“Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut.6:4).
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).
In his inspired Word, God has revealed as much of himself as he wants his people to know. The Bible reveals God to man; and apart from what is written in its pages, all is speculation.
The heathen have throughout the ages worshipped many different ‘gods.’ In stark contrast to this, in the Holy Scriptures there is an emphatic declaration, in Deut.6:4: “The Lord our God is ONE LORD.” And throughout the Bible, the fact that there is only one God, one true and living God, is made abundantly clear. “For all the gods of the nations are idols” (Psa.96:5) – not true gods, but merely the creations of unregenerate men. “The Lord our God is ONE LORD”!
The Lord Jesus Christ, himself, repeated the words of Deut.6:4, in Mk.12:29 and other places. He asserted this truth. There are not many gods; not even two gods; there is only one God. And we find this truth asserted in other parts of the New Testament as well. As Paul the apostle wrote, “we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one” (1 Cor.8:4).
But – just as certainly as the Bible asserts that there is only one true and living God – so it asserts that the one true God eternally exists in three divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is one God; but three persons in the one Godhead. A deep, unfathomable mystery; but a revealed truth of the Word of God, received by faith by all saints, but oh! how hated and assaulted by the enemies of truth!
We speak of the ‘Holy Trinity.’ The word, ‘Trinity,’ is not found in Scripture; and for this reason many have denied the doctrine. How foolish! The word ‘Bible’ (as we use it) is not found in Scripture either; but men understand that this word – ‘Bible’ – is a useful one, and refers to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. And in fact, there are many words which are not found in Scripture, but which we use because they have been found useful to convey some truth or other. ‘Trinity’ means, ‘the union of three persons in one Godhead.’ Whether the word is employed or not, the doctrine is true; the doctrine cannot be removed from the pages of Scripture by rejecting a word used to describe it. Indeed, we do not have to use the word at all; the doctrine of three persons in one Godhead can be expounded without it. But it can be a useful word; and there is no sin in employing it.
Think of the word, ‘unity.’ The enemies of the biblical doctrine of three divine persons in one Godhead will often readily use the word ‘unity’ – even though this word is not used in Scripture in reference to God either – but will loudly condemn the use of the word ‘trinity’ in reference to God. The reason: they hate the doctrine, and so they assail a particular word used to define it.
Let it be said again: the doctrine is true, whether we use this particular word to describe it or not. And so it is to the doctrine that we must go.
That there are three divine persons in one Godhead, is clearly set forth in Scripture; but how this is so, is not explained. Nor should we wonder at this. God is God, and we are to receive his revelation of himself, by faith. We must search, and discover, as much as he reveals about himself, in his Word; and not probe beyond what is written. If finite man could understand everything about God, then God would not be God. If we approach this great deep, expecting that our feeble minds are capable of probing beyond what is plainly revealed, we will be disappointed. Scripture says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Heb.11:6) – yes, and that he is as he has revealed himself to be, in his Word – whether we can fully fathom it, or not.