How Well Do You Know God? (Part 9)
By Tommy Thornhill
In discussing the triune nature of God (three persons united as one Godhead, Godhood), I pointed out that the scriptures teach that all three persons in the Godhead (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) equally share the same essence and nature of God, yet each of them differ from one another in the roles they perform, both in the work of creation and in the perfecting of the scheme of redemption for mankind. In this article, let’s notice some scriptures that show the triune God working together to bring about salvation for mankind.
The NT writers had no trouble showing the unity and the difference of the triune Godhood in the redemption of mankind. As Jesus began His ministry after His baptism by John the immerser, we note the Godhead three all acting in unison, yet in different positions. Jesus, God the Son, “came up immediately from the water; and behold the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” Matt.3:16-17.
Then, as Jesus finishes His life on earth, He gives the great commission to His apostles, instructing them, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matt.28:19. The word, “name” is not repeated three times in the text, but its singularity implies that there is a combined authority of all three manifestations of the triune Godhood. One is not baptized three times, in the name of each person in the Deity, but one time, submitting to the authority of all three included in the one name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Note: Jesus was not giving a baptismal formula to be followed as some assume. He was simply stating that the authority behind the command to baptize people was issued from the triune God. He was teaching the fact that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were of one accord (in complete agreement) in giving the command.
Notice what Pater writes as he addresses the pilgrim Christians. He writes to the, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” 1.Pet.1:2.
The unity of the triune God or trinity is also taught in the dispersal of the spiritual gifts given to some of the early Christians, to confirm the word they were preaching. Notice 1.Cor.12:4-6. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”
When people obey the gospel by submitting to baptism for the remission of sins Mk.16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1.Pet.3:21; they enter into fellowship with the triune God. Paul writes, “Now He (Elohim) who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit” 2.Cor.1:21-22.
Note how Paul concludes his second epistle to the Corinthians. “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.
When one reads these scriptures carefully and honestly, one should not find it difficult to conclude that a triune God exists as one God, and each part of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all work together with a unified will, purpose and action to bring about the spiritual salvation, welfare and ultimately eternal life for all who will believe and obey the gospel plan of salvation and live a faithful life until death Rev.2:10
In writing about the triune God and the plan of salvation a great deal of emphasis is placed on the parts God the Father, and His Jesus Christ plays in the scheme of redemption. People have a pretty good understanding that God the Father purposed the plan of salvation and put it into motion. They also have a good grasp of Jesus Christ, as the one who offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. But, what about the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, what did He do? The importance of His work is not as well known, and sometimes ignored.
How important is the Holy Spirit and His work? Without the work of the Holy Spirit there would be no gospel, no faith, no church, no salvation. Think about it.
When Jesus was eating His last meal with His apostles before His crucifixion He told them they were to become His witnesses to tell the world what He and His Father had done to save mankind Jn.15:27. During this same session He also assured them would have the assistance of “another Helper” (Comforter) to help them bear witness. This Helper, Comforter, would teach them all things, bring to remembrance things He had already taught them, as well as things to come Jn.14-16. This Helper or Comforter was the “Spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit. Then, just before leaving the earth He gave them the Great Commission, Mk.16:15-16; Matt.28:18-20; Lk.24:47. With this commission they would begin to bear witness (preach the gospel). The Holy Spirit came to them on the Day of Pentecost, confirming the words they spoke, doing His work in helping them bear witness of all that Jesus had done Acts 2:32. Paul later testifies to the fact that the Holy Spirt was active in guiding them in preaching the gospel, declaring the grace of God given to save men 1.Cor.2; 2.Thes.2:13-14; Tit.2:5 f. Much more could be said, but suffice to say at this time, that without the Holy Spirt, the third part of the Godhead, doing His part we would know nothing of God’s plan to save mankind, and how it is accomplished. Yes, they are a blessed trinity.
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