Some people regard The Trinity as a difficult concept and I can’t disagree, it’s true. How can one of anything be three?
Once, a few years ago, when I was counseling a very new Christian, she asked me to explain it to her. I gulped but somehow strode forward and gave her this explanation.
God, the Father, is God. The whole spirit-being. The great I AM. The almighty Alpha and Omega. Then He took a piece of Himself and sent Himself to earth in the form of Jesus who is also God because He is part of God. When Jesus died, was resurrected, and returned to God, the Father took another piece of Himself and sent it to His believers in the form of the Holy Spirit who is also God because He is part of God and Jesus. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons but still all One.
Very simplistic, but it helped her to view our Triune God as One. I was about to say it helped me too, but I think I’ve just always believed this doctrinal truth on faith … never really thinking about it. Or have I?
In an article in John Piper’s Desiring God blog, Matt Perman stated it this way:
If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.
For some time now – maybe the last year and a half – God has been refocusing me on the Trinity by having verses that include mention of it like:
And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
Then as John seeks to establish the deity of Christ:
Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
Again in John, when Jesus was speaking to His disciples:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
And again in John 14 speaking of the Holy Spirit:
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” John 14:23
These are just a mere few of the verses in the Bible that distinctly show that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all separate and yet one.
Could God be ensuring that I really comprehend that He is three in one? I don’t know. Have I had the tendency to think of Him as three of three? I pray not. That might just be blasphemous. But I can’t think of any other reason He’d be emphasizing this point with me.
Perhaps God was just getting me ready to tackle questions from the friend I’ve mentioned before who doesn’t like when we sing about Jesus being God (or the Lord). Because in his mind only the Father can be God (or the Lord), Jesus is the Son and hence, not Lord.
Maybe now I can say more than, “Whelp, He is and He isn’t.”
I can speak intelligently (and without fear) and point him to the truth of Bible.
How do you explain the Trinity?