LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 28).



Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. 23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. This will be my personal reflections on this beloved written codification of the Christian faith according to a Baptist flavor. 




Paragraph 3: “In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit…”


The doctrine of the Trinity is the main article of the church. Nothing else matters without it. It’s like the bottom button on a shirt. In the articles section of I have a letter on this most blessed doctrine giving more detail. It is also the doctrine I love most. Jesus once said, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him,” John 1:18. After the Holy Spirit purified my heart by faith (Acts 15:9) I, along with all the rest thus purified, received this promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” Matthew 5:8. I long for this hope very much. Jesus said no one has ever seen God in the passage above, however, Jacob thought he’d seen God’s face (Genesis 32:30). 74 other people had lunch with God and Scripture says, “…they saw the God of Israel,” Exodus 24:10. Moses himself, mentioned in Scripture second only to the Creator himself, once asked the triune God, “Please, show me Your glory,” but God said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” Exodus 33:18, 20. Moses saw him only from behind. Men have seen God in certain ways, but I believe that when Jesus speaks of God as having never been seen that it is a reference to the full, triune glory that’ll make a full panorama of the cosmos itself as boring as an interstate at midnight in winter. That is what no one has yet seen.

     The Trinity is what we call “an essential doctrine.” If a person is not confessionally Trinitarian then their theology is to be immediately classified as heretical. There is simply no alternative when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity that was revealed to us by Christ in the New Testament.

     Jesus was submitted to someone “greater than” he himself was while he was on earth. For the purposes of his suffering, death and Resurrection he submitted himself to the will of the Father while among us. This modeled our relationship and dependence on God as well. He prayed to his Father. He appealed to his Father. The Father was his source, his guide and his strength.

     We can approach the tri-unity in God through an understanding of bi-unity. Jesus’ statements on being fully God (equal with God the Father) are crystal clear in the Bible and abound far more than statements on the Deity of the Holy Spirit. We can see the Father and the Son clearly portrayed as fully Deity in the Bible in numerous ways. The Holy Spirit is shown as full Deity as well, but in less detail. When Jesus and the Apostles later speak to and of the Holy Spirit we then see tri-unity manifest.

     There is community in the Trinity. There is fellowship between the members. He needed no one else for him to love. Admittedly, the concept of the Trinity is beyond man’s conception. It is not a mode of existence for God like me as a son, a soldier and a husband or something. He is not “at times” Father, then Son, then Spirit. He is all three in one at once and has been so forever. If God were to come to your home tonight he’d come as three persons or “subsistences” as listed here, not one.

     In the New Testament there is a Father called God, a Son called God and a Holy Spirit called God. The same covenant also emphatically declares that there’s only one God. Therein is the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine arises from monotheism and stays true to Scripture throughout. God is three in one. He is holy, holy, holy.  

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