We are now moving into the specific persons within the Godhead.
We saw the oneness of God.
We saw that there is somehow plurality as one God.
We then saw that the bible, as it progressively reveals God, shows Him consistently in a trinitarian manner. In the NT it is expressly seen as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So let’s break this down a bit and consider each of the persons just noted.
The Father as God
Probably the one person of the trinity that is never debated.
Most people accept the deity of the Father. In fact, most of the time that “God” is mentioned in the bible, most assume it’s simply the Father.
However, that is not always the case. At times it refers to Jesus or the Spirit, and other times it refers to the Godhead.
Moreover, the understanding (and richness) that’s attached to the Fatherhood of God is often lost upon most people.
In fact, with the rise of the gospel-centered movement, there’s a tendency to emphasize Jesus so much that the Father is now lost on us. But in Philippians 2:10-11 we see the biblical pattern emerge: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We can never make too much of Jesus Christ, but if we’re properly making much of Jesus we’ll always make much of the Father as well.
It is the purpose of Jesus to reveal the Father. If you are not seeing God the Father as you consider Jesus then something is wrong in how you are considering Him.
This is also one of the aspects of what is wrong with Christ-centered hermeneutics. They often seek to see Christ in every passage in one way or another, but in reality Christ is pointing us to the Father.
Within many Charismatic and Pentecostal circles the emphasis becomes the Spirit. Now, the Father and Son are part of their time of worship, but it’s the Spirit who almost always moves into the forefront of what they’re doing (and worshiping). But, the biblical norm is that the Spirit reveals to us the Son and the Father, with the Father being the one in the forefront.
Within modern Reformed churches the desire is so strong to emphasize that God is sovereign and all powerful that again the Fatherhood of God is lost.
There is such a timidity in approaching God because what is foremost on the mind is His power and sovereignty.
We are called to address Him as “Our Father.” We are to cry out to Him as “Abba, Father.”
Even in many of the passages speaking of God’s sovereign will in salvation we see Him as Father. Jesus said in John 6:
(37) All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
(40) For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
(44) No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
(65) For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.
So is God sovereign? Yes. Do we force our will upon Him? No. But notice that all of those passages speaking of Him as the sovereign God, also call Him Father.
In fact, John also says in 1 John 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.”
Now the reason that we’ve come to know God as Father, is because this is how Jesus knew Him, and related to Him, and even revealed Him.
Over 256 times God is called “Father” in the N.T.
Jesus Christ spoke of His equality with God because He called Him “Father.” (John 5:18)
We must always remember that the entire work and ministry of Jesus on earth was in relationship to God as Father and He as Son. Never slave to master.
It’s not as well defined as the NT, but we do see the Fatherhood of God in the OT as well. And it runs throughout the OT.
Again this is the process of progressive revelation and it is forgotten too easily.
The choosing of Abraham out of idolatry is a key example.
In Gen. 12 we see God coming to Abraham, and then from that point onward the focus of the entire O.T. is essentially is upon the nation being raised up by God. So the nation, in that sense, is viewed as a child that God is raising.
In Hosea 11:1 it is written, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.” Two referents:
One is Jesus Christ and God’s unique care (and love) in protecting Him from Herod in Matthew 2:15.
But also the historical fact of the Exodus. The bringing out of Israel was the act of a loving Father to protect, provide, care, and love His child (i.e. Israel)
So the fact that it refers to Jesus, never nullifies that it’s also a reference to Israel.
In Isaiah 1:2-4 it is written, “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, "Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand. Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.”
The prophet Isaiah speaks out against Israel. And when he speaks, he speaks for God.
Here we see the pain of the Father toward rebellious children.
Again, He’s using the language of son. It’s speaking of relationship.
You hear the real emotion and faithful love in Jeremiah 3:22, “Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness. Behold, we come to You; For You are the LORD our God.”
Now, how does all of this work itself out within the bible? In other words. “Fine, God is called ‘Father,’ so what?”
This title speaks to a key relational orientation toward all people: "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name," (Eph. 3:14-15)
A Caring and Merciful Father: A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. (Ps. 68:5-6)
A Father even to His Rebellious Children: [speaking of David] "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. (2 Sam. 7:14-15)
We can approach Him as Father: "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (Matt. 6:9)
He gives to us as a Father: "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (Jas. 1:17)
He is merciful and forgives as a Father: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
He makes us His children:
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."
(1 Jn. 3:1)
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?" (Gal. 4:4-9)
The Trinity is not something we should know in abstract.
Whether you know it or not you are intimately involved in a Trinitarian life if you are a Christian.
You are fully encompassed by the presence and love of the Holy Trinity.
The Triune God began a good work in you and He will complete it.
You live a life blessed because of the Triune God.
You pray to the Father.
You can pray because Jesus is your sin bearer and High Priest and through His death you became a child of God.
Your prayers are heard because the Spirit prays on your behalf and through His life-giving work made you alive in Jesus.
Example: Serving one another (1 Corinthians 12)
It is the Spirit who gives us gifts to serve one another.
It is Jesus who gives us the ministries in which we use those gifts.
It is the Father who works in and through the gifts and ministries to bring about His desired effects.
Next episode will see how the Son of God is God.