“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19
This question fits into the category of what every Christian needs to know but is basically impossible to fully explain. It is one of those topics that will leave you with more questions than answers. But let me take a shot. The Bible teaches there is one God. Yet, the Bible also teaches that the “One God” is a Trinity, not three but still one God. The New Testament clearly distinguishes three Persons who are all simultaneously active. They are not merely modes or manifestations of the same Person. The Father is not the same Person as the Son. The Son is not the same Person as the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is not the same Person as the Father.
There is one God, and this one true God exists in three co-equal and co-eternal Persons. They are in absolute perfect harmony. They are co-eternal, co-equal, and co-powerful. This may not be fully comprehensible, but it is not contradictory. I can’t really explain it because I can’t fully explain God. If I can’t fully explain God then how can I explain the Trinity.
If you try to explain this to somebody who is kicking the tires of the Christian faith they will probably roll their eyes and think you have lost your mind. Think about it for a second. If Christianity was man made then there certainly would have never been any concept like the Trinity in it. On the surface it seems so obviously confusing. The Bible clearly asserts, however, that God is one, but that within the oneness of God are three distinct persons.
The better question is why do we have to make it complicated? If we really want to know the character of God, we need to look at Jesus. John 14:6-7 tells us: ”Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Therefore, if we really want to know the character of God, first observe Jesus’ behavior and actions and listen to His words. During his ministry on earth, we can see how Jesus responded to people when they were up, when they were down, and when they were hurting. He was full of mercy, love and compassion, yet he never made excuses for people’s sin or accepted their misperceptions about God.
Scripture shows how each member of the Trinity fulfills His specific role, and it also reveals how those three roles interrelate. Let me express this idea in simple terms: The Father creates a plan, Jesus Christ implements the plan, and the Holy Spirit administers the plan.
When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit becomes your inner guide. The Holy Spirit is your controller from within; He leads you, guides you and tells you what to do so that you don’t need a code of conduct to do what’s right. He’s within you, guiding you in specific steps to take, specific thoughts to think, and specific things to do to fulfill the will of God in your life. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Ephesians 1:3-5 tells us that God the Father is the master planner. God the Father is in control. Scripture says He is in charge. He planned our salvation. He has approved of our salvation. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:3-5)
- Read Isaiah 55:8 and Romans 11:33-34. Do you find it comforting or intimidating that you cannot fully understand God? Why?
- 1 Corinthians 8: 4 says, “There is no God but one.” What does that mean to you?
- Read John 1:1-2, Galatians 4:4 and Titus 2:13. These passages speak specifically about Jesus. What do these passages teach us about Jesus and his relationship to God?
- Read John 15:26 and Acts 5:3-4. Here we are introduced to the Holy Spirit. Based on these passages who is He and what role does He play?
- How does the doctrine of the Trinity affect your worship of God?