Faith For Today: God - Three in one

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By Steve Gettinger

John 8:48-59 says,
The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
Today I want to talk about the trinity. 
Some people get a little confused over the word “trinity.” When they look in their Bibles they do not find the word “trinity,” so they wonder why Christians use it to describe God.
There are quite a few words used in Christianity that are not found in the Bible such as: Soteriology, Eschatology, theology, church polity, exegesis, isogesis.  These words are “short-cut” words that can save us time when we talk to each other regarding the things of God. The word trinity is a short-cut way to describe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — one God in three persons.
Jesus said something very interesting in verse 58 of John Chapter 8. He called himself the name, “I am,” at which point the Jews wanted to kill him.
In order to understand what Jesus meant by that phrase, we need to go back to the Old Testament book of Exodus, when Moses met with God aMt. Sinai.
In the book of Exodus, Chapter 3, it talks about God appearing to Moses in a bush that was on fire but did not burn up. God spoke to Moses from within the burning bush and told Moses his name.
“Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ “
God’s name translated into English is “I am.”
In verse 58 of today’s Gospel reading, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
When Jesus said this, he was claiming to be God. That is not the kind of thing you say in a crowd of devout Jews in first century Israel. Saying something like that could get you killed, which explains why it says, “So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” These Jews were ready to stone Jesus for claiming to be God.
I find it interesting that some people want to say that Jesus was a good man, but not God in the flesh. Jesus does not allow us to say that he was just a good man, because he himself claimed to be God.  If anyone insists that Jesus is not God, then they must also insist that Jesus is a liar of the worst sort — a liar who claimed to be God. Jesus insists that we must accept him as God or reject him as a liar. I encourage people to accept him as God, because he said he would rise from the dead and he did. That is what I would call a God thing, wouldn’t you?
While it is proper to believe that Jesus is God, there is more to it than that. Jesus not only claimed to be God, but he also spoke of God as his father. In the gospel reading from St. John, Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’” (John 8:54). So Jesus not only takes the name of God to himself, but he also teaches that God is his father. So now we have God the father and God the son, but what about God the Holy Spirit?
Peter tells us about God the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:32. This reading comes from Peter’s Pentecost sermon.
Peter preached, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:32).
Here we see the father exalting the son and the son pouring the Holy Spirit out on his disciples and followers.
So the doctrine of the trinity in a nutshell is this: God the father sends God the son (Jesus) into the world (Christmas). God the son redeems the world (Easter). God the Holy Spirit brings people to faith in Jesus. The three persons of the one God work together in perfect harmony to bring salvation to us, to save us.
What does our triune God save us from? Our sins. Each of us sins daily in thought, word and deed. We act in selfish and unloving ways toward God and others. We dishonor God with our mouths and say shameful and mean things. We often neglect Bible reading and prayer for entertainment and hobbies. We dishonor those in authority that God has put over us, such as parents, pastors, teachers and rulers. Many of us try to find ways around authority especially when authority does not let us do what we want or tell us things we do not want to hear. We rebel, we slander, we resist them and we treat them with contempt.
But God has made a way to save us from these sins and all sins. God the father sent the Son into the world to take on human flesh. God the son took all our sin and the sin of the world and bore it on the cross of Calvary so that our sin could be paid for. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross earned forgiveness for mankind but all the forgiveness that Jesus paid for on that cross is no good if it is not delivered and received. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in. 
The Holy Spirit brings God’s gifts of faith and grace to us so that we can be saved and forgiven. The Holy Spirit works through the word of God to create and sustain faith in us. Some of you may wonder, but what about those who reject God’s gift of faith and forgiveness? Those who reject the faith and forgiveness that God offers will miss the joys of heaven and spend eternity separated from God. They will spend an eternity in the loneliness of hell. God does not want people to go to hell that is why he sent Jesus. But, if a person rejects the gifts that God offers them they separate themselves from him. They will spend eternity in hell, not because God does not love them.  They will spend eternity in hell because they did not love God and they rejected the only gift that could save them, faith and trust in Jesus.
Faith and trust in Jesus and what he did for you is free and is for everyone. Receive it with thanksgiving and you can know that heaven is your home.