These Three Are One
Pastor Ho Soo Kam
PO Box 571, Marine Parade Post Office, Singapore 9144, Republic of Singapore
ADORN THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR
The God of the Bible is not just any god. He is the only true and living God. He is the God who created the heaven and the earth. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1). "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." (Psalm 19:1). More so he has revealed himself to man in the Bible, the word of God, the scripture of the Old Testament (39 books) and the scripture of the New Testament (27 books). The God of the Bible is exclusive.
"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3). "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH art the most high overall the earth." (Psalm 83:18). "0 LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth." (Isaiah 37:16)
The scripture reveals God to us as one who exists eternally in unity as three "persons". These three persons being one in substance and essence and existing in the most perfect unity of thought and purpose. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." (1 John 5:7). The tri-personality and the tri-unity of God is exclusively a truth of revelation, and one which lies outside the realm of natural reason. The doctrine of the tri-unity of the Godhead is vital to understanding other doctrines such as those of the deity of Christ, the atonement, regeneration and sanctification which are inextricably interwoven with this doctrine. The scripture reveals God to us as existing in a trinity of persons each of whom performs a distinctive part in the works of creation, providence and redemption.
There are three persons in the Godhead. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and these three are one God, the same in substance and essence, equal in glory, majesty and power. Throughout the scripture beginning in Genesis, the tri-unity of the Godhead is revealed to us. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . ." (Genesis 1:26). "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27).
The plural "us" and "our" in Genesis 1:26 revealed that "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost". (1 John 5:7a). The singular "his" and "he" in Genesis 1:27 revealed that "these three are one" (1 John 5:7b)
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament revealed the tri-unity of the Godhead. In the book of Isaiah, the coming and rejection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Israel's Messiah are set before us. The Messiah speaking through the prophet, said this, "Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his spirit, hath sent me." (Isaiah 48:16). We know that these words refer to the Lord Jesus Christ for in the New Testament scripture, he declared "In secret have I said nothing" (John 18:20), and this is the verse in Isaiah to which he referred. In the book of Isaiah, we are listening to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel' s Messiah, the eternal Son of God who was to be manifested in the flesh. "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now (looking on to the incarnation) the Lord God, and his spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit), hath sent me (that is, the Son)". In Isaiah 61:1-2, we have the three persons of the Godhead clearly indicated. It is the passage that our Lord Jesus Christ himself read in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied to himself, saying, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:21).
The Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". (Matthew 28:19). The unity of the Godhead is clear in his words, "baptizing them in the NAME (singular)." He did not say baptize them in the names (plural). Yet the tri-unity of the Godhead is clearly presented in his words: "the Father, AND of the Son, AND of the Holy Ghost." The word of God is wonderfully perfect. Normally when we hear people attempt to quote this, they say "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost." It is not that. It is in the name of the Father, AND of the Son, AND of the Holy Ghost. Why are those "ANDs" put in? In order that we may know that while there is only one God, yet that one God exists eternally in three persons - Father and Son and Holy Ghost. There are three errors to avoid in understanding this. Some people, well aware that the Bible reveals that God is three, have ended up by denying that God is one. They have fallen into the trap of thinking of the three Persons as three separate divine beings. They have become tritheists - those who believe in three gods. Others, well aware that the Bible reveals that God is one, have denied the deity of the Son, and the deity of the Holy Spirit. They have refused to accept these two Persons as God. This leaves them with but one divine Person, who is the only divine being. Such people are called Unitarians. Others, also aware that the Bible reveals that God is one, have thought of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as one and the same identical person. They think that there is but one divine being, who appears at different times in different ways. The names, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, merely describe the different aspects and functions of the one divine person. This is the third error. God is one. Each of the three persons is God. Each one is all of God. But each is distinct from the other. The third error is sometimes manifested in a Christian's prayers. Often he begins by praying to God the Father, but shortly afterwards thanks him for dying on the cross. He has fallen into the mistake of saying of the Father what can be said only of the Son. He may then proceed to thank him for his indwelling presence - something which can properly be said only of the Holy Spirit. It is always dangerous to have wrong views of God, and when such prayers are public they may sometimes be harmful to those who hear them. We may address our thrice holy God in prayer in unity or in tri-unity of the Godhead. But without exception God is addressed in the singular to be doctrinally correct. In the English language today, only the Authorised King James Bible follows the Bible's inspired rule of never addressing God in the plural.
Just as most people still use "I", "mine", "me", and the like for themselves, the Authorised King James Bible never uses the plural ("you", "your", and the like) but always the singular ("thee", "thine", "thou" and the like) to address God in unity or persons of the Trinity. This has nothing to do with old English or modern English. It has to do with correct doctrine and the purity of God's word. From the first chapter (Genesis 1: 29, "I have given you every herb") to the last verse of this Holy Bible ("the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you"), the Authorised King James Bible uses "you". From Genesis 3:5 ("your eyes shall be opened") to Revelation 16:1 ("Go your ways") the Authorised King James Bible uses "your". From Genesis 45: 20 ("for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours") to 2 Corinthians 12:14 ("I seek not yours but you"), the Authorised King James Bible uses "yours". But from the first verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) to the last verse of the Bible (Revelation 22:21), God is NEVER once addressed in the plural in the Authorised King James Bible. It is always in the singular (that is "thou" "thee" "thy'). This remarkable consistency once again demonstrates that the Authorised King James Bible is the word of God, the scripture in the English language and "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," (2 Timothy 3:16). And every word of God is pure (Proverbs 30:5), very pure. (Psalm 119:140). "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it." (Psalm 119:140).
There are numerous verses in the scripture that reveals that the Father is God. "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things." (I Corinthians 8:6). "Paul an apostle. . . through Jesus Christ, and God the Father." (Gal. 1:1). "At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth. . ." (Matthew 11:25). "For him (the Son) hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27). "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father." (1 Peter 1:2). "That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:11). "I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God." (John 20:17). "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23). Jesus prayed to God the Father. (Mark 14:36, John 11:41;17:11).
Jesus is called "the Word" because he declares God to us and God speaks through him. "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." (Hebrews 1:1). Christ is the final spokesman of God. In the Saviour's title found in Revelation 1:8 "I am Alpha and Omega", is understood that he is God's alphabet, the one who spells out Deity, the one who utters all God has to say. Even clearer is the testimony of John 1:18, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." "The Word of God" (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13) means that Christ is God's way of expressing himself just as our words express our thoughts and desires. The Word of God must be as eternal as God himself. Christ is also called "the Wisdom of God". (1 Corinthians 1:24). We cannot suggest that there was a time when God was without wisdom. The Wisdom of God must be as eternal as God.
A "Word" is a medium of manifestation. A 'Word" is a means of communication. A "Word" is a method of revelation. And Christ, as the Word reveals the attribute and perfection of God. He displayed God's power, he manifested God's wisdom, he exhibited his holiness, he made known his grace; and he unveiled his heart. In the Christ of the scripture is God fully and finally declared and nowhere else. The attributes which can be ascribed only to God are ascribed to Christ in the scripture. God could not be the eternal Father without an eternal Son. Sonship does not necessarily imply origin but may express the idea of relationship. Jesus Christ from everlasting to everlasting is the eternal Son of God the Father. He is without beginning and without end, for God is the eternal Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The everlasting Fatherhood of God is not at all contradicted by the scriptures that speak of Jesus Christ as the "first begotten". In Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5, this term simply denotes that Jesus Christ is the first to rise from the dead in his resurrected body, never to die again. In Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:6 the term "firstborn" as applied to Christ, simply means that he has the place of pre-eminence just as the oldest son had in the Jewish family. He is to be honoured above all others through eternity as the God-man. The words "only begotten" is a compound word which simply means "only' and "kind or class". It affirms that Jesus Christ is the "unique Son", "the only one of his class."
It asserts most positively the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. It is actually a striking declaration of Christ's deity and of God's eternal Fatherhood.
The Holy Spirit is placed on a plane of absolute equality with the Father and the Son as Deity and is regarded equally with them as the source of all power and blessing. "Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?_.. Thou has not lied unto men, but unto God." (Acts 5:3,4). Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that HE may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth, WHOM the world cannot receive, because it seeth HIM not, neither knoweth HIM: but ye know HIM; for HE dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, WHOM the Father will send in my name, HE shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:16,17,26).
If the Holy Spirit is just an influence, then verse 16 should read, "he shall give you another comforter, that IT may abide with you for ever." Instead we read "that HE may abide with you for ever." A personality possesses a mind, a will, and emotions. Certainly a mere influence does not have these characteristics, but we find them ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The divine wisdom of the Holy Spirit is indicated in I Corinthians 2:10,11, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." The Holy Spirit is a person who knows the deep things of God and reveals them to us. In I Corinthians 12:11 the Apostle Paul declares that the Holy Spirit has a will. He says, "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (I Corinthians 12:11).
An influence or abstract power cannot choose to do anything. We find in this verse further proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit. The third quality of a personality is the ability to experience emotion, to feel joy and sorrow. That the Holy Spirit possesses this characteristic is clear from the scripture. He loves, for the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:30 refers to "the love of the Spirit". He is able to feel grief. Therefore, we are told, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God". (Ephesians 4:30).
The Holy Spirit performs acts which can only be ascribed to a personality. He speaks (Revelation 2:7), He makes intercession (Romans 8:26), He teaches (John 14:26), He leads and guides (Romans 8:14).
The unity of God was clearly expressed when the divine law was given through Moses: "Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." (Deuteronomy 6:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed this in Mark 12:29. The apostle Paul stated the same truth: "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one: but God is one." (Galatians 3:20). Likewise, the apostle James wrote: "Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well" (James 2:19). The cumulative evidence of these verses is that there is only one God.
There was no other God before him. He alone is from everlasting to everlasting. There is no other God beside him. There is no other God with him and there will be no other God after him. The God of the Bible is the only true and living God. To speak of two infinite Gods is a contradiction in terms because two infinite beings cannot co-exist. The one of necessity would put a limitation upon the infinity of the other. Belief in the unity of God is the very foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity. Although the persons in the Godhead are distinguishable in thought, they are inseparable in nature and action. The presence and action of One involve the presence and action of the Others.
This is just one of many examples in the scripture. When the Son of God gave himself (Galatians 2:20), he was in prayerful contact with the Father prior to and after the hours of darkness (Luke 23:34,46), but during these hours, as One made sin who knew no sin, he could address God only as Judge (Matthew 27:46). At the same time, it was through the eternal Spirit that he offered himself to God (Hebrews 9:14) for a sweet-smelling savour (Ephesians 5:2).
Within the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share an equality of divine nature. It is noteworthy that, in the great trinitarian passages in the New Testament, the scriptures do not adhere to any rigid sequence when mentioning the divine persons, thereby avoiding any suggestion of superiority or inferiority within the Godhead. Indeed every possible arrangement of the divine names is found:
In every instance, there is a precise reason for the sequence in the context of the verse. The divine persons within the Godhead are the same in substance, equal in powder and glory.
"Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:5,6). Two things are stated here concerning Christ. Firstly that he was in the form of God, that is, his nature is that of God. Secondly, that he "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." He considered equality with God to be rightfully his. It is the highest degree of robbery for any mere man or mere creature to pretend to be equal with God.
The Holy Spirit is of one substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, God the very God and eternal God. Paul expressly calls the Holy Spirit "The eternal Spirit" (Hebrews 9:14).
"I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me." (Isaiah 46:9). We advance in knowledge by way of comparison, but where God is concerned we have no real comparison to help us. "To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" (Isaiah 40:18). All sensual analogies are therefore precarious. For instance in trying to explain the Trinity to others, Christians often point out that the chemical H2O can appear as either ice, water or steam. But the illustration perverts the truth. For a start it carries nothing of the truth that God is a personal Spirit. Ice, water and steam do not have the same attributes. Ice is cold while steam is warm. But its most serious error is that it gives the impression that the Trinity is nothing more than the same God merely appearing in three different forms. The same error is perpetuated by comparing the trinity to fire, light and heat, even when scriptures are adduced to show that "God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29), Jesus Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12) and the Holy Spirit is another comforter (John 14:26) that is He gives warmth to the hearts of believers.
The very universe testifies to the Trinity in its arrangement. It is made up of space, matter and time. Space is composed of length, breadth and height. Matter is energy, motion and phenomena. Time consists of past, present and future. This is a reflection of the Triune God who created and sustains all things by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3). A crude objection to the Trinity is to point out that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 not 1. It sums up the one great objection to the Trinity. How can there be unity in 1 + 1 + 1?
The Trinity, the divine Triunity is not 1 + 1 + 1. It is no more so than space is. Add two dimensions together, and you do not get the area of a square. Add three dimensions together, and you do not get the contents, the total space of a cube. Space is not height + length + breadth. How do you measure space? Space is height x length x breadth. You multiply the three dimensions, and you get the contents, the space, enclosed by the three dimensions. Height x length x breadth = space. Until you have the three dimensions, multiplied by each other, you have no space. You have only an imaginary line, or an imaginary plane. Space and reality come when you multiply the three dimensions. Height x length x breadth = space and reality.
Space may not appear to be in the realm of materialism but God is above matter, space and time. God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and he is from everlasting to everlasting (Micah 5:2). God is life (John 11:25) and the ultimate reality. The Trinity is not 1+1+1. The Trinity is 1x1x1. 1+1+1 = 3. But 1x1x1 =1.
The three in One as revealed to us in the God of the Bible is that kind of absolute unity in which each of the three is the whole. Each is not a part of God. Each is God. Each is the whole. We can see such Unity reflected, - infinite, divine, and spiritual though it is, - in space, in matter, in time, in the body-souI-spirit (1 Thess 5:23) of man, and in the space-matter-time universe.
In the Trinity we see its mighty significance not reflected, but in itself. In 1 + 1 + 1 each is a part of the whole. Each is one-third of the whole. But in 1 X 1 X 1 each is the whole. For in such multiplication each unit multiplies and permeates every part of the whole. The Trinity is not an inert division of God into three parts. It is not 1 + 1 + 1. It is the ultimate life. It is 1 x 1 x 1. It is one x one x one = one. It is multiplied, infinitely intensified Reality. It is a living, active, intensive mode of being, in which each of the Three interacts, permeates, penetrates, intensifies, lives in the other Two, and each is the whole.
One x One x One produces an intensive multiplied Unity, deeper, greater, more One, than simple Unity could be.
God is more deeply, infinitely One than He could ever be if He were not also Three. And these three are one.
There is a wonderful harmony and agreement of the doctrine of the Trinity throughout the Bible, God's revelation to man. Throughout the Church age, Christians who believed the Bible they hold in their hands to be infallible have looked with the eye of faith to God the Father who made them, to God the Son who redeemed them, to God the Holy Spirit who regenerates and sanctifies, and have lifted up their hearts in worship to the Tri-une Jehovah, in unison with the saints and angels above, who "rest not day and night, saying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." (Revelation 4: 8).
This is the historic position of the historic Christian faith, the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3), that Christians believed the Bible in their hands to be infallible and perfect, (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25), the word of God which reveals to them the infallible truth of the Tri-unity of the God of the Bible. Consequently, they were persecuted by the Anti-Christ religions throughout the age. Thrown to lions, burnt at the stakes, and suffering every form of torture imaginable, these Christians did not deny the faith produced by the infallible Bible in their hands. For the English speaking people to-day, the Authorised King James Bible is the word of God, the holy scripture given in the English language and "All scripture IS (present tense) given by inspiration of God," (2 Timothy 3:16) and is therefore, inerrant, infallible and preserved (Psalm 12:6,7). This is the present truth (2 Peter 1:12). This infallible Bible declares the infallible truth of the Trinity in 1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these three are one."
Do not allow any charlatan, "scholar" or anyone (God is no respector of persons) to shake your faith in this Bible with their pretension of "Hebrew" and "Greek" renderings, or with their corrupted versions.
God is able to speak exactly what he wants to say to anyone in any language. For the English speaking people today, God has given his word in the Authorised King James Bible, the only Bible authorised by a King. This is God's symbolic way of authenticating this Bible. Translation is just the process by which this scripture is given and "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim 3:16).
The Authorised King James Bible is our absolute and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. Those who question or attack this Bible want to be the final authority themselves. They want to lord over God' s heritage. They are the nicolaitanes (Rev. 2:6) whose deeds Jesus hates.
This Bible is the sure and secure foundation of the believer's hope and assurance of eternal life. To everyone who trusts in every word of God, may the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you: the Holy Trinity of the only God to whom belongs the everlasting glory.
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