The Triune God
In our blog post last week we spoke about our 100% certain belief that there is one living and true God, and that He is the God of the Bible. And this leads us to our second core belief as a church – that there are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And that these three persons are the one living and true God we spoke of last week.
In other words, our church holds the certain conviction that the Triune God of the Bible is the one living and true God.
Now, the full comprehension of that statement is something that our finite minds are wholly unable to grasp in this fallen world. But sometimes the best way to understand the Trinity is by stating what the Triune God is not. There are specifically three things that give us a balanced picture.
First, we do not mean that the Triune God has existed in three different forms throughout human history. This error is known as modalism and states that God was first the Father during the Old Testament time period. Then the Father ceased to exist because He became the Son. And then the Son ceased to exist because He became the Spirit. It is like how water can move from a solid form and then to a liquid form and then to a gaseous form. In essence, this false understanding sees God as having existed in three “modes” progressively throughout human history and always giving up the previous mode to become the next. This is not the testimony of Scripture.
Second, we do not mean that each member of the Godhead is Himself only one-third God. In our brains this is something that might make sense. We often hear a husband or wife refer to their spouse as their “better-half” implying that they themselves are only half of the couple too. But we do not ever hear the Father refer to the Son as the “better third” or the “other third.” That would undermine the divinity of each member of the Godhead. No, we find that the testimony of Scripture is that each member of the Godhead is Himself fully God.
Third, we do not mean either that the Triune God is three separate gods. This is an accusation hurled at Christians from time to time, especially by monotheistic religions who argue that our faith is not monotheistic (belief in one God). But that would be incorrect. Rather, we would say that the Triune God is the only monotheistic God that can truly account for everything in the world.
For instance, the only basis for love in our world is the fact that God Himself is love. And love requires something or someone to love – and for the Godhead that is one another. The Father has a perfect love for the Son and the Spirit. The Son has a perfect love for the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit has a perfect love for the Father and the Son. So when mankind is created in the image of the Triune God, that includes love. No other monotheistic religion can make such a claim. Indeed, the only true monotheistic religion in the world is the one that worships the Triune God of the Bible. The rest all fall flat.
Much more can be said on this topic. Indeed volumes have been written on this topic, some wonderful descriptions (John Calvin’s Institutes) and some extremely dangerous descriptions (William Young’s The Shack). But as much as we do not know about the Trinity, we do know this. The Triune God of the Bible has provided for us everything we need to know about Him to flourish in this world. Because we also believe that when a person turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, something amazing happens. We are brought into the very fellowship of the Triune God.
The perfect love that exists inside the Godhead becomes ours. The infinite joy that characterizes the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit flows down into our hearts. The eternal peace that flourishes inside the Trinity truly takes root in our soul.
No we may not know everything about the Trinity. In fact, we probably don’t know that much. But what we do know is so terribly wonderful that it takes a lifetime to grasp. And our prayer for those who worship at Village Presbyterian is that they will sense a Trinitarian worship. Because after all, the Triune God is the only basis for real worship anyways. Everything else simply falls flat.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” – John 17:20-21 (NLT)