God's Threeness Topical Study

<h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>What does the Bible say about God&#39;s threeness?</strong></h2><h3 class="heading-sm">Divinity and distinctness of God the Father</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/James%202%3A19">Luke 10:21</a>, &quot;I thank you, Father, Lordof heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.&quot;</span></span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%2014%3A26">John 14:26</a>, &quot;But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.&quot;</span></span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Romans%201%3A7">Romans 1:7</a>, &quot;To all God&#39;s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LordJesus Christ.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/1%20Corinthians%208%3A5-6">1 Corinthians 8:5-6</a>, &quot;there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.&quot;</span></span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/2%20Corinthians%201%3A3">2 Corinthians 1:3</a>, &quot;Blessed be the God and Father of our LordJesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation.&quot;</span></span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Ephesians%201%3A3">Ephesians 1:3</a>, &quot;Blessed be the God and Father of our LordJesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.&quot;</span></span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Divinity and distinctness of Jesus Christ</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%201%3A1">John 1:1</a>, &quot;In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%201%3A18">John 1:18</a>, no one has seen God; people saw Jesus</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%2017%3A20-22">John 17:20-22</a>, Jesus was sent by the Father</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%2020%3A28">John 20:28</a>, &quot;Thomas answered him, `My Lordand my God!&#39;&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/1%20Corinthians%208%3A6">1 Corinthians 8:6</a>, we exist through Jesus</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Philippians%202%3A5-7">Philippians 2:5-7</a>, Jesus emptied himself and did not exploit equality with God</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Colossians%202%3A9-10">Colossians 2:9-10</a>, &quot;For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Hebrews%201%3A3">Hebrews 1:3</a>, &quot;<span class="body-copy">He is the reflection of God&#39;s glory and the exact imprint of God&#39;s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.&quot;</span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Divinity and distinctness of the Holy Spirit (or Advocate or Paraclete)</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Mark%203%3A29">Mark 3:29</a>, &quot;Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%2014%3A26">John 14:26</a>, the Holy Spirit was sent by God to teach</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/John%2016%3A8">John 16:8</a>, &quot;<span class="body-copy">When [the Advocate] comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Romans%208%3A15-16">Romans 8:15-16</a>, &quot;<span class="body-copy">When we cry, `Abba! Father!&#39; it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.&quot;</span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Triadic formulas</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;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&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Matthew%2028%3A19">Matt. 28:19</a>).</span> </span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Peter said to them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him&#39;&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Acts%202%3A38-39">Acts 2:38-39</a>).</span> </span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;">&quot;<span class="body-copy">Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/1%20corinthians%2012%3A4-6">1 Cor. 12:4-6</a>).</span> </span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;">&quot;<span class="body-copy">The grace of the LordJesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/2%20Corinthians%2013%3A14">2 Cor. 13:14</a>).</span></span></li></ul><h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>Sermon ideas about God&#39;s threeness</strong></h2><h3 class="heading-sm">One God, three divine persons</h3><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">Scripture identifies three divine persons while distinguishing them and while also insisting on &quot;one God.&quot; &quot;One God&quot; does not mean there is only one person in God (one thinker, speaker, lover, doer). &quot;One person&quot; is standard modalist heresy &mdash; i.e., the heresy that there are three &quot;modes of being&quot; in one person.</span> </span></span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">Not masks or roles</h3><p><span class="body-copy">And, no, &quot;person&quot; in early Latin Christianity (Tertullian, Novatian) did not mean &quot;masks&quot; or &quot;roles&quot; as in dramatis personae. Tertullian&#39;s analogy is that Father, Son, and Spirit are three persons in God as, for example, several monarchs such as a father and a son may administer a single monarchy. <span class="body-copy-sm">({{Adversus Praxean 3}})</span> Novatian observes that the Father and the Son are as plainly two persons as are Paul and Apollos</span><span style="font-size: 16px;">. <span class="body-copy-sm">(De Trinitate 27)</span></span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">Scripture and classical Christianity</h3><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;One God&quot; in Scripture and classical Christianity may mean</span></span></p><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">one Father, as in 1 Corinthians 8:6;</span></span></span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy">Johannine oneness exhibited by the Son and Father, who are &quot;in&quot; each other and &quot;one&quot; with each other, united by their common will, work, word, knowledge, love, and glory. This is roughly the meaning in later centuries of one &quot;substance&quot; or &quot;essence&quot; in God. It&#39;s the sum of those properties shared in common by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that constitute them as divine persons.</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy">One holy Trinity</span></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">So the tension within the Christian doctrine of the Trinity consists in honoring the distinctness of three persons, each divine by the same attributes as the other two, while also worshipping one God.</span></span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">Implications of God&#39;s threenes</h3><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">In theological anthropology, how shall we construe the image of God in humanity? Where is a place in it for harmony, inter-subjectivity, mutuality, reciprocity, fellowship? Human with-ness and in-ness can reflect the three-personed unity within God. It is striking, for example, that the &quot;restoration of the image&quot; texts in the New Testament (Eph. 4:24-32; Col. 3:9-17) are in wonderfully communal contexts. The overcoming of estrangement and alienation from God and humanity that is the heart of righteousness is, in Pauline perspective, both the graceful accomplishment and goal of the Christian community. In our fellowship and koinonia, in such seemingly homely endeavors as telling each other the truth and doing such &quot;honest work&quot; as will help &quot;those in need&quot; &mdash; above all in that love that &quot;binds everything together in perfect harmony&quot; &mdash; we not only demonstrate that we are &quot;members one of another&quot; but also that we as community, we-in-the-plural, constitute the restored image of God.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">In ecclesiology we note that in John 17:20-26 Jesus offers a rudimentary social analogy of the Trinity in the new community, of whom Jesus prays that &quot;they may be one as we are one.&quot; Or, to move to Pauline ground, our &quot;membership one with another&quot; is a pale reflection of the superlative intra-trinitarian membership (1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4). The social God calls out a people to be his witness, agent, and model to the nations. The Christian community that is established by the self-giving events of Christ and under the sponsorship of the Spirit is called once more to be witness, agent, and model of the divine life-giving. Old and new people of God, old and new covenants, are called and constituted by the self-giving of God. For just as the missions of the divine persons extend the intra-trinitarian relations into the sphere of broken human life and habitat, so the people of God are called in turn to do the work and minister the love that is at &quot;the inner heart&quot; of the trinitarian mystery.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">Thus the summit of church membership is being membered with others, not only by common love or loyalty for the same Lordbut also by having the divine mind &mdash; the servant mind, the deferring-to-others mind. Membership in the church implies the high goal of imitating the divine life by glorifying and exalting others and so doing by &quot;taking on the form of a servant.&quot; What Augustine says of the physical body of Christ may then be properly extended to the church: even the communal body of Christ is a sort of sacrament &mdash; a visible sign of an invisible reality.</span></span></p>