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Understanding The Holy Trinity As Distinct Persons

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The Holy Trinity is a Bible doctrine that describes the person of God. It’s called the Holy Trinity because God is thrice holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). It is not a new teaching, as some falsely say, and the reason is because God is an eternal being. Therefore, the term Holy Trinity describes God as He has always been.

Defining the Term

In 1828, Noah Webster defined the word Trinity as “the union of three persons in one Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

The word Godhead is used to express the nature of God. God is Triune in nature; that is, He is three in one, and so one in three. Paul used the word Godhead in the Book of Colossians of Christ.

Colossians 2:8-9: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Paul teaches us here that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, which means that He is divine with all the attributes of God. The adverb bodily, Paul used at the end of verse 9, modifies the word dwelleth, which proves that the nature of God is in Christ.

The Scripture does not say that the Godhead is Christ, but that the fullness of it dwells in Him. Therefore, there is a distinction between Jesus and the other two members of the Godhead. However, this distinction doesn’t make him any less than God Himself. For example, I have a body, soul, and spirit that constitute me (1Thess. 5:23), but my body is not my soul or spirit, and vice versa. They are all three different, yet they are all three me.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all three different, yet they are all the same God. The Father equals God, just as does the Son and Holy Ghost…

The Distinction

The Bible teaches that there is only one God in many places (e.g., Mark 12:32; 1Cor. 8:6; 1Tim. 2:5). However, bad exegesis of this truth has caused many professing Christians to deny the reality of the Holy Trinity. These people are called nontrinitarians or anti-Trinitarians.

Anti-Trinitarians falsely teach that there is no Holy Trinity, but rather there is just one God who plays the role of three non-distinct persons. They claim that the Father and Holy Ghost are different modes of Jesus Christ. This is a false doctrine of “oneness” that only leads to confusion and error.

Where Did “Oneness” Originate?

The “oneness” crowd derives their doctrine from a misunderstanding of Scriptures that teach the harmonious relationship of the Holy Trinity (Jn. 10:30, 17:11).

The false teaching actually began in the 3rd century by a Catholic priest by the name of Sabellius. He invented the false idea that there is only one person in the Godhead, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were just one person with different “offices,” instead of three distinct persons who are one.

There are many Scriptures that refute this ideology; for example, Jesus exalted the Father above Himself, saying words like “My Father is greater than I,” or, “Not My will, but Thine, be done.” However, these words made Him no less than equal to God in essence as a member of the Holy Trinity (Jn. 5:18; Phil. 2:6), but they don’t make Him the person of the Father.

Is the Holy Trinity in Heaven?

False teachers, who substitute the Holy Trinity for “oneness,” teach that there is only one Witness in Heaven. They think that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost physically become one. In other words, they reject that God is three persons as the Godhead. They do not believe in the three persons of the Godhead in Heaven.

1Jn. 5:7-8: For there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.

John is clear that the Father, the Word (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Ghost are one as unified persons, but at the same time, they are distinct. All three are God, yet all three are separate witnesses in Heaven. However, the three do testify in a state of oneness, but they are still distinct members of the Holy Trinity.

In harmony, the three testify in Heaven, even as the three that testify in Earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood. No one claims that water and blood are the same, but water is in the blood, like the Godhead is in Christ.

Conclusion

The truth of the matter is the Bible supports the teaching of one God. However, this one God is three persons. They are not three separate gods, as a polytheist would teach.

Polytheism or tritheism doctrine falsely teaches there is multiple gods. This is false doctrine, for there is only one true God.

God is a tripartite being, like He made man (Gen. 1:26; Jam. 3:9). Every man has a body, soul, and spirit to constitute him; they are distinct, yet not separate. My body is not my soul, yet both are me. In like manner, God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; they are the same true God, yet they are distinct persons of that God.

This is the Holy Trinity. There is only one God, but He is three distinct persons.

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