One of the mysteries of the Bible is the nature of God himself; that God is Trinity.
Trinity means tri-unity – three in oneness. There is diversity in unity.
God is three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and each person in fully God.
Yet, we believe in one God, not three.
The word “Trinity” does not occur in the Bible and opponents of Christianity are very quick to point that out. But the Bible certainly teaches the fact that God is Trinity.
There are many other words that do not occur in the Bible either.
The words “Sunday School” are not in the Bible. But the importance of teaching children in an age-appropriate way is.
The word “confirmation” is not in the Bible. But the necessity of discipling young people in the Christian faith is, which confirmation seeks to do.
The word “abortion” is not in the Bible. But the Bible does teach that every human being has value and to murder is wrong. The Bible also teaches that life begins at conception, not magically at birth.
While the word “Trinity” may not occur, the Bible certainly does teach that God is Triune.
E.g. Genesis 1:2, 26; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:18-20; John 1:1; 2 Corinthians 3:14 etc
There are two heresies we must watch out for:
Adoptionism teaches that Jesus was an enlightened human being. God adopted Jesus as His Son at Jesus’ baptism and gave him some godlike powers. We too should seek to be enlightened, like Jesus, so that we too may be adopted into God’s family.
Adoptionism is wrong because Jesus did not become God the Son at his baptism. He was always, from eternity past, God the Son.
At Jesus baptism, God the Father publicly confirmed what was always true.
Christianity does not teach that we should become enlightened like Jesus, rather that we should trust in Jesus to save us.
Modalism affirms that God is one and reveals himself in different modes.
One form of modalism teaches that in the Old Testament God revealed himself as Father. In the New Testament God appeared as Jesus, God the Son. Now, in the church age, God reveals himself as Holy Spirit.
One God appearing in different modes.
Most illustrations used to explain the Trinity tend to fall into the modalism category. E.g. God being like water – solid, liquid or gas.
Modalism falls short of the biblical evidence.
For example, at Jesus baptism, we see that the Trinity is much more than three modes. Jesus is baptized. The Holy Spirit descends like a dove. God the Father speaks from heaven.
Jesus is distinct from the Father. Jesus and the Father are distinct from the Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that God is three persons, and each person is fully God.
Yet, we believe in One God, not three.
Article 1 (on “The Holy Trinity”) of the 39 Articles of Religion , states:
There is only one living and true God. His existence is everlasting, without beginning or end…He is the Creator and Preserver of all things whether seen or unseen. In the unity of this one true God there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are one in being, power and eternity.
What a glorious God we serve.