Three Persons: One God
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in reaching people of various faiths with the Gospel is the biblical teaching of a triune God: One God, three persons. To followers of many religions, this is equivalent to polytheism. In other words, much of the world believes that Christians worship three gods. No wonder they recoil at the idea. Maybe, if we understood the biblical concept of trinity better, we would be more able to share confidently and accurately when the opportunity arises.
We know, of course, that the word Trinity is not found in the Bible – not even in its original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. However, the concept of a Trinitarian God is inferred in the Old Testament and is clearly found throughout the New Testament. One example is from Romans 15:30, when Paul refers to all three Divine Persons when he asks for fellow believers to pray for him, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” There are benedictions and teachings in the epistles that include reference to all three persons of the godhead as well (see Ephesians 2:18, 1 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 1:4-5 for examples). And Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are clearly seen in the accounts of Jesus’ baptism and in His commission to His disciples in Matthew 28:19.
With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to include some teaching about the Trinitarian nature of the God of the Bible and, in so doing, help us to be prepared when someone of another faith wants to talk seriously with us about the one true God.
We will close this post with a prayer that Anglican pastor-teacher-author-leader John R. W. Stott prayed every morning before he got out of bed. It’s full of good theology, but also glorious worship and inspiration:
“Good morning heavenly Father.
Good morning, Lord Jesus.
Good morning, Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I worship You, Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Lord, Jesus, I worship You, Saviour and Lord of the world.
Holly Spirit, I worship you, Sanctifier of the people of God.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in Your presence and please You more and more.
Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow You.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me. Amen.”*
Also found in the Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott, by Roger Steer