The Bible, as THE BOOK of books, holds within its volumes the actions of God in creation. We learn much of God’s actions with man, both in righteous wrath as well as, His merciful hand of redemption. But one particular doctrine has always been central to the church: the blessed Trinity.
When we gather to worship our God Sunday to Sunday, we must begin by asking the question, “Who is the God that we worship?” When we meet, we must have an understanding of whom we are looking to worship, to glorify, and render solemn commitments.
The Bible teaches us that God has always existed as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), in three persons (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). A rejection of this basic belief, is a rejection of Christianity itself.
The trinity has often been a point of difficulty in the church. We have a difficult time explaining it because nothing else in creation mirrors this trinity (or tri-unity). Nevertheless, our triune God (Father, Son and, Holy Spirit) is the God of the Bible who has revealed Himself in this way. Therefore, we must seek to understand who He is, and what He has said concerning Himself.
The early church sought to express the relationship due to a controversy brought about by one individual named Arius (AD 256-336). To sum it up, Arius taught that there was a time when Jesus did not exist, therefore, Jesus was not God, but rather an elevated creation. Needless to say, the faithful rose up to combat this false teaching or heresy. The man whom we now call Saint Nick (or Santa Claus) is actually recorded as punching Arius square in the face over the divinity of Jesus Christ.
God used another man, named Athanasius (AD 296-373) to ardently fight against the heresy of Arius known as Arianism. Athanasius fought for the truth that the Son, Jesus Christ, was not created, but was of the same substance or being of the Father, i.e., that Jesus was in fact God. The entire church assembled in a council to discuss this particular doctrine and eventually gave birth to the Nicene creed (AD 325; finalized in AD 381).
The Nicene Creed teaches that Jesus was “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” The deity or Godhood or divinity of Christ was made the central reflection of the Creed. In addition, the divinity of the Holy Spirit was made clear, as they wrote these words concerning the Spirit: “with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified”.
A clear window comes to us from Matthew 3:13-17, at the baptism of the Lord Jesus. There we find God the Holy Spirit descending as a dove upon God the Son. We also see God the Father speaking from Heaven over His Son. There are indeed three persons present, distinguished in what they do, and yet unified as one as God. To put it simply, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, yet the Father is not the Son nor the Spirit, and the Son is not the Father nor the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father nor the Son. (c.f. “Athanasian Creed”)
You are perhaps thinking to yourself, “What does this mean to me?” Well, if it is true that Jesus is God the Son, who existed before Mary’s virgin conception, then it means that for a time Christ Jesus laid down His eternal crown & glory for your soul (cf. Phil. 2:5-11). Christ Jesus determined to save us. There was no other means to bring about our total redemption. Only through His incarnation, or taking on flesh, could anyone be saved.
The infinite chasm that stood between God and Man could only be rectified by the God-Man. This is what makes Christmas so sweet. God does not bestow trinkets upon us that are subject to moth and rust. He gives us His own precious Son born to a virgin. Why did God the Son come? As the old hymn goes, “Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.” God has given Himself to us in Christ, will you give yourself wholly unto Him?
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