Last night we continued our study of how God has revealed Himself as the Trinity by looking at the way God progressively revealed this truth about Himself over time. Here are the notes:
We tend to start with our own ideas about God – which means, for us, we tend to start with a mono-God. In other words, we start with the idea that “there is one God,” and then we assume we know everything that means.
- …then, we struggle with the “three-ness” of God. Christians: We need to fight this tendency all the time, and always let the Bible tell us who God is. Non-Believers: where do you get your information about God? How do you know what He’s like?
- Instead, we should start with scripture, to see what God has told us about Himself. When we stick to how God has revealed Himself, we can start to form a picture of who He actually is.
1. The Old Testament Witness: Yahweh is the only true God. There is only one real God, not many, and it is the Lord God of Israel, Jehovah. See Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Isaiah 44:6, 8; Jeremiah 10:10-11. So yes, we see that The Lord is the only true God…
2. But, there were hints at the plurality in God in OT times. There are many things in the Old Testament that don’t make sense if God is not a Trinity, but is instead a single, unitary (or “monadic”) being. Some example are:
- Multiple Appearances of Yahweh: Exodus 23:20-23; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 2:1-5; also Genesis 18-19.
- The Coming Divine Messiah: Psalm 45:6-7; Is 9:6; Isaiah 48:12-16
- Other hints/Plural language: Genesis 1:26-28; Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (connected to Genesis 2:24)
3. Then, Jesus came and further defined and expanded our understanding of God. So, in the Old Testament we have this key to understanding God we can’t forget: God is Personal. (Unlike a “force,” or “disembodied being itself,” or something like a big ocean of “over-soul.”) But in the New Testament, we have the answer to this question: How is God personal? What is the personhood of God like?
See Luke 1:29-35; Matt 1:22-23; Mark 4:41; Luke 20:41-44; John 20:28-29; 1:1. In these verses we have the revelation that Jesus is God. In other words, we know the Lord of Israel is the only true God, and that there’s only one of Him, but as the first Christians interacted with Jesus, they realized they (like Thomas in John 20) had to include Jesus in their concept of God. God included Son and Father. (And of course, Spirit, as we see Jesus explaining in passages like John 14:15-18, 26.)
So, after we’ve met Jesus, what does it mean for us to say God is personal? Well, we have to say something like, “He is Tri-personal.” He is Father, Son, and Spirit in relationship to each other. This relationship is how God has always been. In other words, it is an eternal relationship or three eternal persons, who have always, all, been one God.
4. The Point: If you want to know God, look at Jesus. God is Father, Son, Spirit. See John 1:18; John 14:9-10; John 10:14-15; Luke 10:22 – Jesus is God…The Son. Or you could say something like, God is Father sending Son who is anointed by the Spirit. A key to remember: This is who God really is. If Jesus isn’t really revealing God to us, than we have no way of knowing who God is for real. God is Father sending Son who is anointed by the Spirit.
God may be beyond what we could have figured out, but He is not distant or unknowable. He is a God who is able to be known, because of who He is. And because of who He is, He wants to bring us in to this eternal relationship. He wants you in the family. If you don’t already know Him, are you willing to come to God through Jesus Christ?