“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” Galatians 4:4-6
This past week, I attended an event called Exposure Youth Camp. What an awesome and uplifting time it was! Gathered with about 1800 Christians all in one place, we sang praises to God, played games, met new people, and learned so much from wonderful teachers of God’s Word. This year’s theme was “III: Father, Spirit, Son.” In each session, we were given a greater understanding about the Trinity, and how the one God can work in our individual lives.
It’s probably not surprising that many Christians do not know very much about how the Father, Spirit, and Son all work together. Although we will never have a complete understanding of God (Isaiah 55:8-9), this week has made me want to dig deeper in regards to His nature. I hope that you will be encouraged to do the same, because there is no greater study in the world than the study of our God.
We read in the Bible that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:15). Yet, we also read of three Persons: the Father (Malachi 2:10), the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and the Son (John 1:14). How can God be one in three Persons? It is simple: God is one in nature, yet three in personality. The Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all God Himself, yet they are not Gods by themselves.
In addition, think about an egg. If I held an egg in my hand, I would also have three parts: the shell, the yolk, and the white. All three parts make up one egg, but they are not a whole egg by themselves. It is the same way with God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit exist together as the one God of the universe.
Each part of the Godhead also plays a part in our salvation. God the Father can be seen as the Architect, the One Who initiated the whole plan from the beginning (Ephesians 1:4). The entire Old Testament is the story about how our Father was working out each little detail for His children so that ultimately, He could bring them salvation through His Son. So then, Jesus can be seen as the Builder (John 1:1-3). In the gospels, we learn that Christ built upon the foundation that the Father laid out in the Old Testament by coming to earth, teaching, establishing the church, dying on the cross for our sins, and rising again to ascend back to heaven. It was only then that the Holy Spirit, who can be seen as the Interior Designer, could come in order to continue the work on earth inside the hearts of His followers. In Acts through Revelation, we read of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles to confirm their miracles and signs, and then ultimately in the hearts of Christians from that point on (Romans 8:11).
Let us take a deeper look at the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and how They work in our lives:
The Father. What we call God says a lot about our relationship with Him. For instance, a few of the names that the children of Israel might have used for God were “Jehovah Jireh”, meaning “God will provide” (Genesis 22:14), and “Jehovah Shalom”, which means “He is our peace” (Judges 6:24). What Israel called God spoke to what He was to them. Jesus leaves us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:9, calling God “our Father in heaven”. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Oh how our Father loves us! When we become Christians, God is adopting us into His family (Romans 8:14-17). He chose us, despite our sinful past, and gives us hope of a new life in Him (Romans 5:8). Our Father is the ultimate gift Giver. His gifts show His loving provision and care for us. “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11) Because God is a wise and all-knowing Father, wanting the very best for us, He also gives us what we might not always want, but what we need. This includes allowing us to suffer the consequences of our sin. What kind of love only satisfies our temporary desires, not looking out for our eternal good (Hebrews 12:5-6)? As children of the Most High, we must also remember our place as His creation, having the utmost respect and fear as we love and serve Him (Romans 9:20).
The Son. Jesus Christ’s coming to earth was the demonstration of God’s plan to save man. Colossians 1:15-20 is a great summary of Who Christ is and what His purpose was on earth: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” Though He came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, He also came to leave the best example for how we as His followers should live. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Jesus didn’t come to be above us; He came to be with us (Ephesians 3:17). When we obey the gospel through hearing, belief, repentance, confession, and baptism, we reenact Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, which connects us to His cleansing blood (Romans 6:3-4). Thanks be to God for our Savior!
The Holy Spirit. We see the Spirit of God active in three major ways. He was active in Christ’s life on earth, from His birth (Matthew 1:18), His baptism (Matthew 3:16), His death (Hebrews 9:14), and ultimately in His resurrection (1 Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit was the apostles’ “Helper” as they taught and performed miracles (John 14:16-17, 26). He also was the Divine Inspiration for those who wrote the books of the New Testament (2 Peter 1:21). Finally, the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives today as Christians. We receive Him when we are immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). As He dwells in our hearts, our bodies become His temple and dwelling place (1 Corinthians 6:19). Everything we do is now because of God, and every sin we commit is literally against Him (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit also makes intercession for us as we pray. Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” He literally comes to our side and sees what is in our hearts when we simply don’t know what to say in prayer. Are we aware of how the Spirit works in our lives? Ephesians 5:17 tells us to be filled with the Spirit. This means that when we give our life to the Lord, we are literally to be under the influence of the Spirit. Thus, the “fruits of the Spirit” will naturally be seen in our life, those such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Studying God’s nature is like plunging into a deep ocean. We will never in our lifetime be able to know everything there is to know about the Creator of the universe, because it simply isn’t within our capacity as humans. Nevertheless, I hope that this deeper examination of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has inspired you to want to live more in a manner worthy of our God, because there is no greater journey to take than to seek after the Lord.
For more information on Exposure Youth Camp, visit their website here.