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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Trinity: One God in Three Persons

Don Stewart :: Are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All Addressed as God?

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Are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All Addressed as God?

The Trinity: One God in Three Persons – Question 11

Yes. In the Bible we find that there are three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these Persons is called God. The evidence for this is as follows:

The Father Is Called God

The Bible talks about a Person who is designated as the Father. This Person is called God. Isaiah the prophet wrote:

And yet, LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NLT)

The Lord, the God of Israel, is the Father to His people.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray in the following manner:

“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.” (Matthew 6:9 NLT)

They were to address the Father in heaven. We only pray to God, never to anyone else for nobody else can answer our prayers.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, he began his letter by saying that he was sent from “God the Father”:

Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)... (Galatians 1:1 NASB)

God is called the Father in both the Old and New Testaments. Of this, there is no doubt.

The Son Is Also Addressed as God

The Bible records the existence of a Second Person who is distinct from God the Father, and who is also called God. This person is Jesus, God the Son. Jesus has been God for all eternity. Two thousand years ago, He became visible to humanity when He became a human being. John the evangelist wrote that Jesus existed in the beginning with God the Father:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. (John 1:1-4 NRSV)

Jesus Christ is called “the Word.” He existed in the beginning as someone who was distinct from God. Yet, He also is God. John tells us that this was true of Jesus before the world was created; Jesus was fully God.

1. Jesus Claimed Equality with God

In another place, John wrote about Jesus being equal with God. The religious leaders were attempting to kill Him because of His claims:

So the Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him. In addition to disobeying the Sabbath rules, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God. (John 5:18 NLT)

The Jews understood that Jesus was making Himself equal with God. For this claim, they wanted all the more to kill Him.

2. Jesus Existed before Abraham

Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham, a man who lived two thousand years before the New Testament era. John records this episode:

“Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jewish people who had been listening to him replied, “You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out from the temple area. (John 8:56-59 NET)

The Bible does not teach that humans pre-existed. In other words, until we are conceived we have no existence. Jesus, however, said He existed before Abraham. This is another claim by Him of His divine nature. He is God.

3. Jesus Was Worshipped as God

The Son is also to be worshipped as God. After Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, His disciples rightly worshipped Him:

And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33 NRSV)

Only God receives worship, not humans or angels. When these men worshipped Jesus they were not rebuked by Him. The fact that He received their worship is another line of evidence that Jesus is God Himself.

God the Father commanded the angels to worship Jesus when He came into the world. The writer to the Hebrews said,

And then, when he presented his honored Son to the world, God said, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6 NLT)

God the Father ordered the worship of God the Son. Again, there is be no worship of angels or humans. Only God is worshipped.

4. Doubting Thomas Acknowledged Jesus’ Deity

Thomas is another example of acknowledging Jesus’ deity. When the risen Christ appeared to Thomas, he realized that Jesus was indeed God Himself. John records what happened:

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27, 28 HCSB)

Thomas confessed that Jesus was both Lord and God. Readers of John’s gospel are to make the same conclusion as Thomas. They too are to confess that Jesus is Lord and God.

Indeed, Jesus said that we are blessed if we believe in Him apart from actually seeing Him:

Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:29-31 HCSB)

The deeds which Jesus did demonstrate His divine nature. He is the eternal God who become a human being.

5. Jesus Is God over All

When Paul wrote to the Romans he called Christ, a man who was fully human, “God over all:”

Their ancestors were great people of God, and Christ himself was a Jew as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. (Romans 9:5 NLT)

Jesus was both human and divine. He is God “over all.”

6. Jesus Is the Great God

Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth. Paul wrote to Titus about the blessed hope of the return of Jesus. In doing so, he calls Him the “great God:”

...while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13 NRSV)

Jesus is the “great God and Savior.” Some English versions are somewhat unclear here. They make it appear that two people are in view; the great God and the Savior. However, the original Greek does not allow for this. In this passage the great God is the Savior, Jesus Christ.

7. The Fullness of God Dwells in Jesus

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Colosse. In it, he said that the entire fullness of Deity dwelt in Christ’s body:

For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily... (Colossians 2:9 HCSB)

Jesus was fully God.

8. Jesus Christ Is the Exact Representation of God

The writer to the Hebrews stated that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being, His character. He wrote,

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3 NIV)

This is about as clear as could be. He is the exact representation of God’s being. This could not be said of humans or angels.

9. Jesus Is Our God and Savior

When Peter wrote his second letter to the believers he began by calling Jesus “both God and Savior.” He put it this way:

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ... (2 Peter 1:1 NRSV)

In the original Greek there is no ambiguity here whatsoever. It is talking about one Person, not two. Jesus is both God and Savior.

Consequently, we have a second Person mentioned in the New Testament who is also called God.

Jesus and God Are Not Identical

Although Jesus is called God in the New Testament, it is also clear that the New Testament never makes Jesus identical with God. Jesus refers to God as someone other than Himself. He prays to God, refers to God being in heaven, and commends His Spirit to God when He dies.

Therefore, it is correct to say that Jesus is God but incorrect to say that God is Jesus. We must be careful to state this accurately. God is a Trinity. Jesus is God but so is the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Is Called God

This brings us to the Person of the Holy Spirit. There is a Third Person revealed in the Bible who is distinct from both the Father and the Son. He is known as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also referred to as being God. We read about this in the Book of Acts:

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God.” (Acts 5:3, 4 NLT)

Ananias did not lie to a human but rather to God; the Holy Spirit. Lying to the Holy Spirit is equivalent to lying to God.

The Holy Spirit Is Linked with the Father and the Son

There is something else. Once it is understood that God the Father and God the Son are fully God, this helps us better understand the identity of the Holy Spirit. On a number of occasions, the Holy Spirit is classified on an equal basis with the Father and Son. For example, Jesus does this in the Great Commission:

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

The Holy Spirit would never be put in the same classification with God the Father and God the Son if He was not God. The fact that we find Him put on an equal basis with the Father and the Son is another indication that He too is fully God.

The biblical evidence is that the Holy Spirit is also God.

Therefore, all three members of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are called God.

Conclusion: Each Member of the Trinity Is Addressed as God

From the biblical evidence we discover that three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit are each addressed as God. This being the case, we have further testimony of the Trinity.

Summary – Question 11
Are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All Addressed as God?

Scripture says that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all distinct Persons. The Father is not the Son while the Spirit is not the Father, etc. They are not the same Person. The Bible makes this abundantly clear.

Though these three persons are distinct, each of them is specifically addressed as God.

Scripture speaks of God the Father having eternal existence. In addition, He is directly called God. Nobody disputes this.

The Bible also says that Jesus Christ is God the Son. Among other things, He is directly called God, worshipped as God, identified with God the Father on an equal basis, and said to have existed before Abraham. His identity is clear.

Finally there is a third distinct Person, the Holy Spirit, who is also called God. Furthermore, He too is linked on an equal basis with God the Father and God the Son.

Again we emphasize that these three persons are distinct from one another. When the Bible is specifically speaking about the Father it is not speaking about the Son. The same holds true when it is speaking of the Son. This is not another reference to the Holy Spirit.

Hence we come to our conclusion. Since each of these persons is addressed as God, and there is only one God, then the conclusion must be that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one God. This is the doctrine of the Trinity.

Is God the Son, Jesus Christ, a Distinct Person from the Holy Spirit? ← Prior Section
Are Divine Attributes, or Characteristics, Ascribed to Each Member of the Trinity? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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