The term Holy Trinity isn’t seen anywhere in the Bible. It’s a term we’ve come up with in church in reference to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is a concept that is often difficult to understand, for non-Christians, new converts, and seasoned Christians alike. If God is one, how then is there a trinity? Are there three different Gods, and if so, which one am I supposed to worship—God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?
The best definition I’ve heard given for the Holy Trinity has come from my pastor. He explains it as this: God is one God who has given Himself three different assignments— God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Using music as an example, a musical artist can be a musician, a songwriter, and a singer—three different aspects that come together under one artist. It’s the same with God. He has split Himself up into three parts, all in an effort to be closer to us, but He’s still one God. To understand this better, let’s look at the three parts of the Holy Trinity and see how they all connect and circle back to the one God.
God the Father
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over all the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27; NIV
The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). He created heaven and earth and everything within (Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 45:12), including us. God is our Father. He formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). He made woman from man’s rib (Genesis 2:21-22). The Bible says God formed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5). Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are all created by God, and we are all created in His image. When a son has a very strong resemblance to his father, we may say that he his the “spit’n image” of his father, which is dialect for “spirit and image.” Likewise, we are the “spirit and image” of God. If we look at ourselves in the mirror, we should be able to see God reflected in each of us.
Try not to only think of God as a Father in creation. While He didn’t just create you and me but everyone, and while He didn’t just create the earth but the entire universe, He still wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, He still watches over us and directs our paths. Despite all His mighty works, He still cares for us individually (Psalm 8:3-5), He knows us personally even down to the hairs on our head. In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us that we have a Father in heaven (Matthew 23:9) who cares for us just as much as an earthly father would, and He provides for us, just as an earthly father would (Matthew 6:26; 7:11)
God the Son
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23
Sometimes it’s hard for us to picture God as a Father, as one who cares for us and desires to know us personally. We see Him as this all-powerful being who created heaven and earth, who sits high in heaven and looks down on us. The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24). He can’t be seen; to see God in all His glory would be a death sentence, because He’s so infinite, our finite selves can’t comprehend all of His mystery. He can’t be contained in flesh and bone or a physical address because he’s everywhere (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7), he doesn’t even exist within time itself (2 Peter 3:8). How can someone so big and so great know each of us personally, and how can we know Him? Like the song, “He’s so high you can’t go over him, so wide you can’t go around him, so low you can’t go under him, you have to meet him at the door.” Well, that door is Jesus Christ.
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9
Jesus is the way. No one gets to God the Father except through God the Son (John 14:6). Jesus personifies God for us. It’s through Jesus that we know God’s true love for us. While we were still in sin, we belonged to the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8), but God was willing to come down as a sacrifice to bring us, His people, His creation, back to Him (John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:6). John 1, verses 1 and 14 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, and the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” Jesus is God making the effort, bringing Himself down to our size so that we can understand Him better, not just as a grand architect of the universe, but as a loving Father who wants a relationship with us.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:3-5
Through Jesus, we feel much closer to God, not only because He was a good teacher, but because He is God making Himself known to us. In John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” In John 14:9, He tells Phillip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Jesus teaches us that we can call God Father, that we can come to Him in times of need (Matthew 6:6-8). We have the confidence that God will accept us now because of Jesus. We know that God understands the problems of life that we face because He Himself lived it through Jesus (Hebrews 4:15-16). As I said before, Jesus makes God personable for us.
God the Holy Spirit
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11
The third manifestation of God is the Holy Spirit. Since the man Jesus no longer walks this earth, and God the Father is much too vast, every believer has the Holy Spirit inside them, a piece of God to carry with them everywhere they go. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God (Luke 11:13; John 14:16). He who lived with Jesus (Luke 3:22; 4:1) now resides in each of us who believe.
The Holy Spirit is Jesus living in all of us. When He promises His disciples the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:17-18). Notice how when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit, He never uses the word “it”; instead, He uses the personal pronoun “he/him.” He wants us to understand that the Holy Spirit isn’t a thing, He is God Himself, just as Jesus is. This all comes together in the next two verses: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and your are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:19-20).
As Jesus is a Teacher, so is the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that He “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). He is our helper and guide on the inside (John 16:13), and just as Jesus has made God known to us, so will the Holy Spirit. “He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mind and make it known to you” (John 16:14-15).
The Holy Spirit is proof that God lives, and that Jesus lives as well. If we have a relationship with God, we have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us, He leads and directs us, He tells us what’s to come. If Jesus brings God closer to us, the Holy Spirit makes Him even closer. Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians saying, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16), and again in 1 Corinthians 6:19 when he says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
To sum it all together, God is now the closest to us He has ever been. Before, He was just a distant creator, a Father but only in the aspect that He made us because that was all we could comprehend. Then Jesus came along, and we learned that God loves us, that He was willing to become a man and die so that we could know Him. And now we know that He has never left us. He is the source of life, the resurrection. Through Him we too have life, and now He is with us to guide us every step of the way through the Holy Spirit. Three versions of God He has created, all in an effort to bring us closer to Him.
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am will pleased.” Luke 3:21-22
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for your love, your mercy, and your faithfulness. What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made us a little lower than the angels, yet you have done so much for us. You’ve manifested yourself in three different ways so that we can know you better. You are the great I Am, Lord. You are our Creator, your are our Savior, and you are our Counselor and Helper. After seeing all that you have done for us, only a fool would say you do not exist. We believe in you, Lord, in every form of you, and we desire to know you more, to get even closer to you, for you said in your word that you desire loyalty rather than sacrifice and the knowledge of you rather than burnt offerings. Don’t ever leave our sides, Lord, continue to bless us with your presence, and we will forever praise you, obeying your commands, and fulfilling your will here on earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.