IS GOD A TRINITY?
The Bible refers in many place to God while putting Him in the context of three beings. We can see this, for instance, in Matthew 28:19 where Jesus tells the disciples to baptize new disciples in (into) the singular name of three entities!
Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
So we can deduce from this that God is more than one, while at the same time being one! Now let's look at the evidence that Holy Spirit is indeed a person in the Godhead. The third of three!
To a Christian, all their beliefs in God must be consistent. So fitting in with the "Shama" in Deuteronomy 6:4...
Deu 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
... we believe there is only one God. There are not two gods or three gods. We believe there is ONE God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three distinct but NOT separate beings making ONE God!
Once we even put a foot in the door regarding the possibility that Holy Spirit is a personage of the Godhead, the thought will come to mind that God is to be worshipped and yet Jesus always tells us that Holy Spirit will not draw attention to Himself. This is true, but in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul gave us the more complete record of the situation NOW, after the fact of Jesus' death and resurection, when he wrote this...
1 Cor 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. You are not your own; For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
This became true after Jesus' death and resurection made it possible and Holy Spirit
could come and dwell IN us. Your body is NOW a temple of the Holy Spirit and temples
are places of worship.
Mat 12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Here in Matthew's gospel we learn that the Holy Spirit is distinct from Jesus
and the Father. Jesus Himself tells us that anything said against Him (verse 10)
or anyone else (verse 31) will be forgiven, but speaking against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven! While being God, the Holy Spirit is obviously NOT the same
as Jesus and the Father. He's treated differently; He is distinct!
Mark 3:22-29 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebub,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons...” 28 “Truly I (Jesus) say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
So here we get confirmation that Holy Spirit, as distinct from Jesus who made the statement
and God the Father, if He is blasphemed against then this will not be forgiven! Again
showing that God has a different standard for our treatment of Holy Spirit as for
Himself or Jesus!
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Did you notice that Holy Spirit is outraged by some people's actions? Outraged! Is that the reaction of a power or a person? Exactly!
While we are thinking about the distinctiveness of Holy Spirit we can look at His roles in our baptisms.
1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body (Jesus Christ), whether we be Jews or Gentiles..
In this scripture we see Holy Spirit baptising us into Christ. Here Holy Spirit is doing the baptising.
Joh 1:32-33 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit'".
In this scripture John the baptist tells us that Jesus will baptize us with the
Holy Spirit. In this case it's Jesus who is doing the baptising! Not only that,
but John also tells us that Jesus Himself would be baptised by the Holy Spirit
who would descend on Him and remain.
The Holy Spirit also provably has mind and will and intelligence and intellect and has the ability to explore, examine and search the things of God.
1 Cor 2:10 For the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
We are told that God’s Spirit is the Spirit of knowledge and so Holy Spirit has all knowledge, but even so he searches the depth and magnitude of the Father’s plans. And, having that knowledge He shares His knowledge with us! Further, Paul points out...
1 Cor 2:11 No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God..
We can note here that in this section of holy scripture Paul says that 'no one' except the Holy Spirit knows the things of God.
Holy Spirit also uses His mind and intellect to pray for us when we don't know how or what to pray and He intercedes for us in accordance with God's will. By definition also, if He can pray for us when we don't know how to He must have a greater intellect than us, not just be a mere power! Have a look at the book of Romans, in Chapter 8, verses 26-27.
Rom 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
We see in this passage that Holy Spirit prays and intercedes 'for' us,
and doesn't just repeat what we say like a radio communication channel, but
He prays what we would say if we had the mind and intellect to figure it out!
Obviously Holy Spirit would need a mind of His own to do this, and what do you
know, that scripture says He has one!
Jesus said that Holy Spirit would be another counselor just like himself (Joh 14:16) and in the light of what we've seen so far it's interesting to note what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:17 regarding Jehovah God.
2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
It's also Holy Spirit who decides the gifts to give to us as required to do the work that God has called us to accomplish.
1 Cor 12:7-11 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as 'He' wills.
Having distributed various gifts within the body according to His will, the Holy Spirit then makes particular people leaders in the Church, as He decides.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He (God) bought with His own blood.
In keeping with being a person, Holy Spirit has emotions and feelings. He loves and can be hurt emotionally. First let's look at some info on the love of Holy Spirit for and in us.
Rom 15:30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me...
The Holy Spirit loves! In fact the same word used by Jesus to describe that the Father of the
prodigal son embraced or hugged him is used by Luke in Acts and translated to
say that the Holy Spirit 'fell' on to the Centurian Cornelius and his family! The word
translated embraced in Luke 15:20 is the same word translated fell
in Acts 10:44. Both books were written by the same person so it's more than likely that
the author used the word to mean the same thing in the two passages!
Isa 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit: so He turned to be their enemy,
and He Himself fought against them.”
Just as with Jesus and the Pharisees when they maligned Holy Spirit and Jesus
told them that God takes a dim view of this blasphemy, Isaiah tells us that God in the Old
Testsment times took a very dim view regarding those who grieved the Holy Spirit! And
Christians are warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit also.
Acts 5:3-4 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.
Here we see that Luke reports, matter of factly, that lies told toward Holy Spirit are
lies told to God. This, he says, is worse than having lied to human beings. And I hope
you realize that a power (like electricity) cannot be lied to; one lies to another mind!
Notice that Holy Spirit is a 'helper' and 'teacher', and can speak to our minds
and 'remind' us of what Jesus said. A teacher does not just tell you about things,
a teacher has to explain and convey concepts as well as information.
Neh 9:20, “You gave also your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.”
So we see in the O.T. 'goodness' is attributed to Holy Spirit as well as the role of
'instructor'. Goodness is an abstract attribute belonging only to rational, sharing
beings. It has no place in a diffuse power and actually no one is good but 'God!'
Also, we are told that Holy Spirit 'instructed' them.
John 15:26 When the Counselor comes…, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me .
Here Jesus tells us that Holy Spirit, our 'Counselor', is the Spirit of 'truth', which is another abstract concept needing mind (Rom 8:27), not an attribute of power; and that He will testify about Jesus. To testify is to 'speak' on behalf of someone! Holy Spirit speaks to people who are called, on behalf of Jesus.
In Chapter 16, Jesus has a lot more to say about Holy Spirit's attributes. It's
interesting also that Jesus always uses 'He' to refer to Holy Spirit. Greek has a
neuter gender and spirit would normally utilise this gender but Jesus deliberately
uses the masculine gender whenever He speaks of Holy Spirit.
These are all interesting concepts in that they necessitate the mind of Holy Spirit
interacting with our minds to do what Jesus said Holy Spirit would indeed do!
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Holy Spirit brings all these fruit to us! Fruit that are all attributes of a person with heart and mind and emotion! He forms them in us as we mature in Christ Jesus and, this is what you'd expect since Jesus said that Holy Spirit would be a replacement just like Himself!
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,...
We see in the above scripture references that Holy Spirit has all the attributes that one
would expect in a person and further He has the enhanced mind and intellect of God, and will be with
us forever. Having received Him you cannot lose Him!
Holy Spirit has come to be our Companion, our Counselor, our Guide and Instructor, and our ever-present Help.
God the Father is truly 'Almighty'; Jesus has 'All power and authority', so it is not surprising that Holy Spirit also has 'Power', but He has and is much more than that! We are not ignoring the scriptures that speak of Holy Spirit as power. We just recognize that those scriptures that show Holy Spirit's personality, cannot be ignored either. Holy Spirit, being God, is Power and Personality!
I think that we will love God more once we realize that Holy Spirit is indeed a person and is the member of the Godhead living in us, through whom ALL live in us and we in them! Then we will be able to join the fellowship that God has always wanted to have with His human creation and appreciate why Paul said in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verse 14...
2 Cor 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Jesus told us in John, Chapter 14, that He would send us the Comforter/Helper, who is
the Holy Spirit, who would be with us forever, and as a result when we realize who He
is we have opportunity to fellowship with Him 24/7. And our joy of fellowship, Paul
tells us, starts with Holy Spirit in us and then it will extend to the Father and the
Son. And, one cannot 'fellowship' with a power like electricity!
Joh 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
But, we have to ask to receive the Holy Spirit! When we accept Jesus as our Lord and saviour Holy Spirit baptises us into Jesus. We have to ask though, to be baptised into the Holy Spirit by Jesus.
Luk 11:11-13 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!
So, we know from before that Jesus came to baptize us with the Holy Spirit (amongst
other things), and here we see that we have to ask for this gift.
Since many do not ask, is it any wonder they do not know Him!
It would be a shame to miss out on this fellowship (friendship, presence, companionship, advice, teaching, guidance, communion, and intimacy and joy) with God, which Paul encourages us to enjoy by fellowshipping with and praying in the Holy Spirit!
Another way in which we can see God showing us the Trinity is in how He inspires His biblical authors to record the interactions He has with His people!
When He (that is God) wanted to document His dealings with mankind He chose Israel as the group to work through and we can see a great deal about God and His attributes by looking at what He wrote down through them. We see one example of this in Isaiah 54:5:
Isa 54:5 For thy Maker(s) [is] thine Husband; the Lord of hosts [is] His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.
The Lord of Hosts, the Almighty, Our Father, is our maker. Actually as you can check by going to the original hebrew, the original text says thy makers (plural) is thine Husband (singular). This intimates a plurality of persons but one God!
This name, the Lord of Hosts, is nevertheless usually attributed to the Father and
I don't think anyone would argue with that part, even though the plurality idea
might be controversial to some.
Isa 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will
go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this
So here we have the Lord God speaking to Isaiah and sending him out on this mission.
John 12:37 Though He (Jesus) had done so many signs before them, they still did not
believe in Him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
So in the passage above the writer tells us that Isaiah saw Jesus and spoke about Him!
Acts 28:25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one
statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the
So according to Paul it was Holy Spirit who said it to Isaiah!
Deuteronomy 1:26 "Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God;
If we read Isaiah 1, verses 2 to 5, we see that the rebellion of the children of Israel is said to be against the "Holy One of Isreal". Against Jesus in other words, for Jesus is the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 1:2-5 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, "Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. "An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand." Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.
In this passage in Isaiah we are told that Israel rebelled against Jesus but on the other hand if we look at Hebrews 3:7-9 we see this...
Heb 3:7-9 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put Me to the test and saw My works for forty years.
Actually we could have gotten the witness of all three being involved from the Old Testament alone! Have a look at Isaiah 63:10...
Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
So according to Isaiah and the book of Hebrews it was the Holy Spirit that they murmured
and rebelled against!