Who’s ready to get themselves confused? I see that hand; so let’s go: The Trinity.
There is only one God as is declared succinctly in Deuteronomy 6:4. This idea is also conveyed by the 1st commandment (Exodus 20:2 – 3) and is most assuredly continuously taught by the News Testament (James 2:19). And I know what you are yelling at your screen right now; WE KNOW THIS, SO WHY DO YOU THROW THE WORD TRINITY AT ME?!?? The answer is simple, because the Bible does not stop there in its’ description of God.
The Bible presents God as different persons throughout. The Father is easily seen as the God of the Old Testament and of Jesus (Matthew 6:26 & John 4). However, Jesus is presented as God as well in places such as: John 1:1 – 5 equating the Word (Jesus) with the God, Philippians 2:5 – 11 where Jesus is described as of the substance of God and being preexistent, Luke 12:8 – 9 where the angels of God are Christ’s angels, Matthew 12:28 & Mark 13:20 where the Kingdom of God and the chosen of God are also Jesus’. And you have the Holy Spirit presented as God: Acts 5:3 – 4 equates the Spirit with God, John 16:8 – 11 where the Spirit’s work is God’s work, Matthew 28:19 where the Spirit is included and on par with Father & Son.
No one wants to defend the doctrine of the Trinity because it hurts our brains; we defend the doctrine of the Trinity because of Scripture. The inspired, inerrant, infallible, and sufficient Bible describes God as one being/essence and three persons; therefore we have 3 in 1; or a tri-unity (trinity).
Now one charge leveled against the doctrine of the Trinity is that it elevated Jesus to the status of divinity at a time when that was necessary (i.e. the 4th century). Two answers are needed for this charge. First off, if you can read your New Testament and not see the divine power working in Jesus there may not be any hope for you. Jesus’ miraculous work of: healing, casting out demons, controlling weather, creating food from nothing, overcoming death in others (and Himself) were all declarations of His divine attributes. You also have Matthew 5 (and other places) where Jesus equates His teaching with the authoritative, inspired Old Testament; meaning Jesus taught with the authority that only God had. He was more than a prophet (Hebrews 1 – 4). Second, yes the doctrine of the Trinity is defined relatively later (Council of Nicea in 325), but there are legitimate reasons for that. Namely the persecution of the church until the early 300’s; it is very hard to have deep doctrinal conversation when people are dying relatively easily. The other reason is the challenge of Arianism. Arius challenged the understood idea of Jesus being divine (God), by teaching Jesus was a created being (hello Jehovah’s Witness’, meet your father). The challenge of Arius is what spurred the need for clarification; until this point it was not debated. You do not put out orthodox statements in response to everyone agreeing with you.
Nicea clarifies what was and is the Biblical and historical understanding of who God is
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
This is the historic creed of the church and a necessary understanding to rightly define: God, Jesus and His work, our relationship to God (2 John 7 – 11).
So what?!?? You said this stuff was going to be important to my life!!!!! This is a tough one, because this seems so outside of us and beyond our comprehension. That is precisely why it is so important to your life. God is greater than we can even imagine; He is in relationship in and of Himself. He is in harmony in His nature, and love within His being. Wrap your head around that I dare you. Having trouble praying or praising God; then think on the Trinity for a few minutes and let your spirit open up in praise, thanksgiving, and prayer to a great, mighty, and incomprehensible God. The second way this is important is it gives me a secure connection to God. If I am with Christ then I am with God. If I am with Christ then I have received the Holy Spirit (God) and I am in communion and working with Him directly, ALWAYS. There is no tether to be cut or line that can be crimped, He is mine and I am His, because He is always.