The Holy Trinity
The word “trinity” is not found in the Holy Scriptures, but it is used to describe a precious truth unfolded in both the Old and the New Testaments. The word itself means threefold or three in one.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity shows that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, in essence, are one God. It has been asserted that, “There is one God without division in the unity of Persons, and there are three Persons without confusion in the unity of essence.”
Now, any attempt to define the Holy Trinity would fail, for human intellect is inadequate for such a task, so we will merely look at a few outstanding passages of Scripture in which this truth is expressed.
The first great statement of the Bible, “In the beginning God (Elohim, a plural name of God) created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), suggests a plurality of Persons; whereas, in the one act expressed by the verb “created,” we see the Triune God acting in unison by a single force. In the last book of Moses, the Book of Deuteronomy, there is a clear doctrinal unfolding of the trinity of Persons in the Godhead. Notice carefully the statement, “The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). In this verse the Lord (Jehovah) is declared to be one Lord; in like manner, God (Elohim, the name that denotes plurality in the Godhead) is declared to be one Lord. The word “one” means a compound unity and is used in connection with a collective body. Nothing could be clearer with regard to this wonderful subject.
The threefold high-priestly benediction of the Aaronic priesthood has but one interpretation, “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:24-26). The benediction conveys the knowledge that the blessings of the Lord upon His beloved people are from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is well to notice that the titles frequently used for the Father, are also used for the Son, as for example, “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). In similar manner they are used for the Holy Spirit. This fact is made very obvious by noticing that the lie to the Holy Spirit on the part of Ananias was a lie to God (Acts 5:3-4).
There is another remarkable disclosure of the same truth by the pen of the Prophet Isaiah, “And now the Lord God, and His Spirit hath sent Me” (Isa. 48:16). The pronoun “Me” undoubtedly refers to Christ; “His Spirit,” to the blessed Holy Spirit; and then, of course, the name “God” embraces the idea of the Father.
The Trinity in its unity finds expression in God’s creative works. Man was made in the image and in the likeness of his Creator; he is a tripartite being consisting of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23). In the atmosphere there is space in the three dimensions of height, breadth, and length; there is, also, light, a combination of red, yellow, and blue rays, the three primary colors. Although God transcends His creation, He has manifested Himself in it through the wonders of nature. “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen” (Rom. 1:19-20). Nevertheless, all analogies and illustrations are incomplete in any attempt to depict the nature of the Holy Trinity.
This astonishing fact of Divine Revelation is interwoven in the frame work of the New Testament. Matthew in his Gospel gives us the command of the Lord in regard to Christian baptism, as well as the formula to employ in the carrying out of the ordinance, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
The whole of the Ephesian Epistle has for its doctrinal basis the fact of the Holy Trinity. Take for example, chapter 1 and the expression which occurs in it three distinct times, “The praise of His glory.” The first burst of praise and commendation to the Father rises because of His choice of us in Christ before the foundation of the world ( Vv. 4-6). The second, because of the great accomplishment of the Son in both loosing and setting us free, and forgiving us our sins (Vv. 7-12). How rich is His grace! The third, is consequent to the work of the Holy Spirit in sealing us as the mark of Divine ownership, and in the taking up His residence in our hearts as the pledge of our enjoyment forever of God in Christ (Vv. 13-14 ).
The wonderful benediction from the pen of the Apostle Paul in which he gives to us a synopsis of the entire Epistle to the Corinthians, is one which links together the three Persons in the Godhead, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14).
Our hearts respond in worship and in praise as we sing:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.
Holy, Holy, Holy, all the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.”
The words of our blessed Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ye are the light of the world,” remind us that we are left in this dark scene to shine for Him. Moody said once, “Do you know what the moon did when the dog barked at it? It just kept on shining.”
If the sons of darkness bark at us, just keep on shining, and someone who is stumbling in the darkness will be guided to Christ—The Light of the world.