In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last week we saw that the God of the Bible is the only God in existence. This week I want to look at how many persons are in the Godhead.
The Bible tells us that although God is one, there are three persons in the Godhead. The persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The theological term for this understanding of God is called the trinity.
But is the trinity in the Bible? Yes. At Jesus’ baptism we see God in three persons at the same time: ‘As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”’ (Matthew 3:16-17). This text shows that the trinity is not one God who takes on three masks at different times (this view is known as Sabellianism or modalism). At the same time the Son is baptised, the Father speaks from heaven, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove on the Son. God in three persons.
Another example of the trinity being taught is when Jesus is about to return to heaven but gives some baptismal instructions to his disciples: ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:18-20). Note that the name that Christians are to be baptised into is singular – that is, it says ‘name’, not ‘names’ as you would expect if there were three gods. But then three names are given. Thus we can conclude that God is one, yet three persons.
And another helpful text to show evidence of the trinity is from Paul. He writes: ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14). Paul’s benediction for the Corinthians is that he wants blessing not just from God the Father, but from the Son and Spirit too.
So do you trust in the God who is three persons, blessed trinity? Or do you worship a God who is not the God of the Bible?