Summary: Doctrine of the Triune nature of God and relevance for us.
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
Feb 23, 1992
7For there are three that bear record in heaven,
and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.
Christianity is uniquely distinctive. Nowhere is our faith more unique than in the doctrine of the trinity. There is no parallel, beyond obvious superficiality, in any other religion, literature, or philosophy. The doctrine of the triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit being one, yet three) is also controversial. For one, our text verse is not even included in the oldest manuscripts. It is thought by some critics to be a marginal note of explanation that some early scribe may have included for clarity’s sake. Immediately we say, "Why? Why would a mere manuscript copier arbitrarily ’throw-in’ someone’s commentary as if it were part of the original word?" The answer to that is lost to the ages; save for the speculation that may ring within each of us - This is a controversial doctrine, because it is also a confusing concept. Look within yourself; ask if you really understand how God can be three, yet one. Then, be gentle with the ones who preserved God’s Word for us down through the ages.
One thing is certain...We can provide less answers to the idle questions than is satisfactory to most idle speculators. It’s like the response the Census taker got as he was knocking on doors in West Texas. The guy explained to one lady what the census was all about. He said, "Ma’am, every ten years the federal government tries to find out how many men, women and children live in the United States." The lady said, "You came to the wrong house, mister; I sure don’t know!"
While we can’t answer everything you always wanted to know about the trinity, the Word of God offers the explanation to the VITAL QUESTIONS:
WHAT IS THE REALITY?
What does the trinity mean? The "Baptist Faith and Message" indicates: "The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being." That is a short statement which gives little relief. One writer describes the "oneness" and "threeness" of God as a polarity, where the two concepts have to be held in relationship to each other, like the positive and negative terminals of a battery.
Throughout church history there have been many so-called theologians who have attempted to take what is the "secret thing" of God, and attempt to unfold it as a human, or finite concept.
The Sabelians saw God with a "triadic nature;" He was a single God, but only existed in certain modes - First He is the Father, then becomes Jesus, then the Holy Spirit. This denies a permanent distinctiveness.
The Docetists understood Jesus to be only an appearance of God, without a real body.
The Ebonites saw Jesus as an ordinary man who was indwelt with God at His baptism.
The tri-theists saw the Godhead as three distinct, separate, but equal gods.
The problem with all of these is that there is a grain of truth in each. It is like the three blind men who were placed in a room with an elephant. When taken from the room they were asked to describe the beast. One described the elephant as a wall; another as a tree trunk, while the third pictured him as a snakelike rope with a broom’s head at one end. The trouble with taking one aspect of God’s nature, and setting your doctrinal compass, is that you either go off into dangerously erroneous conclusions, or settle for an incomplete picture.
GENUINE DOCTRINES call for comprehensive study of what God has said about Himself. We must see a living God, if we are to have a true picture. The best place to begin is in the place of beginnings.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created…
The word "God" is the Hebrew "Elohim." The Hebrew language has a quantitative way of expressing singular, dual, or multiple. "God" is indicated as "more than two," while "created," (the next word), is singular; more than two, doing a singular act of creation.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus instructed us to baptize in the "name" (singular) of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost (multiple). In Jesus’ culture, a name was more than a handle to call someone to the dinner table - it was an identity, a nature. A singular name indicates a singular nature.
58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.