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The Holy Trinity

Written by | June, 2012
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“…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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19–20

We learned from our pastors in Confirmation Class that God is triune. We also learned that the word triune means ‘three in one.’ We believe that God is triune because He has revealed that to us in His Word, the Bible—not because we can comprehend this truth or fit it into our little heads.We would do well to remember that God doesn’t ask us to comprehend Him, but only that we take Him at His Word and trust Him. The triune nature of God is a truth that can be appropriated only by faith. Jesus describes God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is God (2 Corinthians 1:3); the Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:8-9); and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4).

At the same time, the Bible defiantly states that there is only one God (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Timothy 2:5). As those who tremble at God’s Word and accept its teachings without reservation, we conclude and teach that God is triune, and we celebrate the fact that God has revealed Himself to be a Holy Trinity. Moreover, we try to help one another begin to understand the nature of God by using symbols like the triangle. Since a triangle has three sides and three corners to make the unit, the triangle has long been used as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.

Sad to sad, the cults and some Reformed churches claim that the Holy Trinity is not taught in the Bible. Among the reasons offered are the following.

1) It is said “The word trinity is not used in the Bible.”

Answer: It is true that the word is not used in the Bible… and neither is the word theocracy. We Americans are proud of the fact that the USA is a democracy, a nation governed by the people and for the people, whereas a theocracy is a nation governed by God. Anyone who reads the Old Testament can easily see that Israel was a theocracy, a nation governed by God. So…shall we deny this reality because the word theocracy is not used in the Bible? That would be foolishness… and a quibbling over words.

2) It is said, “God would not ask us to accept something we can’t understand.”

Answer: Really?! There are many things I don’t understand yet still believe. For example, I don’t understand how a dead body can come to life again, but I do know that Jesus rose from death. My human reason tells me that it is impossible for a woman to become pregnant without a man, but I know that is exactly what happened to the Virgin Mary. God Himself accomplished what is impossible in nature…because “with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). God has plainly declared in His Word that the Savior was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. That is true whether or not we can understand or comprehend it with our minds.

Finally, God doesn’t promise that we sinful mortals will always understand and comprehend all His ways. In fact, He indicates that we probably won’t, because His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9). So what then can we learn from the words of the risen Christ quoted at the beginning of this article? With these words the living and exalted Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gives us our ‘marching orders’ and lays our mission before us—to “make disciples of all the nations.” He also indicates how that mission is to be carried out–by baptizing and teaching. Jesus’ disciples are to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It is evident that these are three different persons and that they are equals… because of how Jesus uses the word and! The three Persons are placed together because they are co-equal and united in majesty and power.* These words do not require our assent to be true… they are themselves true and accurate. They are the words of our Savior Jesus, and they describe our God as triune—as the Holy Trinity.

* The fifth century Athanasian Creed is accepted among us as one of the universal statements of Christian belief. It has much good to say regarding the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It’s found on page 53 in the forepart of The Lutheran Hymnal, but I suppose you can ‘google’ it. – Editor.