Monday, January 30, 2012

Introduction to the Trinity

This is a brief outline of some interesting things that relate to this topic.  I put this together for a bible study one night, and I thought I would share it in case it is helpful to others.

1 - God has revealed Himself to us as One God in Three Persons:

The Father is God:  Ephesians 1:2

The Son is God:  John 1:1

The Holy Spirit is God:  Acts 5:3-4

God is One:  Deuteronomy 6:4

2 - Some Attributes of God (all apply to the Trinity)

Self-Existent/Eternal - Nobody created God.  He has no beginning or end. (Psalm 90:2, John 8:58...also, Jehovah means "The existing one" - I am that I am)

Self-Sufficent - God lacks nothing, needs nothing  (Acts 17:23-25, Colossians 1:16-17)

Immutable - does not change (Hebrews 13:8)

Omnipresent - You can never go to a place where God is not present (Psalm 145:18, Psalm 139:7-10, Mat 18:20, Mat 28:20, John 14:16-17)

Omniscient - He is all knowing.  There is nothing anywhere that He does not know. (Psalm 147:5, 1 John 3:20, Psalm 139:1-6)

Omnipotent - He has all power to do anything He desires - Rev 19:6, Job 42:2, Luke 1:37

(Further reading:  "Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer, "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer)

3 - Some Different Roles of the Persons of the Trinity

The Father sent the Son. (John 6:57, 3:16, 8:42)

The Son did not send the Father. The Spirit did not send either the Father or the Son.

The Spirit brought the Son into a human body by placing Him in the womb of Mary. (Luke 1:35)

The Son was performing the will of the Father when He came as a man (John 6:38)

Neither the Father nor the Spirit put on humanity like the Son did.

After the Son ascended and was placed at the right hand of the Father, the Father gave the Spirit to the Son, and the Son pours the Spirit out on us. (Acts 2:32-33)

The Spirit did not give or send the Father or the Son.

The Spirit “continues” the ministry of the Son after the Son ascends - The entire book of Acts

The Son glorifies the Father (John 17:4)

The Father glorifies the Son (John 17:1)

The Spirit testifies of the Son. (John 15:26)

The Son (while in the body) was led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1)

The Spirit enabled the Son (while in the body) to perform signs and wonders, and cast out demons (Luke 4:14-18, Matthew 12:28)

The Spirit inspired the writers of the scriptures. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The Father reveals things to us by the Spirit. (1 Cor 2:10-12)

The Son died for our sins.  (Romans 5:8)

The Father and the Spirit resurrected the Son from the dead:  (Romans 1:4, Romans 8:11)

The Father, Son, and Spirit created the universe.  (Genesis 1:1-2, Colossians 1:16-17)

(Further reading:  "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance" by Bruce A. Ware)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Birth - Born of Spirit

It is always good to read scripture in proper context, and I encourage you to do so for any of these that speak to you.

John 1:12-13
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

If you "believe in His name," then you become a child of God, one of His offspring.  Your behavior is not part of the equation, only your faith.

John 3:5-6
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit

You become a child of God by being born again.  Notice that it is not a natural birth, but a spiritual one.  You are born again in your spirit.  You become a new spirit when you believe.

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

A human being consists of a spirit, a soul, and a body.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart

Since the spirit and the soul can be divided, they are not the same thing.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

This verse is talking about a new creation...your new spirit.

Ephesians 4:24
...and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Your "new man" was created righteous and holy by God.  In your spirit, you are already righteous and holy, regardless of your performance.

2 Corinthians 5:21
 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Our righteousness was a gift, and it is not mere human righteousness.  It is the very righteousness of God.  This is the righteous that exceeds that of the Pharisees (Mat 5:20)

Romans 3:21-22
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

This righteousness is not based on the law.  It is not obtained by keeping rules and regulations.  It is a gift that is given by God freely to anyone who puts faith in Jesus.

Romans 4:4-5
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Our righteousness is a result of faith, it is not a result of our work.

Romans 5:19
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 

We are made righteous because of Jesus obedience, not because of our own obedience.  Jesus was obedient, and I believe it, and according to God, that makes me righteous in His sight.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Our Father in heaven does not condemn us.  We who believe will never be condemned.

Romans 8:33
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 

God is not bringing charges against us.  He is the one who has justified us.

Romans 8:34
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 

Jesus is not condeming us.  Instead, He came to die for us, and is interceding for us right now.

Romans 10:3-4
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

It is impossible to establish your own righteousness.  Our righteousness comes from Christ, not from the law.

Romans 10:11
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

We will never be put to shame.

2 Corinthians 5:19
...that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 

God is not counting our sins against us, and we have the priviledge of sharing that good news.

Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 

We are already perfected.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We are being transformed into the same image...into the glory of the Lord...and it is being done by the Holy Spirit, not by us.

Jude 24
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...

God keeps us from stumbling.  He also presents us faultless in His presence.  We are not tasked with making ourselves faultless.

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Your spirit was born again as a new creation.  Your soul and your body were not born again.  The body needs to be put into subjection.  The soul (mind, will, emotions) needs to be renewed by the word of God, getting our thoughts in line with how God thinks...agreeing with Him and believing what He says.  We want our spirit to be in the lead, and our soul and body to follow.

James 1:21
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 

The word of God is what will rescue the part of you that is called your "soul."  It will help you change the way you think...the way you view the world, and the way you view yourself.

James 1:22-25
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 

We need to look into the mirror (the word) and let it tell us what we look like...who we are in Christ.  We need to remember what we look like, what kind of men we are.  We need to see ourselves the way our Father sees us...righteous and holy, justified, forgiven, etc.