Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
Tree of Life 06/14/98
The Doctrine of The Trinity.
Tree of Life for 06-14-98
The word “Trinity” though not found in the Bible it is a legitimate technical term coined around the fourth century AD used to expound on the theological concept of a triune God-head. The word Trinity was actually first used by Tertullian in the second century to designate a Biblical doctrine, thereafter confirmed by the council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The concept of the Trinity is confirmed throughout the Bible, so how ever you word it, God as being one in essence yet three persons is emphatic truth.
The following verses prove the doctrine of the Trinity to be truth, GEN 1:26; 3:22-23; ISA 6:8; GEN 11:7; JOH 17:21; PSA 110:1; 2:7; ISA 48:16; MAT 28:19; JOH 10:30; 5:18; 14:16; 20:28; 1CO 12:4-6; 1PE 1:2; REV 1:4.
The actual meaning of the Trinity is that God is one in essence but three coequal, co-eternal, and co-infinite persons. The doctrine of the Trinity recognizes God as being one in essence but three persons who possess equal, perfect, eternal and infinite identical natures. There is only one divine nature and being which is tri-personal and involves distinctions between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All being joint partakers of the same nature and majesty. All three members of the God-head are the same in their substance or essence but distinct in subsistence.
When divine essence is the subject God is said to be One. When divine persons are the subject, distinction is made between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew name used for God in essence, plural essence that is, is Elohim. The Hebrew names used for each of the members of the God-head in singular instance are Yaweh, Adonai, or Jehovah. Though God is one in essence He is revealed as three in persons. The individuality of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is preserved against the notion that there are only “modes” of God. Such false doctrine dates back to the fourth century and implies that one God has various “modes” for various purposes in dealing with man. This false teaching uses the concept of different modes to replace the concept of different persons. God is one yet from eternity past each of the three members of the God-head are distinct depending on the activity at hand. We can bring this down to human analogy in using the Royal Family of God, i.e., the “body” of Christ as being one in essence yet consisting of many members, 1Co 12; Rom 12.
Within the Trinity there exists a distinct and separate function in regard to each member. Take the subject of salvation:
* God the Father planned salvation, ISA 14:27; JOH 4:34; 5:17; 12:44; 1CO 8:6; EPH 3:11.
* God the Son (Jesus Christ) executed salvation on the cross, JOH 4:34; 5:17; 1PE 2:24; 3:18; ROM 5:8; HEB 10:7.
* God the Holy Spirit reveals the message of salvation to the unbeliever through common grace as well as reveals His teaching ministry to the believer, JOH 16:8-11.
So, each member of the Trinity indwells every believer for three distinct purposes. And though a distinction is to be made between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each member is to be honored equally. None is greater than the other. God the Father indwells the body of every church age believer according to JOH 14:23; EPH 4:6; 2Jo 9. God the Son indwells the body of every church age believer according to JOH 14:20; 17:22-23; ROM 8:10; 2CO 13:5; GAL 2:20; COL 1:27; 1JO 2:24. God the Holy Spirit indwells the body of every church age believer according to ROM 8:11; 1CO 3:16; 6:9-20; 2CO 6:16.
Each member of the Trinity also provides divine power to the believer in the execution of God’s plan. God the Father’s provision for divine power is related to the believer’s portfolio of invisible assets which allow us to worship Him in His plan. God the Son provides divine power to the believer related to the preservation of the universe and the perpetuation of human history, HEB 1:3. God the Holy Spirit provides divine power to the believer related to residence, function, and momentum inside predestination. All three members of the Trinity are involved in providing divine power and in providing salvation, but each in a different way.We have noted that though God is one in essence He is three in persons. But we must also state that though He is three in persons He is one in essence, DEU 6:4.
There is a unity of essence but a plurality of persons belonging to the same divine being. And it is part of your calling to be able to defend this truth says 1PE 3:15. The three persons of the God-head are not separate and independent beings as are the various believers which make up the body of Christ. When it comes to the Trinity, you cannot have one without the other. This can be illustrated by the three elements which make up light. The word of God refers to God as light. And though light is one it is composed of a combination of three elements, take away one and there is no light. The three properties which make up light are as follows:
1) Actinic, which is a ray of light made up of short wavelengths being neither seen nor felt. This is a perfect illustration of God the Father.
2) Luminiferous, is light produced by emissions of light from heat, this type is both seen and felt. This being the perfect illustration of God the Son since Jesus Christ was the only member of the Trinity to be seen or felt due to His incarnate state.
3) Calorific, is light converted into heat, it is not seen but it is felt. In such, we can use this as illustrating God the Holy Spirit.
So, when the Bible says God is light, the meaning goes way deeper than meets the eye. The concept of the Trinity is that God is one in essence or substance but not one in personality. God is three coequal persons within that one essence. And again, when divine essence is the subject, God is revealed as One. When divine persons are the subject, God is revealed as three separate and distinct persons. So, when the Bible says God is ONE it does not insinuate that God is made up of one. Though there is unified equality there is distinct traictic references made to three members, 2CO 13:14; EPH 4:4-6; 1PE 1:2. The O.T. also reveals the plurality of person in the God-head, GEN 1:26;11:7; 5:7; EXO 3:2-6; GEN 1:2; ISA 63:10.
This is an important doctrine to master and one that goes hand in hand with the deity of Christ since many cults claim that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and therefore not part of the Trinity.