When attempting to understand God and His complexity, we have to remember that He is an infinite being, having no beginning and no end, and we are finite beings, having a beginning and an end. We gain knowledge and understanding of God through observing His creation (Romans 1:20) and examining His Word (Hebrews 1:1-2). The Word of God is the only true revelation of the character and nature of God. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I, the Lord, do not change...” Though many throughout time have claimed additional Divine revelation—there is none. At various points throughout the Bible, God says that we are not to add to His words (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18).
The first place we see an example of one God being multiple parts is in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” The fact that God chose the words “Us” and “Our” reveals, in His own words, that there are multiple parts to God—but how many and who are they?
Throughout the Bible, we see God in three distinct parts or persons. They are God the Father, sovereign in Heaven; God the Son, Jesus Christ in flesh on earth and in heaven; and God the Holy Spirit, the Helper sent to convict and sanctify. The word that has been used by man since the 4th century AD to explain this is trinity. The word trinity will not be found in the Bible, but the demonstration of God in three persons is plainly visible throughout Scripture.
Jesus tells His disciples in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper . . . that is the Spirit of truth.” This Scripture perfectly illustrates the three persons of God. Jesus, the Son, is asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit to the disciples.
In verses 19 and 20 of that same chapter, Jesus says, “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” We see here that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God. However, they act on their own and separate of each other, always for one unified purpose. One beautiful illustration of the trinity is Christ’s baptism, as seen in Matthew 3:16-17, when all three parts of God are present and functioning, individually, at the same time. The Father speaks unseen from heaven validating Christ as the Son; Christ the Son is silent while being baptized; and the Holy Spirit is seen in the form of a dove, descending on Christ.
Who is the Father?
The first thing we learn from the Bible about the Father is that He is our Creator. The very first words of the Bible state in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God, being our Father and Creator, created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7) and in His image (Genesis 1:26).
Along with being our Creator, God the Father is a mighty warrior. In Psalm 24:8 David asks, “Who is the King of glory?” and then declares, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” We see an amazing example of the Father being a warrior on our behalf in 2 Chronicles 20. The nation of Judah was being invaded by an overwhelming force that they had no power to stand or fight against. In verse 15, the Father says to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” In verse 17, the Father says, “You need not ght in this battle, station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”
David declares the refuge that the Father is and the strength He provides in Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Along with being our Creator, a warrior on our behalf, and our refuge and strength, the Father is just and holy. 1 Peter 1:15 reminds of what Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” Since the Father is holy, He is unable to look favorably on sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The Father desires to have a relationship with His creation; however, because of our sin, a way had to be made for us to be reconciled to Him. Jesus Christ is that way (John 14:6).
Through all of these things, we see that God the Father is sovereign above all. Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” James 1:17 says that, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Jesus tells us that we are to pray to “Our Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). In Matthew 6:4, 6 & 18, Jesus Christ shows us that the Father sees what is done in secret and Hebrews 4:13 tells us that, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
The Father is God, but the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit.
Who is the Son?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Father validates Christ as the Son when at the baptism of Jesus a voice from heaven is heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
While most think only of the Son as Jesus the man, born of a virgin, crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, we must understand that the Son was present long before He was born on the earth. We see this in Micah 5:2 when Micah prophesies of the birth of Christ: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Jesus has existed eternally, since before the creation of the world, and will exist for all eternity.
Not only has Christ existed since before creation, John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 tells us that Jesus is the Word: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus was there in the beginning speaking creation into existence. John 1:3 & 10 tell us that all things have come into being by Him and nothing has come into being without Him and that the world was made through Him. The Bible tells us in Colossians 1:15-16 that, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens, and on earth.” Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus that, “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” The Bible also shows us that Christ has been given all judgment by the Father (John 5:22) and will be present at the end of time to judge all of mankind for eternity (Revelation 22:12).
Colossians 2:9 tells us that in Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,” and 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Jesus, the Father’s only Son, became flesh so that humanity had a means of reconciliation with the God who created them. Hebrews 4:15 says that Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses as “One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” This is the very reason that Christ became the sacrifice for our sin. The separation between God and man started with the initial sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The price of sin can only be paid for by death (Romans 6:23). This is a debt that we all owe; but Christ has canceled that debt (Colossians 2:14) by His death on the cross, for anyone who would believe in their heart that God raised the Son from the grave and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). The Son is the atoning sacrifice for our sin and the way of reconciliation to the Father. However, the power of Christ is not found in his birth or death, but in His resurrection! “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
The Bible also shows Jesus as an advocate for us, seated at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69, Colossians 3:1). 1 John 2:1-2 implores us to live a life free from sin; but that if we do sin, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” The Bible is very clear: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
Jesus is the man who was born, died for our sins, and rose victorious on the third day; but He is more than just a man. Jesus is God, but Jesus is not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is mentioned all throughout Scripture starting in Genesis 1:2: “the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” He was present at the time of creation and is still present in our lives today. The Holy Spirit enters the believer upon salvation. Ephesians 1:13 says, “after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation . . . you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” By this sealing, God marks us as His and gives us the Spirit “as a pledge of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14).
Empowerment, conviction, intercession, and spiritual gifts are just a few of the ways the Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer. Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” The same Spirit of power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. In situations where we do not know what to say, the Spirit speaks for us (Mark 13:11). He convicts us of sin in our lives, pushing us toward God’s righteous standard (John 16:7-8). He knows what is best for us and prays to God the Father for us (Romans 8:26). The Spirit also gives gifts or abilities to believers to be used “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Some of these gifts include wisdom, healing, prophecy, and tongues. Spiritual gifts are to be used to strengthen the church. If used improperly, these gifts have no benefit and are useless to the church. Scripture teaches us that the Spirit gives different gifts to different people but, no matter the gift or ability He gives us, each should be used “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12), and for the “edi cation of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). The mysteries of God are never-ending. John 3:8 says, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” We will not understand all of the things that the Spirit does in us—inspiring continual awe and a need for faithfulness to His will.
The Holy Spirit is God, but the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son.