Fundamental Grace Bible Study

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1 The Triune Godhead Father, Son and Spirit Fundamental Grace Bible Study For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1Jn5:7 Purpose: To address the distinction, equality and unity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. Warning: If we do not define what God is with both his unique and common attributes, idolatry and heresies are born (e.g. worshiping a false god, diminishing the deity of the Triune Godhead and elevating man s potential). If we do not know God s attributes, we will not know what sin is (i.e. anything contrary to God). 1. Framing the Discussion: What is God? Who is God? a. Knowledge of God can come two ways: 1) creation, 2) revelation Rom1:20; Ps14:1 b. Creation testifies to what God is; Revelation testifies to who God is 1Cor2:10; 2Tim3:16 c. Human reason & worldly wisdom will never attain to the knowledge of who God is 1Cor1:21 d. When describing God from the Bible, he is declared to be one what and three whos 2. God s Unique Attributes a. Held by God alone; they describe his Holiness Isa57:15 b. God is one: indivisible; existing in three persons, called one Deut6:4; 1Jn5:7 c. God is unique: there is none like him in all of existence Isa46:9; Ps113:5,6 d. God is Spirit: He is not physical and not a man Jn4:24; 2Cor3:17 e. God is invisible: He cannot be seen; Christ is his image Col1:15,16; 1Tim1:17, Cf. 6:15 f. God is free & self-existent: He relies on nothing Ex3:14; Jn5:26; Isa14:24,27 g. God is unchanging, immutable Mal3:6; Ps102:25-27; Jas1:17 h. God is above all: Eph4:6, Cf. Jn3:31 & 8:23, Eph1:21,22 i. God is infinite: eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent & omniscient Ps139:7,8; Mk14:36; Ps147:5 j. God is boundless; unlimited by time, space, things or knowledge Deut33:27; 1Kgs8:27 3. God s Common Attributes a. The following attributes mankind may have in common with God (verses below) b. God is Living. Not just a spiritual force Ps42:2; Acts14:15; 2Cor6:16 c. God is Personal. Man was created & is completely sustained by God Acts17:28,29 d. God is Good. God is the only good One; man is not Mt19:17, Cf. Rom3:12 e. God is all Wise. all-knowing & faithful; lacking hypocrisy Rom16:27,18-19; 11:33 f. God is Just & True. God s judgments are right & rejoices in truth Jer10:10; Zech8:17 g. God Hates. God hates many things Prov6:16-19 h. God is Jealous. Zealous to defend honor, right & purpose Ex34:14; Zech1:14; 2Cor11:2 4. Who God Is a. One must take all Scripture to define who God is, to refuse some verses is to refuse truth b. God the Father Ex4:22; Mt6:9; Jn17:3; Gal1:1 c. God the Son Jn1:1-3,14; 1Tim3:16; Col2:9 d. God the Spirit Acts5:3,4; Acts13:2; 1Cor6:19, Cf. 1Cor3:16; 1Cor12:4-6

2 e. The three are coequal and coeternal 1Jn5:7; Heb9:14; 1Tim1:17 5. The Three are Distinct Persons a. All three distinctly identified at Jesus water baptism Mk1:9-12 b. All three names utilized distinctly & in tandem Mt28:19; 2Cor13:14 c. Father sends the Comforter: he shall teach you whatsoever I have said Jn14:26 d. Jesus prays to the Father notice the personal pronouns me, thee, he, thy 6. Warnings and Consequences of Alternate Views a. Rejecting Scripture as final authority on who God is will lead to idolatry (i.e. worshipping of that which is not the true God) Ex20:3-5; Acts17:23-24; 1Thess1:9 b. Denying God is one leads to polytheism, pantheism or atheism c. Denying who God is leads to Arianism, subordinationism, adoptionism i. Glorifies humanity (Christ is man), man can save himself, man can become God, deifies humanity; impersonalizes the Spirit to some feeling, etc. d. Denying the three distinct persons of the Godhead leads to modalism, oneness, Unitarian i. God becomes schizophrenic, his work a sham, divine contradictions (Christ as man and God), who is God does not matter, humanizes deity and makes God an impersonal force. Jesus Christ, God minus Nothing Previous Lessons: God is one being who exists in three co-equal, co-eternal persons (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), and these three are one. In order to accurately define the God of the Bible, ALL of God s attributes (unique and common) must be utilized and considered. Why this lesson? When addressing the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and his humanity, people inevitably come across difficult passages that cause them to consider an understanding that might lead them to believe something inaccurate about Christ as God, which has repercussions on their understanding of the Godhead and, possibly, salvation. This lesson is to guard against the wrong teaching of an ignorant Jesus that had to learn he was the Son of God and earned his way to heaven. Warning: The following topic(s) are difficult to deal with. Use the clear and easy passages to define the hard passage, not the other way around. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8 1. Who God is: The Triune Godhead of Father, Son & Holy Spirit 2. What God is: One (indivisible) being, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent 3. Jesus Christ is: a. God manifest in the flesh Jn1:1-3;14; 1Tim3:16 b. The image of the invisible God Col1:15-18 c. The fullness of the Godhead bodily Col2:9 d. Equal and one with God Phil2:6; Jn10:30; 1Jn5:7 e. The only God-man (i.e. hypostatic union; see creed below): fully God, fully man 4. Did Jesus have to learn things? a. Incarnation accounts: Baby Jesus (Mt1:23; Lu2:7) & the Word (Jn1:1-3) b. Who he was Lu2:40-52, Cf. 3:21-23 (Did Jesus learn he was the Son of God then?) c. Obedience and humility in his position as Messiah and God manifest Heb5:8; Phil2:7,8

3 i. Jesus experience as a man was new, tempted in all points w/out sin Heb4:15 d. Jesus walked, hungered, ate, slept Lu4:1-3; 8:22-24 i. God is Spirit (Jn4:24): no walking, hunger, or sleeping ii. Moses was in the mount 40 days & nights w/ God (did he eat?) Ex24:18 e. Jesus said he didn t know some things - Mk13:32 i. Recognize that Jesus is both God & man Col2:9 ii. Jesus office work on earth was as the Son, he took a position without diminishing his attributes as God iii. Certain information not for man to know, nor for the Son to reveal Acts1:7 iv. Jesus, the only God-man, can speak of not knowing and yet, he is God who knows all things 5. Did Jesus Christ lay aside his deity attributes to become a man? a. Question: What are the deity attributes? i. All-knowing Jn1:43-50 ii. All-powerful Lu8:24,25; Cf. Ps107:23-30 (Man s dominion: Gen1:26-28) iii. Eternal Jn1:15,30, Cf. Lu1:13,26,36,57,76; 2:6; Ex3:14, Cf. Jn8:58; 18:6 b. God ceases to be God with any diminishment in his unique attributes c. Jesus did not lay aside his attributes as God, he added human nature Phil2:7 d. Christ s humiliation served the purpose of obedience unto death on the cross Phil2:8 Compare these variations of Philippians 2:5-8: [Authorized King James Version] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [New American Standard Bible] Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [English Standard Version] Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Council of Chalcedon: Chalcedonian Creed (451 A.D.) Note: Councils, creeds and catechisms are not the final authority, God s word is (Rom3:4). This creed is used as an example to show that, due to many wrongly held views of Christ s deity and humanity throughout history, men came together to correctly uphold the Scripture s complete revelation of Christology (i.e. the person, nature and role of Christ). We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born

4 of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Onlybegotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us. God s Unique Attributes Held by God alone; they describe his Holiness Isa57:15 God is one: indivisible; existing in three persons, called one Deut6:4; 1Jn5:7 God is unique: there is none like him in all of existence Isa46:9; Ps113:5,6 God is Spirit: He is not physical and not a man Jn4:24; 2Cor3:17 God is invisible: He cannot be seen; Christ is his image Col1:15,16; 1Tim1:17, Cf. 6:15 God is free & self-existent: He relies on nothing Ex3:14; Jn5:26; Isa14:24,27 God is unchanging, immutable Mal3:6; Ps102:25-27; Jas1:17 God is above all: Eph4:6, Cf. Jn3:31 & 8:23, Eph1:21,22 God is infinite: eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent & omniscient Ps139:7,8; Mk14:36; Ps147:5 God is boundless; unlimited by time, space, things or knowledge Deut33:27; 1Kgs8:27 God s Common Attributes e. God is Holy. Set apart; pure; clean; spotless his law required this of man Lev11:44 i. God values holiness, uprightness and purity Ps24:3-5; 1Tim1:5; 2Tim2:22 f. God is Living. Not just a spiritual force Ps42:2; Acts14:15; 2Cor6:16 g. God is Personal. Man was created & is completely sustained by God Acts17:28,29 h. God is Majestic. Greatness of appearance; royalty; awe Ps93:1; Heb1:3; 1Chron29:25 i. God is Good. God is the only good One; man is not Mt19:17, Cf. Rom3:12 i. God is compassionate toward men Zech8:7-11 ii. God s will is good & we prove it by a renewal of mind Eph1:5,9; Rom12:2 iii. The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, etc. Gal5:22; Eph5:9 j. God is all Wise: all-knowing & faithful; lacking hypocrisy Rom16:27,18-19; 11:33 i. His word gives wisdom to know his will & purpose Col1:9,10; 3:10; Phil3:10 k. God is Just & True. God s judgments are right & rejoices in truth Jer10:10; Zech8:17 i. God hates iniquity Ps5:4-6 ii. We are to be charitable & hate evil/iniquity 1Cor13:4; Prov8:13; Rom12:9 l. God is Jealous. Zealous to defend honor, right & purpose Ex34:14; Zech1:14; 2Cor11:2 i. God s jealousy is not sinful Mt5:22; Eph4:26 Verses Showing Christ s Deity Jesus Christ is the Word, the Word is God Jn1:1-3,14; 1Jn5:7 The Word became flesh, God manifest Jn1:14; 1Tim3:16 God created all things, Jesus created all things Gen1:1; Acts17:24; Jn1:3; Col1:16,17; Eph3:9 God is the only Savior, Jesus is called Savior Isa43:11; 44:6,8; 45:5,6,21; Acts13:23; Phil3:20; 2Tim1:10; Tit1:3,4; 2:13; 3:6 Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily Col2:9 Stephen calls on God while looking at Jesus Christ Acts7:59 God is the first and last, Jesus is the Alpha & Omega Rev22:13 Christ will be King of kings, Lord of lords w/ power everlasting 1Tim6:14-16, Cf. Deut10:17; Ps136:3; Rev17:14 Prophecy: virgin conceiving a son called Immanuel, the mighty God Isa7:4; 9:6

5 God asks who will be my equal? A: Jesus Christ Isa40:25, Cf. Phil2:6; Jn5:18 Jesus and the Father are one 1Jn5:7; Jn17:11,21-23 Christ existed before the world was Mic5:2; Jn17:5,24; Prov8:22-31 Man was never given power over wind & sea Mt8:26,27 Christ is the image of God Jn14:9; 2Cor4:4; Col1:15

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