devotional

18DEC
2012

A Question About the Trinity and the Revelatory Work of the Holy Spirit

On 18 Dec, Teodoro A. asked:

“Discussion of the New testament revelation of the trinity: Please explain the Spirit reveals the Father and the Son according to Catholic Christian Church.”

Response:

Hello, sir.

     God is triune. There is only one God who’s never yet been fully seen who will be fully seen in three separate Persons in heaven. Each is not the other, but all three are equal and equally God. This comes from numerous streams of Biblical evidence and good-old-fashioned sound exegesis. Trinitarian revelation can be seen in the Old Testament, but God did not fully reveal His triune nature to us until the Messiah came. If we look to the classic Christian creeds we can see succinct affirmations of all three Persons of the Trinity throughout history.

     God was known as a Father to the nation of Israel, Hosea 11:1, etc. This revelation as Father was not in regard to the Trinity, but to Israel.

     It is by the NT revelation of the Son that at first at least a bi-unity of God is made clear. In this we are then shown God’s tri-unity. For example, in John 1:1 Jesus is both with God and is God. Jesus is not simply divine; He is full Deity, Colossians 2:9. He spoke as one equal to the Father in every way, Matthew 5:27-28; Mark 1:22; John 5:18. For the purpose of His glory and our redemption He became a Man for roughly thirty years as subject to the Father and so, as for a season, was surely less than the Father, but He never stopped being God, Philippians 2:6-8. Jesus came to us to truly reveal the Father. “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” John 14:9. His mission was to make the Father known and to seek and save the lost.

     In our understanding of the Trinity it’s now on to the second point, namely the Spirit’s revelatory work to us. God the Son made the following statement: “I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak,” John 12:49.

     It’s in the framework of this last point that the role of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity is personally introduced to us in the New Testament. As your question alluded: “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come,” John 16:13. The Holy Spirit also speaks on the authority of another, but is in no way a lesser being.

     The Holy Spirit is often credited as the revealer of Scripture to the hearts of God’s people. John Calvin’s gift to the church was an understanding of this. The Spirit is the one, as being God, who the writer of Hebrews tells us spoke through the prophets, Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:21. The holy writings reveal both the Father and the Son. All of Scripture tells us that the Bible truly speaks to truly saved people because of the operation of the Spirit. It is the invisible working of the Holy Spirit who was and is always revealing the Father and the Son in Scripture to the hearts of His elect through the gift of faith.

     It comes to us in our lives in the following way: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you,” Romans 8:11. It is God the Spirit who raised up Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 3:18, and it was God the Father, Romans 6:4, and it was God the Son Himself, John 10:18. Without the Spirit dwelling in us now we are not of God and cannot have a relationship with the Son or the Father. It’s not that a man needs to assent to knowledge of the Holy Spirit or the Trinity to be initially saved, but rather that no spiritual good can be done in any regard without Him. “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 12:3. Without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit we cannot truly even call Jesus our Lord. The act of calling Jesus Lord is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit revealing Him to us, Galatians 1:15-16. God the Holy Spirit is the giver of life; those made alive by Him receive the Son. That person’s faith then grows, even in regard to essential truths like the triune nature of God, in time and discipleship. All saving things in us are because of God the Holy Spirit at work in us. He reveals Christ to us through preaching or evangelism. A man can no more make a declaration of true faith in Christ without the Holy Spirit energizing it than a grown man could enter again into his mother’s womb and be born again.

     It is the Spirit who reveals the truth of Christ to us through the Bible. He makes us non-idolaters. The Father’s glory is made well known by the Son, the Son’s glory is made well known by the Spirit, and the Spirit’s glory will be made fully known alongside that of the Father and the Son.

     Lastly, it’s simply shown through chronology that He reveals both the Father and the Son. The Son came and bore witness to the work of the Father before Him. The Holy Spirit is the one ministering as the revealer of the Son and the Father now after the ascension of the Son. He is, as is made evident by timeline, the revealer of God’s full and perfect revelation today.

     He is in our communion, 2 Corinthians 13:14, He spoke and still speaks, Hebrews 1:1, He called and still calls, Acts 13:2, He is blasphemed, Mark 3:29, He teaches, John 14:26, He convicts, John 16:8, He inspired, 2 Timothy 3:16, He empowered, Acts 4:31, He created, Genesis 1:2, He descended out of heaven as the Father spoke from heaven, Mark 1:10, His separate name is in our baptism, Matthew 28:19, He seals, Ephesians 1:13, He, our sealer, is grieved, Ephesians 4:30, He sanctifies, 1 Peter 1:2, He indwells, 1 Corinthians 6:19, He bears witness to the gospel, Acts 5:32, He brings forth the river of living water within us, John 7:38-39, He intercedes, Romans 8:26. Christ is the mediator between God and men. He alone died on the cross. The Spirit is the one who shows us it all in truth.

     There are, of course, tons of other verses to examine. These are just a few in a short post. I’d like to offer you three other resources on the Trinity to assist you:

The late great A.W. Pink’s work, The Holy Spirit.
An audio sermon I delivered in Afghanistan. It comes with Power Point slides if you click on the main audio tab. This is message #126 on Biblecia.com:
Afghanistan Chapel Message. Why Jesus, as God, is the Only Way to Heaven.

The last is an article I wrote called The Holy Trinity
 

     Aside from these resources, if you go to my recommended listening page you can find dozens of teachers that can offer tons of other materials for you.

Hope this helps. 

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