Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed came
to mind - who are known primarily for what they said, Jesus is known primarily for who He was. Jesus is central to
Christianity, which consequently must stand or fall based on whether or not He was God.
Jesus understood who He was, and said so plainly. The Gospel of John records an incident in which some Jews in
Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and asked Him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us
plainly." Here's what Jesus said:
• Jesus is omniscient (John 16:30).
• Jesus is omnipotent (John 5:19).
• Jesus is immutable (Hebrews 13:8).
• Jesus is the Creator (Colossians 1:16).
• Jesus has the power to forgive sins.
God, equal to God, came to earth to forgive sins. Our sins and your sins. That's why He came, why He died, why He
rose from the dead.
3. The Holy Spirit Is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Because the third Person in the Trinity is commonly called the Holy
Spirit or the Holy Ghost, there's a tendency to believe that the Holy Spirit isn't a person that He doesn't have a
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We've already established that God is a spirit. Yet God has a personality. So why should it be different with the Holy
Spirit? Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as "He" many times, including this incredible passage in the Gospel of John,
where Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to His disciples:
world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and
will be in you (John 14:16-17).
• The Holy Spirit is omnipotent (Luke 1:35).
• The Holy Spirit is omnipresent (Psalm 139.7).
• The Holy Spirit is the Creator (Psalm 104:30).
We find great comfort (and astonishment) in knowing that all the Persons of God are focused on restoring our
relationship with Him. It's not like Jesus is the nice one, the Father is the stern one, and the Spirit is the mysterious
one. Not at all. All three Persons of the Trinity are engaged in the process of bringing man back to God.
Think about it this way:
plan of salvation.
• Jesus the Son, while fully God, submitted to the Father's plan. As the sacrifice for man's sin, Jesus Christ
accomplished the plan of salvation.
• The Holy Spirit, just as much God has the other two Persons, is at work in the lives of those who've chosen to
follow God. The Holy Spirit applies the plan of salvation in the lives of believers.
your life today. Because God chooses to express His fullness completely in those who believe in Him, it's possible for
you to become who you were really meant to be!
Remember that the word trinity is not used in the Bible, but "God in three Persons" is a recurring theme.
Verses for study:
Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:4-5; John 14-16 - Jesus affirms the reality of the Trinity.
Romans 5:5-8 - Each member of the Trinity has a role in salvation.
II Corinthians 13:14 - The apostle Paul gives a benediction which acknowledges the Trinity.
For the mystery-riddled and brain-weary, maybe now would be a good time to quote that famous agnostic, Mark Twain:
"Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand. The Scripture which troubles
me most is the Scripture I do understand."
Those who choose God's truth can take comfort in exactly what troubled Twain. You see, God holds us accountable for
the truths we know. But He's never going to sit you down for an essay test on the Trinity.
Not that we're quite ready to give your mind much rest. For starters, did you realize that invisible supernatural
intergalactic warfare is going on all around you?
GUIDE TO GOD, by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, Copyright 1997, HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES