Tagged: Trinity

Jesus in the Old Testament

This is the 18th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Prophetic portions of the Old Testament anticipate a coming Messiah. While explicit references to his deity are rare, key passages offer clues of the Anointed One’s eternal nature and divine power. 

Isaiah 9:6-7 is one example: “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.” 

Since the Israelites are strict monotheists, the very idea of “Mighty God, Eternal Father” coming to sit on King David’s throne and rule forever no doubt fuels great wonder and encouragement in God’s people. The name “Mighty God” means more than a godlike person, for the same Hebrew term, El Gibhor, is applied elsewhere in the Old Testament to Yahweh (Isa. 10:21; Jer. 32:18). Isaiah understands that the Messiah is God in the same sense of the term.

As for “Everlasting Father,” Isaiah does not mean to confuse the Father and the Messiah as if they are the same person. Rather, the prophet uses a Jewish idiom to describe the Messiah’s relationship to time, not His relationship with the other members of the Trinity. The Messiah is everlasting, just as God the Father is called the “Ancient of Days” in Daniel 7:9. It is similar to Micah’s messianic prophecy, which declares, “His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).

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God as Father of the church

This is the 17th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Let’s consider the wonderful doctrine of God as Father of the church – specifically, as the Father of everyone who receives His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith and thus is adopted into God’s family.

The Bible speaks of adoption as an act of God making born-again believers members of His family. As in first-century Roman culture, all former relationships of the adopted child are severed, and the adoptee is made a full-fledged member of his or her new family under the father’s authority, and with the full privileges and responsibilities of an adult

For Christians, then, no longer does the evil one hold his servants captive, in spiritual blindness, alienated from God, and destined for outer darkness. Christ has come to our rescue, redeeming us from the slave market of sin and joyfully welcoming us into the Father’s family as Jesus’ coheirs in His everlasting kingdom.

Adoption into God’s family is part of the Father’s predestined plan for everyone who believes. It is inextricably bound to all other elements of salvation, spanning from eternity past in foreknowledge to eternity future in glorification. As a consequence, we may rest assured of our salvation, for just as a Roman father could not disown an adopted son, God is faithful to His promise to conform us to the image of His eternal Son.
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The Fatherhood of God

This is the 14th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we explored the Father’s deity. Now, let’s look at some ways the Bible describes the Fatherhood of God.

First, the Greek word theos is used of the Father. We see this in numerous passages, such as Galatians 1:1 and 1 Peter 1:2. While theos also is used of Satan (2 Cor. 4:4) and pagan idols (1 Cor. 8:5), the New Testament writers are clear that these entities are not God by nature (Gal. 4:8). In fact, Paul argues that the gods of the pagans actually are demons (1 Cor. 10:20).

In addition, the Greek kyrios (Lord) is found more than 700 times in the New Testament and is clearly applied to the Father in numerous passages (e.g., Matt. 4:7; Heb. 12:5-6).

Second, the Father’s divine attributes reveal His deity. The Father is eternal (Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:16); almighty (Rev. 19:6); immortal (1 Tim. 1:17); all-knowing (Matt. 6:32); perfect (Matt. 5:48); and true deity (John 17:3).

We should not overlook the significance of 1 John 1:3, where the apostle writes, “[W]hat we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The invitation to fellowship with the Father, as with the Son, demonstrates both His personhood and His deity.
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The Father is God

This is the 13th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

There is little dispute among professing Christians that our Heavenly Father is God. This is true even among the most prominent forms of counterfeit Christianity.

For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the deity and personhood of Jehovah, whom they identify as the Father, even though they deny the doctrine of the Trinity and embrace unbiblical views about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints profess belief in Heavenly Father, or Elohim, whom they worship as the god of this world, although he is one of a multitude of gods and potential gods.

These doctrinal distinctions highlight the importance of defending historic Christianity. If we fail to understand the Father correctly, and if we miss the clear teachings of Scripture with respect to His relationship with the other members of the Godhead, then the biblical doctrines of creation, redemption, and restoration suffer as well.

As Robert Morey writes, “The notion that all religions worship the Father just under different names is an idea totally foreign and antithetical to the Bible. Only the Trinitarian can truly worship God the Father because only the Trinitarian worships the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
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The persons of the Trinity: distinct, not separate

This is the 12th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we examined the personhood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While the three persons of the Godhead are distinct, they cannot be separated. That is, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal and co-eternal. They exist simultaneously, not consecutively.

So, let’s summarize this essential truth, drawing from Scripture:

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present together at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23).

In the Great Commission, Jesus sends His followers to make disciples in “the name [singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …” (Matt. 28:19-20).

The three persons of the Godhead work together to grant spiritual gifts to followers of Jesus: “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord [Jesus]. And there are different activities, but the same God [Father] produces each gift in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
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