Tagged: Trinity

Article II-C of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000: God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is both divine and personal, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, and he is a full partner within the Godhead in creation, redemption, and the revealing of Scripture.

Article II-C of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.”

In some ways, the Holy Spirit is the neglected, if not forgotten, member of the Trinity. 

The biblical doctrines of foreknowledge, election, predestination, and adoption awaken us to the eternal love of God the Father. 

Through the Incarnation, the second person of the triune Godhead becomes flesh and pitches his tent with us (John 1:14). He experiences in full measure what it means to be human, including facing temptation – yet without sinning so that he may clothe us in God’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). 

Christians are said to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to be the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. 

But where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? As we know from Scripture, none of the persons of the Godhead acts alone. As such, the Holy Spirit is a co-equal and co-eternal partner in all of the Trinity’s work. 

So, it’s important for us to understand how thoroughly the Bible depicts both the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. 

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Article II-A of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000: God the Father

God the Father is the first person of the Trinity. He is a divine, eternal, non-human person who is immortal and invisible. He adopts believing sinners as his sons and daughters.

Article II-A of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

“God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.”

There is little dispute among professing Christians that our Heavenly Father is God. But 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.

It’s important to note while the Father is a person, he is not human. Balaam – a scoundrel who prophesied for hire – nevertheless spoke the truth concerning God’s unchanging decrees when he said, “God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19).

On another occasion, the prophet Samuel informs Saul that the Lord has torn away the kingship of Israel from Saul and given it to David. “Furthermore,” he says, “the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind” (1 Sam. 15:29). Other Old Testament passages make similar claims (Job 9:32; Isa. 31:2; Hos. 11:9). 

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ARTICLE II of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000: God

There is one living and true God who reveals himself to us in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

The first paragraph of Article II of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads:

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. 

One living and true God

The Bible consistently declares there is one living and true God, the self-revealed creator who alone must be loved and worshiped. All other gods are false. The physical depictions of these gods, as carved images or naturally occurring phenomena such as stars and trees, in fact represent demons (see Deut. 32:16-17; 1 Cor. 10:19-20).

Perhaps nowhere is the exclusivity of God stated more clearly than in the Shema, an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. It is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and evening since ancient times. It consists of three biblical passages (Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Num. 15:37-41), two of which instruct the Israelites to speak of these things “when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:7; 11:19).

The best-known part of the Shema is from the first biblical passage: “Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4-5). 

The prophet Isaiah echoes this cry as he calls the Israelites to return to the Lord. Isaiah 44:6 – 45:25 is a powerful reminder from Yahweh that he alone is God. Consider just a small portion of this passage: 

“This is what the LORD, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the LORD of Armies, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me” (44:6).

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God but me” (45:5).

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God the Father and Scripture

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

In the previous column, we introduced the biblical teaching that while the Holy Spirit is the divine agent of God’s written revelation, He moved in concert with the Father and the Son to give us the Bible. 

Now, let’s survey a sampling of Bible passages that show how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together to give us the Scriptures. In this column, we focus on the Father. In future columns, we turn our attention to Jesus and the Spirit.

Consider just a few of the dozens of people to whom the Father speaks directly. In these verses, the Father either is implied as the speaking member of the Trinity, or the context identifies Him as such:

Cain: “Then the Lord said to Cain …” (Gen. 4:6-16)

Noah: “God said to Noah …”  (Gen. 6:13-21)

Job and his friends: “Then the Lord answered Job …” (Job 38:1 – 42:8)

Abimelech: “But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said …” (Gen. 20:3-7)

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The Trinity and Scripture

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

We know the Bible as the Word of God. That means God is the source of Scripture, revealing truths we are incapable of knowing without divine help. 

The Bible is special revelation in that it is a record of God’s work before time, in time, and beyond time, with a particular emphasis on creation, sin, redemption, and restoration. As such, Scripture complements God’s general revelation, which all people witness in creation and conscience (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:14-16).

In the Bible, God is revealed as one being in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While these divine persons carry out distinct roles in creation and salvation, they are unified in purpose. 

The holy, loving, self-giving persons of the Godhead set the standard for how human beings created in God’s image should relate to God and to one another. At the same time, without Scripture, we would not be able to comprehend God as a Trinity.

Our ability to observe the natural world points us to a divine Designer. Yet, nature itself cannot adequately explain how Yahweh is one being in three persons. And mankind’s universal conscience compels us to conclude that there is a divine moral Law Giver. Even so, conscience can’t tell us the reason behind or the remedy for our violations of standards that have been written on our hearts. 

It takes special revelation from this divine Designer and divine moral Law Giver. That’s where the Bible steps into the picture.

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