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God is the Three-in-One: Understanding the Trinity by Jean Wilund
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Have you ever heard the Trinity compared to an egg?
Or water?
Or in Dr. Seuss-ian terms?

This is how I learned about the Trinity. One is right. Two are wrong. (And now I sound like Sesame Street.)

One Teacher Taught Me the Trinity is Like an Egg

An egg consists of a shell, a yolk, and an egg white. One egg, three parts. 

Except the shell of an egg isn’t an egg. It’s just one part of an egg. And so are the yolk and egg white. They’re just parts, whereas the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each wholly God. They’re not three separate parts of God.

No, the Trinity is not like an egg.

Another Teacher Said the Trinity is Like Water

Water can take three different forms—liquid, gas, or solid. It’s one essence that operates in three modes.

Groups that hold to this view see God as having operated as the jealous Father in the Old Testament, the sacrificial Son in the New Testament, and that He’s operating today as the empowering Holy Spirit. 

This watery view of the Trinity is called modalism, which maintains that God doesn’t exist as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the same time. Instead, it teaches God operates as the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.

But God doesn’t operate in a mode. He doesn’t take the form of the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. He is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Separate persons but indivisibly one.

No, the Trinity is not like water.

A Third Teacher Taught Me God is Three Whos in One What.

God is three in person—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and One in essence—God.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the identical essence, nature, and character because they’re all God. And while “three Whos in One What” may sound like the title of a silly Dr. Seuss book, it’s Truth.

Jesus is not the Father, but He is the exact image of the Father (Colossians 1:15). Likewise, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, but He knows the mind of the Father because He’s God (1 Cor. 2:11).

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The three members of the Godhead are one and the same but distinct. They are indivisible but separate. They are the incomprehensible God—three Whos in one What.

Other views of the Trinity float around the church as well. But just as there’s only one correct interpretation of Scripture (God’s), there’s only one correct view of the Trinity (God’s).

What we believe about the Trinity impacts our every decision, therefore we’re wise to study the Bible to understand what it says (not what confused or false teachers tell us) about God, the eternal Three-in-One.

Three Whos—Not Two Whos and One It

The Trinity is not the Father who loves His Son, Jesus who reveals the Father, and the Holy Spirit, a flame of fire. Or a wind. Or a dove—an it.

The Holy Spirit has been revealed through flames, wind, and a dove, but He is most certainly a Who, not an It (John 14:26).

A careful study of the Trinity will inevitably lead us to equal respect for Them, for They’re all equally God. And yet have different roles.

The Father is the head of Christ, who is the head of man (I Cor. 11:3). The Holy Spirit, who lives in Christians, is the power of God unto salvation and the power to grow us into Christlikeness (Acts 1:8).

Consider their work in salvation. If you’re a true Christian, it’s because:

1. God chose you. (Ephesians 1:3-4; John 6:44)
2. Jesus died for you. (Romans 5:8)
3. The Holy Spirit sealed and empowers you. (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; Acts 1:8)

Lean Not on Your Own Understanding

With enough education, we can understand deeply complicated truths. But we simply cannot grasp the unsearchable mysteries and complexities of God and the Trinity. Nothing in our world compares. Fortunately, we don’t have to understand it to embrace it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5

Let’s not despair over what we don’t (and can’t) understand about the Trinity. Let’s embrace what we can (and do) understand, and then trust God with the rest. 

Knowing that God is the Three-In-One Makes a Difference in Our Lives Today

Knowing about the Truth about the Trinity isn’t the same as believing in it.

Head knowledge doesn’t affect change. Heart knowledge does.

Let the Truth of the Trinity transform you, not just inform you.

When you believe and act on what God has said in the Bible about the Trinity . . .

1. You will Grow in Christlikeness

For Christians, the Trinity means that despite our weaknesses, we will become more and more like Christ (Romans 8:29). Some of us may take more shaping to look like the Holy One, but we can stand in confidence that it will happen.

But we won’t change because having His Spirit living in us causes us to try harder to be a better Christian. No, even better.

We’ll become like Christ because God, by His Spirit, is at work in us through Christ giving us the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21).

He will do it. He never fails. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Settle in your heart forever that God is working in you, and He never fails. #TrustTheTrinity #PureFaith Click To Tweet

2. You will Rest in the God Who Meets Your Needs

As the eternal Three-in-One, God has forever enjoyed a perfect relationship within the God-head—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He’s never known a moment of loneliness. He’s never experienced lack. He has no needs.

This is a great comfort because how could we trust God to meet all our needs if He Himself suffers lack? A God who needs is far from comforting.

This unsettling view is reflected in a popular worship song, which says that Jesus “didn’t want heaven without us.” If Jesus needs us to make heaven complete, how can we trust Him to be sufficient for us on earth? 

The Trinity confirms the better Truth that God and heaven have always been perfect without us. Not even the best of us makes heaven more heavenly.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are fully satisfied in the Trinity. This Truth should comfort and humble us, knowing we add nothing to God. None of us adds even a drop to His greatness.

He’s complete. And out of the riches of His completeness, He meets all our needs.

Settle in your heart forever that God is enough for all you need. #TrustTheTrinity #PureFaith Click To Tweet

3) You will feel loved and valued.

The God who doesn’t need us wants us—wants you. He created us out of love—not need—and for His glory.

Stop and consider what manner of love this is that God, who suffers no lack, would choose to create us. Even knowing we’d rebel against Him. Even knowing it would require the death of His own Son to restore us back into a right relationship with Him.

Knowing all that it would cost and all we would do as enemies of God, God still chose to create us. (Romans 5:8-10)

4. You will not compromise God’s standard of holiness.

Whether in our relationships, business and ministry, or personal integrity, trusting in the Trinity will keep us from compromising.

We’ll believe His Word and walk away from temptation by the power of His Spirit at work in us (I Corinthians 10:13)

We’ll walk in confidence, not fear, remembering God is enough for all our needs (John 6:35; Philippians 4:19).

5. You will love others.

God made man in His image. As sinners, we’re a marred image, to be sure. Regardless, God calls us to love others—even the unlovable (John 13:34). We don’t wink at sin or ignore wrongdoing (Proverbs 31:8-9; Jude 1:3-4), but “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

6. You’ll study the Bible to know, love, and enjoy the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The more we come to know the Trinity—the Three Whos in One What—the more our life will resemble marvelous Dr. Seuss-ian oddities—the way up will be down, the last will be first, and our hearts will rejoice and be at rest even in the midst of trials. But only as we come to know God and His character, to love Him, to obey Him out of our great love, and to enjoy a sweet fellowship with Him. (2 Peter 1:1-11).

But we’ll never know the God of the Word—the eternal Three-in-One—until we know the Word of God.

Settle in your heart forever that God doesn’t need you, but He wants you. Click To Tweet

The Trinity Revealed in God’s Word

The word “trinity” isn’t used in the Bible, but the Truth that God is One-in-Three is evident throughout it. The following are just samplings:

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] make man in our image, after our likeness.

Deuteronomy 6:4
 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [Father, Son, Holy Spirit]!

Isaiah 48:16
“Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

Matthew 28:19
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit . . .”

We'll never know the God of the Word—the eternal Three-in-One—until we know the Word of God. Click To Tweet

Luke 3:21-22
“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I [God] am well pleased.”

John 14:26
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My [Jesus’] name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

John 15:26
“When the Helper comes, whom I [Jesus] will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me . . .”

Acts 2:33
“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Jesus] has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Ephesians 2:18
For through Him [Jesus] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

Ephesians 2:22
In whom [Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:4-7
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Hebrews 9:14
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:2
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: may grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

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