Summary: The triune God is foundational for developing an understanding of man. On the individual level there is a corresponding image and likeness to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
5. Triune God is Foundational
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … He made us accepted in the Beloved … you were sealed with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 1:3-14).
The triune God is the context of the message of the Bible. It is the first context. The second context is man. The clearest picture that the Bible gives of God is the triune Godhead of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Apostle John establishes the concept of the triune Godhead when he refers to the word of God being in the beginning and the same being God. He further establishes that the word of God was the agent in creating the universe. In the same passage John will identify the word of God as becoming flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.
When we go back to the creation account, which John refers to, we find the following, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’ ” (Gen 1:1-3). God is identified throughout the Scriptures as the “Father.” The activity of the “Spirit of God” throughout Scripture can be identified. And John’s identification of the word of God in creation was the same word that became flesh in the person of “Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
The early church recognized the triune Godhead as revealed in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, “Jesus began both to do and to teach … He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments … He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father … you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Act 1:1-5).
In all of the Letters of the Apostle Paul he builds his message around the theme of the triune Godhead. His Letter to the Ephesians begins with a statement about the triune Godhead, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … He made us acceptable in the Beloved (Jesus) in whom we have redemption through His blood … in whom (Jesus) you believed and you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:3-14).
The Apostle John identifies the triune Godhead in his Gospel, “I (Jesus) will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper (Holy Spirit) that He (Holy Spirit) abide with you forever” … “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name (Jesus), He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all things that I said to you” (Joh 14:16, 26) … “When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.” (Joh 16:13).
In the Epistles of John, “For these three that bear witness in heaven are the Father, the word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit” (1 Joh 5:7). Further statements are, “this is His (Father) commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ… we know that He abides in us by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 Joh 3:23-24). In the Revelation the triune Godhead is addressed in, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God (Father) gave to Him to show His servants … ” (Rev 1:1) and “hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
The Apostle Peter begins his letter with a declaration of the triune Godhead, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:2).
Many claim that the English word “trinity” is not acceptable as a descriptive term for God. Even though the word might not be definable in the original text, the concept is there.
How does this apply to the Christian? A biblical understanding of the subject of the triune God is fundamental and foundational to an understanding of the individual. Since man was “created in the image according to the likeness of God” the triune God is the pattern for developing an understanding of being and the personality of being of the individual.
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