Thursday, June 13, 2013

For the Local Paper: What Christians Believe About the Holy Trinity.

Note: This was the third part of a series on various chuch year holy days that ran in our local paper, The Huntington Beach Wave, under the faith and values section. The series began with Ascension, followed next by Pentecost, and was completed with a doctrinal treatment on what Christians believe about the Holy Trinity. As usual, these articles for the local paper are brief, 430 words to be precise. However, I recall one of my seminary professors saying that the more we try to explain the Trinity, the more likely we are to run into heresy regarding the Trinity. Perhaps there is an advantage to brevity after all! In any event, thank you for reading and enjoy.
  Do Christians believe in one God or three gods? Do Christians claim Jesus is God himself or merely a son of God? Who or what is the Holy Spirit? And what do Christians mean when they say, “We believe in the Trinity?”

 Christians use the word Trinity to describe how God reveals himself in the Bible. Although the word “trinity” isn’t found in the Bible, the teaching is. The Bible reveals a paradox – not a contradiction – about the Trinity. There’s only one God; and this one God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Christians confess in the Athanasian Creed, “We worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in unity.”

 When it comes to the nature of the Trinity, many would agree with Dorothy Sayers, who whimsically wrote, “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible.”

 No wonder people try explaining the Trinity with clever analogies: A three-leaf clover, or three forms of H2O (water, steam, ice), and so forth. However, all analogies break down and result in false teaching if pushed too far. The problem is we’re trying to explain the inexplicable. After all, a God we could understand perfectly would be a pretty poor excuse for a God (think of the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses).

 That’s why Christians confess, “I believe,” rather than, “I fully comprehend.” And that’s okay. We operate this way daily. For example, you can fly on an airplane without knowing physics or drive a car without being a mechanic (thankfully in my case!).  We may not understand how these things work but we trust them anyway. Similarly, we may not be able to explain how there is one God who exists as three persons; yet we can believe and confess this teaching based on God’s word.

 Moreover, although we can’t completely understand the Trinity, God has indeed made himself known to us. How? Not by analogies, but in time and space in human history, as we’ve explored in previous articles.

 The incomprehensible God made himself known in the person of Christ. The untouchable, unseen God took on human flesh. The play-write became part of the play. God was born in a manger. God was seen, heard, and touched. God bled, suffered, and died on the cross. God rose from the dead. Why? For you and your salvation.

 The love of the Triune God is revealed for you in Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.  The Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - created, redeemed, and now makes you holy through his word. And that’s what the Trinity is all about.

 

1 comment:

  1. WHAT DID THE FIRST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?

    THE CHURCH OF CHRIST HAD ITS BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST 33 A.D.. WHAT BELIEFS AND ACTIONS DID THE THREE THOUSAND CONVERTS TO CHRIST HAVE IN COMMON? DID GOD APPROVE OF EVOLVING BELIEFS, DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION? IF THAT WERE TRUE, THEN WOULD IT NOT BE FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

    Acts 2:41 So then, those who received his word were baptized; and there were added about three thousand souls. Acts 2:47....And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    All three thousand believed the apostle Peter's message and were baptized in water. Then they were added to the Lord's church by the Lord Himself. The Lord did not add the unsaved to His church. They had to believe and be baptized in water prior to being added to the body of Christ.

    1. Acts 2:22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know---

    All three thousand believed Jesus was a miracle worker.

    2. Acts 2:31-32 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

    All three thousand believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    3. Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ---this Jesus whom you crucified."

    All three thousand believed that Jesus was Lord and Christ.

    4. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    All three thousand repented in order to have sins forgiven. (repentance meant that they made the commitment to turn from their unbelief and sinful lifestyle and turn toward God).

    All three thousand were baptized in water in order to have their sins forgiven.

    All three thousand received the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit after they believed, repented, and were baptized in water.

    5. Acts 2:40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

    All three thousand were saved after they believed Peter's message: They believed, repented, confessed, and were baptized in water. (Mark 16:16, John 3:16, Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:35-38) THEN THEY WERE ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH! (Acts 2:47)

    WHAT THINGS DID PETER NOT PREACH AND WHAT THINGS DID THE THREE THOUSAND NOT BELIEVE.

    1.Peter did not preach that men were saved by grace alone.

    2.Peter did not preach that men were saved by faith only

    3.Peter did not preach that God had selected a few to be saved and that all others would go to hell.

    4. Peter did not preach that water baptism was not essential to salvation.

    5. Peter did not preach that Jesus was just one of many Saviors.

    6. Peter did not preach that once you were saved, that you could continue in a sinful lifestyle and still be saved.

    7. Peter did not preach that God did not have the power to give us an inerrant translation of the Scriptures.

    8. Peter did not preach that God would provide hundreds or thousands of different Christian denominations, and that they would teach different ways of being saved.

    9. Peter did NOT preach that you had to speak in tongues as evidence that you were saved.

    AS BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, MEN SHOULD USE THE BIBLE AS THEIR GUIDE FOR SALVATION. Looking to man-made creed books, Bible commentaries, denominational statements of faith, and church catechisms, is looking in all the wrong places for the absolute truth!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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