The Holy TrinityWritten by Stephen Kingery
Not too long ago, in an attempt to witness to several people via electronic mail through computer networks, I made a statement as to what constitutes my faith. As part of that statement, I said that I believe in Trinity: God Father, God Son and God Holy Spirit. One of people to whom I was trying to witness was of Jewish faith and he rejected concept of Trinity.
The Holy Trinity is fully supported in Scripture in both Old Testament and New Testament. In this article, I would like to share some of these Scriptures and how they proclaim existence of God in Three Persons.
The idea of Trinity is found early in Bible in Genesis 1:26, "Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over fish of sea, over birds of air, and over cattle, over all earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth.'" As we see here, God said "Let us make man in Our image. . ." indicating that we (man) are made in image of God and others. We know from reading Scripture that angels are different from us in many respects. The fact that angels do not have gender is one. Therefore, it is unlikely that God would have been referring to Himself and angels in this passage. The Bible does not speak of any other beings in heaven. The only conclusion that we can draw from use of plural pronoun "Our" is that God was referring to Himself along with at least one other being or person on a level with Him.
The plural pronoun "Us" is also used in Genesis 3:22a where Lord said, "Behold, man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil." Again indicating that there is more than one person in Godhead.
Those who reject idea of a Holy Trinity usually accept or have some belief in God. They just do not believe that Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are a part of God. Therefore let's take a look at Holy Spirit and preexistence of Christ.
The Holy Spirit
References to "Spirit of God" abound in Old Testament. "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on face of deep. And Spirit of God was hovering over face of waters." (Genesis 1:2) The first occasion is in second verse of Genesis. We see here that God was at least two different persons – God Father and God Holy Spirit – at beginning of creation. Many other Scriptures refer to Holy Spirit in some manner. Here are just a few: "My Spirit" (Genesis 6:3), "Spirit of God" (Genesis 41:38), "Your Holy Spirit" (Psalms 51:11), "Spirit of Lord" (Isaiah 11:2), and "My Spirit who is upon you" (Isaiah 59:21). Throughout Old Testament we see these and many other references to Holy Spirit.
In New Testament we find that Holy Spirit is more fully explained, and we know in more detail purpose that Holy Spirit has in our lives. He is a comforter or helper for us, as Christians.
The Holy Spirit was there when Jesus was conceived in womb of Mary, "Now birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:18) The Holy Spirit was there when Jesus went up into wilderness to undergo temptations of devil, "Then Jesus was led up by Spirit into wilderness to be tempted by devil." (Matthew 4:1) The Holy Spirit was there when apostles needed guidance to preach gospel and write New Testament and do it without error, "For Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luke 12:12)
Even though Holy Spirit was present and active in life and ministry of Jesus, this was not only purpose which Holy Spirit would have for us. The Holy Spirit would fulfill another very important role for God. Jesus taught disciples about purpose of Holy Spirit during His ministry. "‘He who believes in Me, as Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke concerning Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38,39) "And I will pray Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; Spirit of truth, whom world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16,17) "But Helper, Holy Spirit, whom Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you." (John 14:26) "But when Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from Father, Spirit of truth who proceeds from Father, He will testify of Me." (John 15:26) "Behold, I send Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
The Wages Of Sin Is DeathWritten by Stephen Kingery
"For wages of sin is death, but gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) This article is really about two ideas which Paul so beautifully brings together in this one verse: wages of (or payment for) sin is death, but forgiveness of that sin results in eternal life in Christ. Let's take a look at both contrasting ideas and see how they come together in this beautiful verse.
First of all, wages of sin is death. In other words, punishment for living a life of sinfulness without repentance and salvation is surely death. The death spoken of here is also referred to in Scriptures as "second death." The meaning of word "death" is a separation. (The meaning of word "death" in secular world means an ending of life, or that person has ceased to live.) In physical sense, death is separation of spirit of person from physical body. This is first death. The "second death" is eternal separation of spirit of a person from presence of God. In as much as God is our Creator - both as a human race and as an individual - it is our desire for our spirit to return to God upon physical death to be able to live with Him for eternity. However, due to sin - or more specifically a life of sinfulness without remission of sin and salvation - one will experience "second death" which is eternal separation of spirit with God.
If one is eternally separated from God, then where will his spirit be? "But cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is second death." (Revelation 21:8) "And I saw dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is Book of Life. And dead were judged according to their works, by things which were written in books. The sea gave up dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up dead who were in them. And they were judged, each according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into lake of fire. This is second death. And anyone not found written in Book of Life was cast into lake of fire." (Revelation 20:12-15) "In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from presence of Lord and from glory of His power." (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9)
These Scriptures paint a grim picture for those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and strive to live a life pleasing to Him. This picture is one of a spiritual separation from our Creator. It is also a picture of eternal suffering in "lake of fire."
The Bible does not give us a great amount of detail as to place we call Hell. Perhaps it is to protect us from knowledge of that awful place. It is possible that very knowledge would destroy us. (No Scripture for this, just my opinion.) But Bible does give us a glimpse of what it will be like. Jesus tells us of rich man who went to hell in Luke 16:19-24. In this passage, verses 23 and 24 say, "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." How severe torment must be if a single drop of water would be desired to bring whatever slight relief it could. There is no way on earth that we can even begin to imagine torment that awaits unrepentant sinner.
The good news (no, great news) is that a sinner can be forgiven. "For God so loved world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into world to condemn world, but that world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16,17) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Even though wages of sin is death, God provided His Son to pay penalty for all who would accept Him as their Lord and Savior. It was through love that our Heavenly Father has for each one of us that He gave Jesus to bear our sins to cross and pay penalty that each of us, by rights, should be paying. You and I along with every other person living today or in past are guilty parties. We are ones who have sinned against Father. In order for justice to be done, we should pay price of death for our sins.