What Is The Distinction Between God The Father, God The Son And God The Holy Spirit – Spiritual Reading.
But now we come to the question, Is the Holy Spirit a distinct personality from the Father and from the Son? He might be a person, as we have clearly seen that He is, and He might be a divine person, as we have just seen that He is, and at the same time He might be only the same person who manifested Himself at times as the Father and at other times as the Son, and in that case there would not be three divine Persons in the Godhead, but one divine Person, who variously manifested Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So the question that now confronts us is, Is the Holy Spirit a distinct personality separate and distinct from the Father and from the Son? This question is plainly answered in various passages in the New Testament.
1. We find this question answered in:
The first place in John 14:26 and John 15:26. In John 14:26 we read: “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.” In John 15:26 we read: “But when the Comforter is come, [whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me.”
In both of these passages we are told that the Holy Spirit is an entirely distinct personality from the Father and the Son, that He is sent from the Father by the Son. We are elsewhere taught that Jesus Christ was sent by the Father (John 6:29; 8:29, 42). It is as clear as language can make it in these passages that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not one and the same Person manifesting Himself in three different forms, but that they are three distinct personalities.
2. We find clear proof that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct personalities in:
John 16:13, where we read: “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak: and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come.”
In this passage the clearest possible distinction is drawn between the Holy Spirit who speaks and the One from whom He speaks, and we are told in so many words that this One from whom He speaks is not Himself, but another.
3. In the next verse the same thought is brought out in still another way:
In this verse, John 16:14, we read: “He shall glorify me: for He shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you.” Here the clearest distinction is drawn between He, the Holy Spirit, and Me, Jesus Christ.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit not to glorify Himself, but another, and this Other is Jesus Christ, and He takes what belongs to another; that is, to Christ, and declares it unto believers. It would be impossible to express in human language a distinction between two personalities more plainly than the distinction between the Son and the Holy Ghost is expressed in this verse.
4. The distinction between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is very clearly brought out in:
Luke 3:21, 22: “Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptised, that, Jesus also having been baptised, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Here a clear distinction is drawn between Jesus Christ who was on the earth, and the Father who spake to Him from heaven, and the Holy Spirit who descended in bodily form as a dove from the Father upon the Son.
5. Still another striking illustration is found in:
Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Here a clear distinction is drawn between the name “of the Father,” and the name “of the Son,” and the name “of the Holy Spirit.”
6. A very striking setting forth of a clear distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is found in:
John 14:16, 17: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” Here the clearest possible distinction is drawn between the Son who prays, and the Father to whom He prays, and “another Comforter,” who is given in answer to His prayer. Nothing could possibly be plainer than the distinction that Jesus Christ draws in this passage between Himself and the Father and the Holy Spirit.
7. We find the same thing again in:
John 16:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him unto you.” Here the Lord Jesus Himself draws a clear distinction between Himself, who is about to go away, and the Holy Spirit, the other Comforter who is coming to take His place after He has gone away.
8. The same thing is brought out again in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost in:
Acts 2:33, where Peter is recorded as saying: “Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.” Here a clear distinction is drawn between the Son exalted to the right hand of the Father, and the Father Himself, and the Holy Spirit whom the Son receives from the Father, and sheds upon the Church.
To sum up all under this head: again and again the Bible draws the clearest possible distinction between the Holy Spirit, and the Father, and the Son. They are three separate personalities, having mutual relations to one another, acting upon one another, speaking of or to one another, applying the pronouns of the second and third persons to one another.
We have seen that the Bible makes it plain that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person and that He is an entirely separate personality from the Father and from the Son. In other words, that there are three divine Persons in the Godhead. It has oftentimes been said that the doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in the Bible.
It is true that the doctrine of the Trinity is not directly taught in the Bible in so many words, but the doctrine of the Trinity is simply the putting together of truths that are clearly and unmistakably taught in the Bible. It is clearly taught in the Bible that there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
But it is taught with equal clearness, as we have seen to-day, that there are three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and the doctrine of the Trinity is the putting together of these truths which are taught with equal plainness.
But, some one may ask, How can God be three and one at the same time? The answer to this question is very simple and easily understandable. He cannot be three in one in the same sense, nor does the Bible teach that He is. But in what sense can He be one and three?
A perfectly satisfactory answer to this question is manifestly impossible from the very nature of the case—first, because God is Spirit and numbers belong primarily to the physical world, and difficulty must always arise when we attempt to conceive of spiritual being in the forms of physical thought.
In the second place, a perfectly satisfactory answer to the question is impossible because God is infinite and we are finite. “God dwells in the light that no man can approach unto,” and our attempts at a philosophical explanation of the Trinity of God is an attempt to put the facts of infinite being into the forms of finite thought, and of necessity such an attempt can at the very best be only partially successful.
This much we know, that God is essentially one, and also that there are three Persons in this one Godhead. There is but one God, but this one God makes Himself known to us as three distinct Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is one God, eternally existing, and manifesting Himself in three Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If we were to go into the realm of philosophy, it could be shown that from the very necessities of the case, that if God were to be God, there must be in the eternal Godhead before the creation of finite beings a multiplicity of persons; for otherwise God could not love, for there would be no one to love, and therefore God could not be God.
The ease with which one can grasp the Unitarian conception of God is not in its favour but against it. Any god who could be thoroughly comprehended by a finite mind would not be an infinite God. It would be impossible for a thoroughly intelligent mind to really worship a god whom he could thoroughly understand. If God is to be really God, He must be beyond our complete understanding.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not merely a speculative doctrine. It is a doctrine of tremendous daily practical importance. It enters into the very warp and woof of our experience, if our experience is a truly Christian experience. For example, in our prayer we need God, the Father, to Whom we pray, we need God, the Son, through Whom we pray, and we need God, the Holy Spirit, in Whom we pray.
So also in our worship we need God, the Father, the very centre of our worship, we need the Son, through Whom we approach Him in our worship, and we need to worship by the Holy Spirit. But all three—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—are the objects of our worship. The long metre doxology is thoroughly Christian in its worship when it sings:”Praise God from whom all blessings flow,Praise Him all creatures here below,Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts,Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
And so, also, is the Gloria Patri, the words of which we so often sing, but the thought of which we so seldom grasp: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.
Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.
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