Monday, December 10, 2012
1st John Chapter 5 part 4
5:6-8 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one, cont.
There are the theophanies of God throughout the Old Testament. We find such episodes in Genesis chapters 18 and 32, Exodus chapter 34, Judges chapter 13, Isaiah chapter 6; Ezekiel chapters 1 and 2, etc. Yet we are informed in Scripture that no man has seen God the Father, John 1:18; 6:46; 1st John 4:12. Who is this God whom we have never seen, yet has been frequently seen? It is a terrible mystery, unless the truth of the trinity, taught in both the Old and New Testament, is reality.
Not shockingly, the doctrine of the trinity becomes clearer as we enter the New Testament. We find in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River that the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven as a dove, and the Father spoke to those standing by, Matthew 3:16-17. Here we find at once the trinity involved in the commencement of Christ’s earthly ministry. When Matthew concludes his account of the gospel he finishes with these words from our Lord: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19. The singular name of God (Baptize them in the name of…) is actually three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Trinitarian theology is clearly evidenced in Paul’s benediction in 2nd Corinthians 13:14. The apostle writes “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (see John 1:17), and the love of God (see John 3:16), and the communion (more appropriately translated “fellowship”) of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” We see the necessity of the trinity in a believer’s daily life as each member of the Godhead participates in our daily walk. Likewise the trinity was intimately involved in our redemption. We read “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse[s] your conscience from dead works to serve the living God,” Hebrews 9:14. God is defined by the three persons of the trinity. As height, width and depth combine to give us a three dimensional image so we need each of these individual measurements to truly have the object in question. A picture of a tree is not the same as a living, three dimensional tree in our yard. As height, width and depth are separate measurements yet create a complete and complimentary three dimensional image, so too can God only be defined accurately by means of the trinity. More importantly, this is how God declared Himself to us.
John’s gospel gives a detailed account not only of Christ’s deity, but of the triune nature of God throughout. From the outset we read “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,” John 1:1-2. In Genesis the account is much simpler: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1. The Word, who was with God in the beginning was likewise God, and is also credited with creating men, angels and the universe, Colossians 1:16. The Bible records that it was Jesus, God the Son, who did the actual creating in the beginning.
John chapters 14-16 can only be clearly understood in light of a Trinitarian view of God’s person. John 14:26 and 15:26 both address the Holy Spirit as a person who is coming to essentially replace Christ on this earth, to dwell with the body of believers and teach them as Jesus had done while He was with them. As Jesus testified of the Father on earth, so would the Holy Spirit testify of the Son. It is the activity of the Holy Spirit on this earth that brings conviction of sin and leads sinners to the Son for salvation, John 16:7-15.