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and the Trinity
By Gary F. Zeolla
The Father and
To glorify Himself, and because of His great love, the Father (the first Person of the Trinity) sent His Son (the Second Person of the Trinity) to die for the sins of His people (Matt 1:21; Rom 5:8; Eph 1:12; 2:4-7; Col 1:12-14; 1John 4:10).
The Son had to become like us (fully human) to be able to stand in our place, pay for our sins, and be our Mediator before the Father (1Tim 2:5; Heb 2:17). And because of Jesus' full humanity, He can identify with our struggles (Heb 2:18; 4:15).
For our salvation to be secured, the Son also had to be fully God. A finite sacrifice would not have sufficed. Only a sacrifice of infinite worth could atone for all the sins of all the children of God (John 11:49-52; Rev 5:9; 7:9,10).
And Jesus' Deity means He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. So He can commune with all who believe in Him, and hear and answer our prayers. A finite being could not engage in such interactions with the whole multitude of believers scattered throughout the world (Matt 18:20; 28:20; 1John 2:1,2; 5:14,15; Rev 3:20).
So the Son's full humanity and full Deity are essential to our forgiveness, salvation, and ability to have a relationship with Him and with the Father. This fact was recognized by the Apostles. So they strongly proclaimed and defended these two natures of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14; Phil 2:5-8; Col 2:9; 1John 4:1-3; 2John 7).
The Church Fathers also fearlessly taught and defended this doctrine which was "delivered" to them. And Christians today must continue to "contend earnestly" for the fact that Jesus Christ is one Person with two natures (Jude 3).
The Father, the Son, and the
The Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity) is sent by the Father and the Son to indwell God's children and to enable them to believe in Christ (John 14:26; 15:26,27; 16:7; 1Cor 12:3; Gal 4:3-6). Believers are then led, assured of their salvation, and loved by the Spirit (Rom 8:14-16).
The Spirit also helps us to pray to the Father (Rom 8:26,27). Fellowship with the Spirit is possible (2Cor 13:14). We can even be comforted by Him! (Acts 9:31).
Only a Person could engage in such interactions. And He would have to be infinite (and thus God) to be able to indwell all of God's children (Psalm 139:7-10; 1Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2Cor 6:16). For these reasons, Christians must also "contend earnestly" for the full personality and full Deity of the Holy Spirit (2Cor 3:17).
Due to the work of the Son and the Holy Spirit, believers can enter "boldly" (with confidence) into the presence of the Father (Heb 4:16; 9:14; 10:19-22). And, of course, the Father is God; so He is able to extend His mercies to all His chosen ones (2Cor 1:3,4; Eph 1:3-7; 3:20,21; Phil 1:6; 4:19,20; 1Pet 2:9,10; 5:6-11).
And finally, there is only one God and He has decreed there will be only one way of salvation (Isa 43:10,11; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1John 5:12).
In sum, for salvation to be secured, several points need to be true: the Father must be God; the Son must be fully God and fully human; the Spirit must be a Person who is God; these three must be distinct Persons; and there can be only one God.
All of this is to say, FORGIVENESS AND SALVATION ARE DEPENDENT ON THE TRINITY! (Matt 28:19,20; John 5:23; 8:24; Rom 8:9-11; 2Thes 2:13,14; 1Pet 1:1-5; 1John 2:23).
So the doctrine of the Trinity is essential to the Christian faith. As such, Christians must be ready to explain and defend this doctrine (2Tim 4:2; 1Pet 3:15). And it is to these ends that this ministry is dedicated.
Note: All Scripture references from: The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, unless otherwise indicated.
Forgiveness, Salvation, and the Trinity. Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).
The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light
newsletter in 1994.
It was posted on this Web site in July 1996.
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