The Trinity & the Gospel
By Christopher Jethro
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2018
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2018
How is the Trinity integral to the Gospel? Back in Genesis, God created the heavens and the Earth. When God created man, the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) spoke jointly saying, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Man was created in the image of the Triune God. Man was created for intimacy with God – that is the purpose of our existence. Adam and Eve connected with God spirit-to-Spirit. They fellowshipped with God the Holy Spirit who lived within them – they knew His voice, intimate presence, and learned everything from Him. Likewise, God the Son (Jesus) would visit them in the Garden, walking with them in the cool of the day.
This beautiful fellowship with God was lost at the Fall when man disobeyed God. Man, now having become dead in his trespasses and sin, was separated from his Holy Creator. God the Father, however, had a solution to restore intimacy between God and man. 2,000 years ago, God the Father sent God the Son (Jesus) into the world to be the propitiation for our sins. The punishment for sin requires a perfect sacrifice. A man must pay the price for sins (because man is the one who sinned) but only God cannot sin. Only Jesus could solve this dilemma. Jesus is God incarnate, being fully-God and fully-man.
Jesus rightfully claimed to be the Son of God. This is because throughout the Bible, the word “son” is used allegorically to represent the manifestation or inheritance of something. For instance, the Bible uses expressions like “the sons of this world” (Luke 16:8), “the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), “the sons of this age” (Luke 20:34), “the sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 8:12), and “sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). Judas was referred to as “the son of perdition” (John 17:12) because he was the manifestation/representative of perdition through his life. In other words, Jesus is called “the Son of God” because He was the manifestation and representation of God in flesh. This is why the Bible says “the Son [Jesus] is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3) and Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
The Jews understood this claim of Deity, and that is why they wanted to kill Him (because they considered His claim blasphemy). “‘We are not stoning You for any of these reasons,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:33). They likewise grumbled to Pilate, “‘We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God’” (John 19:7). There is no Mosaic Law that says to kill a person who simply claims to be a child of God. Their own Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) tells them that some people are God’s children indeed. Solomon is called God’s son (1 Chronicles 28:6) and the angels are God’s sons (Genesis 6:2). Jesus’ enemies recognize that the title “THE Son of God” is to put oneself on an equal level with God.
Now when Jesus died on the Cross, He paid the price for our sins so that we would no longer be separated from a relationship with the Creator. In order to be saved (forgiven of sins, restored relationship with the Creator), one must repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Bible constantly tells us that God is Lord (we often just called Him, “Lord”) so for Jesus to be Lord is synonymous for Him to be God. For a believer to call Jesus “Lord” means to acknowledge and submit to His Deity.
Jesus was the most precious gift that God the Father could give to the world. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is in the heart of God the Father to have children. Through Jesus, the Father adopts believers to become His precious children. “As many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).
Finally, before Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father, He said He would send the Holy Spirit to believers. In fact, Jesus even said, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). This is truly exciting news – it means that once again people will be capable (through Jesus) of having a personal relationship with the Living God. The Holy Spirit lives within true believers, which makes them spiritually born-again. Jesus said, “‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive” (John 7:38-29). It is amazing that God Himself not only lives in believers, but can flow from us—making us a flowing vessel of His Life-giving Spirit.
If you were going to go on a long journey to a foreign land, would you want a road-map or a personal, knowledgeable guide to accompany you? Jesus has not just given us a guidebook for our Christian walk (the Bible), but has also given us the Guide Himself (the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit is here to be our personal Comforter, Guide, Teacher, Advocate, and Helper. The Holy Spirit is presented to us by Jesus as a personal Being whose companionship is necessary for the Christian life. He plays a critical role in the lives of believers. Having explained this, new believers need to understand that the Holy Spirit is not some strange power-force, but a real Person sent by Jesus to guide and empower believers. The Holy Spirit is God. We don’t want new believers to dishonor God by calling Him an “it”, but understand the Personhood of the One sent to be their Advocate.
In conclusion, our understanding of the three Persons of God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is integral to understanding the Gospel message itself.