We believe there is one God who lives forever in three persons; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Math 28:13)
The concept of God dwelling eternally in three Persons has inspired awe and wonder in the heart of man, enlightening, enriching and elevating his view of Almighty God. The view of God that has been held by Christians for the last 2,000 years is that he exists as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – not that there are three separate Gods, nor that he is one God wearing three different hats – but that there is only one God who exists as three distinct Persons.
That God exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the only basis on which the Christian doctrine of redemption can be intelligently set forth. Hence, the revelation concerning the plurality of Persons in the Godhead is not given for the mere purpose of presenting something which shall be puzzling to human minds, but as a necessary step in the much fuller revelation concerning the plan of salvation.
A good beginning point here is to note the number of passages in the New Testament that mention all three persons of the Trinity together, often within the space of either one or two verses. The following are a few such passages.
Matthew 28:19: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Luke 1:35: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Romans 1:1, 3, 4: ". . . The gospel of God, . . .concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was . . . declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."
Romans 15:30: "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
The very fact that so many passages can refer to each of the three persons of the Trinity, with each having a distinctive role in our salvation and growth is the strongest possible evidence that the Holy Spirit is distinct from God the Father, just as Jesus is distinct from God the Father.
The following passages are particularly significant:
At the baptism of Jesus we read, "…he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love…'"(Matthew 3:16:17). Note that the Spirit descends on Jesus to empower him for his public ministry, while God the Father speaks from heaven. This speaks of the amazing unity and personal impact each one of them has on us today.
Jesus' final commands to his disciples, recorded in Matthew's Gospel, includes the command to baptise converts, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Baptism signifies our participation of dying to self and living connected to a divine family.
One writer, puts it this way:
Our prayer is not making conversation with God. It is joining the conversation that is already going on in God. It is being invited to participate in the relationships of intimacy between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is an eternal dance already in full swing, and we are caught up in to it. Prayer is allowing ourselves to join the dance and experience the movements, the constant interplay of the Persons of the Trinity.
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:14). Here is one of the clearest references of the three Persons of the Godhead, each of whom is designated by that special ministry that belongs to him.
John the Baptist taught them about the Holy Spirit even before Jesus appeared (Matt. 3:11; John 1:32-34). Jesus referred to God as "Father" 181 times, and later the disciples called Him "Father" 78 times, and not once is He confused with, or called "Jesus" or "the Holy Spirit."
Though each of the Persons of the Trinity exercises a different role in meeting our needs and preparing us for future glory, these roles often overlap. They exist in a unity of love, and all their purposes towards us are achieved in harmony with one another. All this points strongly to the fact that God himself is not only personal, but exists in relationships. Jesus himself declared that the unity of love that he desires the church to demonstrate to the world should be patterned on the unity that existed between him and God the Father (John 17:20,21).
If we, in our relationships, are meant to demonstrate the character of God, then the idea of the Trinity provides a very good explanation of what real relationship is all about!