Foundations: One True God
Much of our humanity, apart from the desire to sin, is a direct result of being created in the image of God. Our longings for communication, diversity, unity, acceptance, peace, and love are a gift from our Creator.
These desires exist within us because the God who created us has eternally existed as a Trinitarian God and experiences firsthand the perfect fulfillment of those desires within himself. Human beings value selflessness and humility because our Creator exercises both those actions within the Trinity. Our world is a reflection of the Trinity, with humans acting as God's image-bearers. The Trinity is the first community, the first friendship, and all other communities and relationships seek to obtain what God has always enjoyed within himself. The Trinity has not been devastated by sin and its' effects, so the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in perfect unity as they govern and rule all things.
What is the Trinity?
One God. Three persons. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the word "trinity" does not appear in Scripture, the truth it conveys is hard to miss in the Word of God. The term itself was used by an early church father, Tertullian (AD 155-220), to describe a Biblical truth that was clearly taught throughout Scripture. Each person of the Trinity is both fully and equally God, yet exist as distinct and separate persons who are in perfect, eternal relationship with each other. When speaking of each member as a "person" it does not mean that the Father and Spirit became human beings. It means that each member thinks, feels, acts, and speaks. They are persons-- not some cosmic forces. They all posses the attributes of God such as omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence.
Bringing It All Together
The doctrine of the Trinity brings understanding and unity to three essential truths found in the Bible. First, Scripture records that there is only one God. The nature and unique relationship of the Trinity does not violate Biblical texts that teach there is only one God. Secondly, the Bible states that there is no one like God. Practically, we see this being true because no one else exists as three-in-one. God's Trinitarian nature sets him apart and above all created persons and entities. This also shows that no other gods exist. Third, although one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Spirit. The Spirit is not the Son nor the Father. They each exist as a distinct person with specific roles and responsibilities that they carry out to lovingly reach a rebellious world.
One of the toughest truths for the world to accept is the fact that God has declared he is the only true God. This raises questions about all the gods people groups in the bible, and throughout the world today, serve and express worship to. If there are no other gods, then what are we to do with all the various religions?
The Bible teaches that these "gods" are powerful fallen angels who have rebelled against God (Deut. 32:17). They seek to deceive humans into worshiping anything other than the one true God of the Bible. They are able to perform signs, wonders, and miracles, so many get deceived into thinking they are powerful and equal with God.
The people of God have always faced extreme pressure to accept and declare other religions and their false gods as equally deserving of worship as the God of the Bible. While this may sound like a thoughtful and caring sentiment, the opposite is actually true. If we declare that false, demonic gods are equal to God, we are essentially calling God a liar and his Word false. Furthermore, we promote the false worship of demons which will lead to separation from a true and loving God for eternity. When we declare that there is only one true God, we are making a loving and truthful statement to a lost world.
What This Means For Us
The doctrine of the Trinity is not easy to understand, but it is true. Any truth that God has chosen to reveal to the world should be considered important and worthy of studying. Although we may have some difficulty trying to grasp the complexities of the Trinity, there are some practical applications that come from this doctrine.
We experience a deeper appreciated for our salvation. When we see that our salvation was the work of a Triune God, we grow in understanding our salvation and appreciating it. We see the redeeming plan of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, and the transforming work of the Spirit regarding God's saving work.
It produces humility. Our limitations in understanding the Trinity should humble us. This forces us to approach God with humility and allow room for changes in our thinking and lives as we progress in our faith. The Trinity also models and perfectly practices humility when relating to each other. Not one member of the Godhead seeks to be more important than another. As God's image bearers, we should seek to model the same behavior as the Trinity so we display a truthful image of God with our life and behavior.
We are led in worship. Our worship is informed by the work and truth of the Trinity. We worship the Father, made possible by the sacrifice of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us.
It calls us to relationships. The doctrine of the Trinity is all about relationships. We see that God enjoys perfect friendships within himself. The different members of the Trinity have always loved, served, and enjoyed each other. This is why Christians must develop relationships and serve others. Furthermore, the Trinity shows that God has everything he needs within the Godhead. This is to say he did not make the world, and human beings, because he felt lonely and needed others to relate to. God lacks nothing and doesn't need us or our worship--he doesn't need a relationship with us. Since God doesn't need us, that means we have been created because he wanted to. God desires a relationship with every human so he can share what he experiences existing in a Triune nature.
It leads us to submission. The persons of the Trinity display perfect and loving submission in regards to one another. The New Testament frequently shows one person of the Trinity bringing glory to another. Jesus, the Son, submits to the plan of the Father. The Father exalts the Son. The Spirit's work is all about making Jesus known. There is no selfishness within the individual persons and work of the Trinity. We are called to the same type of behavior and life as the children of God. We are to submit to one another and show honor to others.
Fulfilled in God
When truth is understood about our Creator, a deeper understanding of self and human life follows.
The desires we feel deeply come from God and are designed to be met and fulfilled by God. When humans try to find satisfaction and meet their deepest desires outside of the one true God, they find themselves never quite satisfied. On the other hand, the Triune God of the Bible can meet and fulfill every longing and desire of the human heart!