20 October 2021
Series: Recharge
Book: Mark

Trinity and the God-Man

Bible Passage: Mark 13:1-23

Jesus is both fully God and fully man, yet he also talks openly about the Father and the Holy Spirit. So how do the Trinity and the God-Man coexist?

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Discussion Question: Post a Bible verse that points to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Is God Three, One or Both; and why the Answer is So Important!

Jesus was asked by a Scribe in verse 28 “Which commandment is the most important of all.” Jesus answered in verse 29 with, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Jesus then followed that with loving God with all we are and loving each other the same way.

Note: The Scribe agreed with Jesus which led to Jesus launching from that into something massively important related to it. Sam Mills noted, “The lawyer had exegeted 1 Sam 15:22 carefully and well; Jesus now invited him to use the same care on Ps 110:1 which would lead him to appreciate part of the mystery of the Trinity, for while God is one, God also exists in more than one person, as Ps 110:1 reveals. Furthermore, this same psalm indicates that the coming Messiah was to be both divine and human.”1

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

“The New Testament books refer to Psalm 110 no less than thirty-three times. The New Testament writers clearly understood how important this text is for understanding the person and work of Jesus.”2

“The Jews universally held Psalm 110 to be a messianic psalm (i.e., a prophecy of the Messiah and the Messianic Age), and the accepted understanding of 2 Sam 7:16 (and many other Scriptures) was that the Messiah (‘Christ’ is from the Greek equivalent for ‘Messiah’) would be of Davidic descent.”3

“In this verse in Psalm 110, Yahweh is having a conversation with someone who is given the title Adonai, or “Lord.” In most cases in the Old Testament, Adonai is the supreme title for Yahweh. It means “the One who is absolutely Sovereign.””4

“The full significance of Ps 110:1 is often overlooked because the first ‘Lord’ is Yhwh, God’s name in Hebrew (for which Jews, in order to avoid any possible risk of blasphemy, always substitute ‘Lord’ [no orthodox Jew ever articulates ‘Yahweh’]), and the second ‘Lord’ is Adonai, the Hebrew word for ‘Lord.’ (Wherever our English versions read ‘Lord’ [small capitals], the Hebrew text reads ‘Yhwh.’) So this verse reads literally, ‘Yhwh said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand.” ’ The Messiah, then, is man because He is David’s son, yet He is God because He sits at the right hand of Yhwh (God the Father)! David recognizes Him as deity by calling Him ‘my Lord.’ So the Messiah’s progenitor, under inspiration of the Spirit, pays tribute to His divine origin. Clearly, the Messiah must be both God and man.”5

“The crux is the first line, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord.…’ ” … Thus, to return to the implication of the Psalm in Jesus’ question, if David, who was believed to be the author of the Psalm, said, “ ‘The Lord [= God] said to my Lord [= Messiah]: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet,’ ” then the Messiah is obviously superior to David, and not merely a descendant, as Judaism popularly held.”6

““Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” (v. 37a). In other words, how can David describe one of his descendants as greater than himself? In Jewish categories, the son was always subordinate to his father. The son was never greater than the father. By that reasoning, as marvelous as the Messiah would be, if He was to be David’s Son, He could not be greater than David. Yet David himself calls his Son “my Lord,” indicating that Jesus is not simply the Son of David, He is David’s Sovereign. He is David’s Adonai. He is David’s King, the One before whom even David must bow.”7

GodMan vs. Kenosis Theory of Christ Being Fully God and Fully Man

Quotes are from an article on Bible.org called The Empty God. In this article, the author demonstrates why the modern doctrine called the KENOSIS is not a correct Biblical interpretation of what the New Testament actually teaches about the “kenosis” or “emptying” of the Deity of Christ to be able to function as God and human. Let me first begin by reading three of the most prominent passages in the New Testament that point to Jesus being God and Man at the same time. And then I’m going to give you the “Cliff Notes” version of the key points made by Charles T. Buntin from his article on Bible.org.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. … 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)

“The orthodox view, which was approved by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and which has been accepted and proven to be fully Biblical by evangelical Christians since the Reformation, was that Christ was the God-Man, fully God and fully Man, one person with two unmixed natures.”

“The important key concept in the orthodox doctrine is whatever Christ did, He did as a whole person. For instance, when His human body was beaten, tortured, and died, He suffered as a whole person, so that though God cannot be killed, it can be said that God Died for Our Sins.”

“Therefore, what we see as Christ’s humiliation was done as … our redeemer, our substitute. When He was living, acting, speaking, suffering, denying full knowledge of events, claiming total dependence on the Spirit, etc. as a man, he was doing these things out of His human nature, and in our place. Yet, because He was also God, He could pay the whole price–he lived, acted, spoke, and suffered as no other man ever had or ever could.”

“If we were to make an illustration of Jesus as if He were a policeman going under cover in a bad neighborhood, the Kenosis doctrine has the policeman leaving his weapons at home, along with his badge and other symbols of authority. He can call on headquarters for help, but he himself is helpless and defenseless. The orthodox teaching has the policeman himself as a “lethal weapon”, he is a martial arts expert who can kill with a blow–he is skilled on the level that he can reach within a man’s chest and pull out his still-beating heart–he can defeat multiple opponents. He can leave His I.D. , badge, uniform, etc., behind just like cop number one, but he cannot cease to be the walking weapon that he is. He looks normal, he appears as helpless as the first policeman, but he has the ability within himself to defend himself. He might choose to call for help; he might even choose to allow himself to be shackled, hurt or killed for the good of the mission–but he has the ability within himself to defeat his enemies. Raise that illustration, and the powers of the second policeman to infinity, and the illustration shows the difference in the two doctrines.”

It is vital that Jesus is not just a human messiah. If so His death could not pay the penalty of our sin and his resurrection could not make the way for ours either! Only God was capable of paying an eternal debt but only man could justly pay it, therefore Jesus had to be fully God and fully man!

The logical conflict of Jesus being fully both takes us a very similar issue. How can God be three and one at the same time as well? Is three, one, both three and one or is one who appears as three?

A few weeks ago, we referenced a false doctrine in our study that is very old but was re-popularized in our lifetime by some within the Pentecostal Movement, most famously TD Jakes. Within the last decade Jakes claimed to have somewhat recanted from his belief in this doctrine, but ironically, a couple of years ago, a very popular preacher that claims to be mentored by Jakes, Steven Furtick, posted a clip of one of his sermons where he was clearly teaching Oneness Doctrine otherwise known as Modalism. He states that Jesus changed forms to become the Holy Spirit. It’s quite clear when you listen to his own posted clip that he is stating it with intentionality. This is a doctrine that has been called heresy throughout the entirety of Church History. The doctrine states that God is ONE (as we saw Jesus say) and as such, HE is never THREE, but rather presents Himself as three different persons but only one at a time. The central doctrine of Christianity is that God is Three and ONE at the same time. It is so clear in Scripture, that if it is not true Scripture itself is untrustworthy and so is the Gospel! The Testimony that God is always THREE and ONE and not ONE who presents Himself in Three different WAYS.

Psalm 110 not only showed us that the Messiah is also the eternal Son of God, but that both were present at the same time! Some say this never occurs in the Old Testament but that is a very clear instance that the New Testament itself tells us exists in the Old Testament; that Jesus taught was in the Old Testament! But, that’s not the only Old Testament testimony to God being THREE and ONE simultaneously. In Genesis 1 we have Elohim specifically written as a plural noun, and the nature of that plurality is unmistakable in Genesis 1:26.

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

God—the name of the Supreme Being, signifying in Hebrew, “Strong,” “Mighty.” It is expressive of omnipotent power; and by its use here in the plural form, is obscurely taught at the opening of the Bible, a doctrine clearly revealed in other parts of it, namely, that though God is one, there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit, who were engaged in the creative work8

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

Same plural noun for God.

The “our” is not God and all He has created, nor is it God and the angels; the “our” is a clear reference back to the plurality of his singularity – the plural form of Elohim.

The Testimony of JESUS to the TRIUNE God.

Jesus prays to the Father all over the Gospel.

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (Luke 23:34)

46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (John 17:1-2)

Jesus speaks of the Spirit separately from Himself and coming after Him.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)

Jesus taught all three as a present reality in John 16.

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15)

Jesus teaches us to be Baptized in the name of all three.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Conclusion

The Doctrine of the Trinity is NOT something formed later but is seen from Genesis to Revelation and not just as a teaching of Biblical writers but clearly found in the teachings of Jesus.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is Key to the Doctrine of the Gospel – “One of the beauties and glorious mysteries of the cross is that He who hung there was at that moment sustaining the universe–the very breath of the Roman soldiers was in His grip. He could have destroyed the Roman empire with a wink, with a thought, but He voluntarily restrained His great power, submitted to the plan He and the Father had agreed to before the world was made, and laid down His life. The entire Trinity was involved here–The Father pouring out His wrath , the Son Propitiating the wrath (Rom 1:18, 3:25-2, 5:8-11), and the Spirit involved in a way the Bible does not specify (Heb 9:14). This is a great mystery, but it cannot be solved by reducing the Son to something not quite God.” (https://bible.org/article/empty-god#P101_22901)

God being three and one is the ultimate picture of the trustworthiness of His love! He is so perfectly Holy that is His love is perfect as well. The only explanation I can offer as to HOW God can be Three and One simultaneously is that the Bible also says He is literally love! 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16). And did you catch the application of the fact that He is love? Because He is love we can know and believe the love He has for us! God being 3 and perfectly one has many theological implications but none is more visceral than the confidence that if we are in a covenant relationship with God then we are in a covenant relationship with literal, eternal, and perfect love!

Footnotes

  1. Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 22:41–Lk 20:44). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.
  2. Sproul, R. C. (2011). Mark (First Edition, p. 325). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.
  3. Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 22:41–Lk 20:44). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.
  4. Sproul, R. C. (2011). Mark (First Edition, p. 326). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.
  5. Mills, M. S. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 22:41–Lk 20:44). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.
  6. Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (pp. 376–377). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.
  7. Sproul, R. C. (2011). Mark (First Edition, pp. 327–328). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.
  8. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.