The New City Catechism

How many persons are there in God?

Answer: There are three persons in the one true and living God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14

How much do you know about the Trinity?

Do you know what the word Trinity means? It means Unity of Three. There are thousands of books written about the Trinity, its purpose, its complexity, and its nature.

What if we take a small quiz and see how much we know?

  1. Is the Word Trinity found in the Bible? True or False?
  2. Is God one? True or False?
  3. Is the Father truly God? True or False?
  4. Has God always existed as three persons? True or False?
  5. God the Son only came into existence when Mary was pregnant, True or False?
  6. The persons of the Trinity each have distinct roles, True or False?
  7. Did God the Father die on the cross for sins? True or False?

The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, but it is a good word capturing several biblical truths about the God who is three in one. Kelvin DeYoung says that at least seven statements can help us understand the Trinity and its doctrine.

1. God is One. There is only one God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV)

2. The Father is God. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2 ESV)

3. The Son is God. “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13 ESV)

4. The Spirit is God. “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” (Acts 5:3–4 ESV)

5. The Father is not the Son.

6. The Son is not the Spirit.

7. The Spirit is not the Father

Why is this so important? 

It is so important that we know that God is Three in One. It is so important to understand that each of them has different roles and personalities.

Each Person of the Trinity is different from the others.

  • The Father sent the Son into the world the Father cannot be the same Person as the Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)
  • Likewise, after the Son returned to the Father, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world. Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be distinct from the Father and the Son. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26 ESV)

We know that we God, who is described in the Bible, is approachable.

Last week we looked at the question What is God? I said that God is unique. We saw this in Psalm 86, where David wrote, “There no one like you”. He stands apart, he is above any other gods because he is Unique and Personal.

Therefore, they have different personalities! I believe that above all, the doctrine of the Trinity is for our sake only. Let me explain. We can spend hours discussing the doctrine of the Trinity and speculating what this means, what biblical passages to read and learn. We can spend a lifetime debating the nature of the Trinity and its role displayed for us in the passages of the Scriptures. But this doctrine is a SELF-REVELATION from God to us based upon RELATIONSHIP. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are in a RELATIONSHIP. They have different roles and personalities, but they are into a beautiful relationship.

This, I believe, is so beautifully seen during Jesus Baptism.

 “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16–17 ESV)

This is a heavenly picture of the interaction between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

This self-revelation of God in three Persons is for our sake because, at creation, God made us for deep relationships with Him and with one another. He said, “Let us make mankind in our image”. We were created with the strong need for relationships, and God, in his mystery, grace and wisdom, has revealed himself in God the Father, a figure that can all relate to. God the Son, a figure that we can all relate to. God the Holy Spirit, who is God’s very own Presence, released upon those born again of the Spirit, which is the seal guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption’s final day.

The 3rd Question of the New Catechism asks:

How many persons are there in God?

Answer

There are three persons in the one true and living God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Therefore, I would like to say three things from 2 Corinthians 13:14 describing the Trinity in terms of Relationships. Remember, this is the Personal God.

In any relationship, three essential elements make the relationship work. These three are heaven-bound to earth principles, and they are critical in our relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and they are expected from brothers and sisters to live out and articulate. When we do so, we are salt and light into this confusing world.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

These are the three:

  1. Grace
  2. Love 
  3. Fellowship

First. The Grace

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does Paul mean by the Grace of the Lord Jesus? Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is God, and his Grace emanates from his very own Presence. It is his to give it, and it is his grace.

This grace is not cheap, it is a costly grace, and God pays a great price. Jesus gave his life for this grace, and this grace is central to the very core of the Gospel.

Speaks of salvation, speaks of joy, speaks of righteousness and holiness. This grace has no limits, and to the naked eye, it may seem outrageous that the Son of God can give His grace to whom he wants and to whom he desires.

This grace washes away sins and brings salvation, and it is free. You and I don’t deserve it, and we cannot work to get received it. We need to believe, acknowledge the Son of God as the Saviour of our lives and his grace is received. It is a grace that is welcomed into the sinner’s heart.

It is the amazing grace that has a sweet sound that can save a wretch like you and like. It is this amazing grace that empowers the Gospel. Because you came to believe in Jesus, and you are counted as his own because you put your faith in God the Son, the Messiah, the Saviour.

This grace is a healer of broken hearts, and in this grace, we find forgiveness. This grace speaks of reconciliation and builds up the body of Christ. This grace can convict us and to bring us to a place where we need a Saviour. This grace has no limits; it speaks of generosity and peace.

This grace is the opposite of pride, and it is the opposite of hate. 

It is the opposite of jealousy and slander. 

This grace has been given to us. This grace dwells in us.

We are to be known as people of Grace, our lives should reflect the free grace that we have received from the Lord Jesus, and we are warned not to bring this grace where it is trampled upon, where our own lives and witness desecrate it.

In his book “The Cost of Discipleship”, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous German theologian who stood for truth and the Gospel, losing his own life at the hands of the Nazi regime, wrote that we should be cautious how we take care of this Grace.  “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

We know Jesus to be the Son of God, and we know this because this Person of the Trinity became one of us. He became a man taking the very form of a servant so that we can live in His Grace.

Second. Love

The love of God

There is so much to say about the Love of God. God is love. God is a lover. He knows what love is like, and he knows what love can do. He knows that his love is powerful. He knows that his love is not cheap. It has been given to us by paying a great price, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)

Who does that! I am a father and can tell you I will never give one of my sons or daughters to save the world, but God did.

His love is strong, his love protects, and his love saves. Paul understood this when he wrote: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14–19 ESV)

His loves run deep; his love is perfect, capable of melting any heart. It is the opposite of hate.

I believe that no one can match the words written by John the Apostle within the Biblical texts, who I think understood the immensity of Jesus love! He was known as the disciple that Lord loved.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:16–21 ESV)

  • God is love. Whoever dwells in God and God lives in him, we dwell in perfect love.
  • There is no fear in love because perfect love cast away fear. Why is fear mentioned here? Because the language of Fear is the language of the accuser. Fear and manipulation is the language of bullies, of people who live under a cloud of cheap grace!
  • We love because He loved us. First!
  • We should love one another, and if we don’t, we are liars! This is so clear, you love as God loves, then his love is in you, but if you are Christian and hate your brother, you are a liar. Do you who is the Father of lies? Satan. Make sure that you do not use his language and assume his posture!
  • Whoever loves God must also love his brother!

Third. Fellowship

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Friendship, fellowship are essential in the Kingdom of Heaven. Each of the Persons of the Trinity has and live out from a place of grace, love and fellowship.

It this fellowship within the Triune that allows the Grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God to flow.

It is this fellowship with the Triune God that allows the Love of the Father God flow.

I have found that this is lacking in the church in two ways.

  1. We understand the concept of Grace and the Lord. We know the Grace of the Lord Jesus, and we know Father God’s love, but to grasp the idea of fellowship is sometimes ignored and not very much developed within doctrines and church practice.

When Jesus said, you need to love one another by saying that we protect the fellowship boundaries between you all.

  1. This fellowship is with the Holy Spirit. I mean that one of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to safeguard fellowship, and this works in different ways; just let me share only two.
    1. The more we fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the more we are transformed with the Presence of God. We know God better, experientially and intellectually. But most importantly, spiritually. The more we fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we fall in love with Jesus.
    2. The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, always moves us into a place where we fellowship with one another. When this fellowship with one another is hurt, broken, where there are recements and unforgiveness, then it is when we quench and grieve the Holy Spirit.

This is real, I have been in places where no word is said, but I have discerned that the Spirit of God is not present in the church. Let us make sure that we humble ourselves and worship the God who is Three in one.

He is God, he is a unique God that is personal, and as such, then for our sake, we can grasp the personalities of the Father God, of God the Son and God’s Holy Spirit.

 How many persons are there in God?

Answer

There are three persons in the one true and living God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

2 Corinthians 13:14

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.