Religion

Welcome father, son and Holy Spirit

Dr. Karo Ogbinaka

What we see in an object is three angles. But we call it a triangle. Equally, wherever and whenever we encounter the divine in word, thought and deed, we encounter Him manifest Himself as FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT.

Since the early days of the church, the doctrine of the Trinity has never been without contentious argumentations. The early Church excommunicated heretics and burnt books on account of this doctrine. The doctrine of Trinity can be explained in an analogy from geometrical model.

This is called TRINITY, or simply TRIUNE God. God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden. But Adam fell because he was unholy and disobedient. God therefore separated Himself from man.

However, because of His Divine love, God sent His son whom He gave total power to restore man to Himself, the Godhead (John 3: 16). Whereas the Scripture is replete with the “visibility” of God the Father, and Jesus Christ His incarnate Son, the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead is hidden.

Indeed, theologians often call it the “shy partner”. At creation, and to redemption and ultimately to the time of rapture the eternality of the Trinity is acknowledged by the Church.

This is called the ‘Eternal Trinity.’ By ‘eternal’ we mean that which tran- scends time and space. An eternal being is not bound by time. It is not subject to space. In the Bible, eternality is often expressed in terms such as ‘for ever and ever,’ ‘as it was in beginning …,’ ‘world without end,’ ‘the same, yesterday, today and forever.’

Paul expressed it thus: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-5).

And in verse 13 Paul writes further, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” The living Church of God is what it is today because it is powered by the Divine, holy and eternal triune God.

The theolo- gian and scholar, Daniel N. Schowalter, stated that because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not ap- pear in the New Testament. [But] while the New Testament writers say a great deal about God, Jesus, and the Spirit, of each, no New Testament writer expands on the relationship among the three in the details that later Christians do.

The earliest New Testament evidence for the tripartite formulae comes in 2 Corinthians 13:13, where Paul wishes that “the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” be with the people of Corinth. This ‘prayer’ of Apostle Paul – called the Grace – is the most popular and common Christian prayer and benediction. Each time we proclaim it we are as well acknowledging the completeness and eternality of the Triune Godhead. The biblical basis of Trinity can be inferred in the following ways.

(i) At creation there was Trinity: “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2); God says, “… Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis. 1: 26). Also, “Come, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another speech” (Gen. 11: 7).

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So even in creation, the fact of God having other Beings with Him can be confirmed Biblically. The sure way is to know who they – the other Beings – are in the Scriptures. Clearly, the appearance of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ Himself are the ways God has interfaced His creation. Hence, Trinity is established. David, as a Prophet and Patriarch of old, even before the incarnation of Jesus, called Jesus Christ LORD (Psalm 110:1).(ii) At man’s fall God released His Holy Spirit to keep His select, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God speaks as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1: 21); (iii) God made the incarnation of Jesus Christ possible by the power of the Holy Spirit: “And the angel answered and said unto her the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over shadow thee… (Luke 1:35); and (iv) God manifested His approval of Jesus at Baptism through the incoming upon Jesus by His Spirit (John 1:32); and Jesus Christ was empowered by God for His ministry with/in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14).

God made Jesus to endure the cross (Heb. 9: 14) and resurrect by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 3:18). “For Christ also hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring it to God; being put to death in flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” Today, Christ Jesus has poured upon His Church the Holy Spirit that is still actively doing the work of the Father and Son in the Church of God.

So, Jesus Christ still speaks to us, “And I pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16, 17). Christ did not give his Church a dated or one stance Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given eternally to the Church for ever.“

And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin; and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16: 8). What lessons can we take away? Do we see the unity, harmony and cooperation among the Persons of the Divine Godhead? Don’t we humans have the attitude of “I can do it alone”? God worked the work of redemption and salvation with His Son and the Holy Spirit. He gave them power to function.

The Apostles’ question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed” (Acts 19: 2)can be reinterpreted, as “where you connected to God’s power through Jesus Christ when you believed? Hence in Acts 10:44, “When Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fall upon all who heard the word.

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God.” As Jude (19-20) notes, “It is these who cause division, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, but you, building yourselves up on your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”As we commence the last and longest season in the Church’s calendar, I pray with you in this wonderful words of the Collect for Trinity.

“Almighty and eternal God, You have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know You in all Your ways and evermore rejoice in Your eternal glory, who are Three Persons in One God, now and for ever.”Amen

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