ONE GOD–THREE PERSONS

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Jesus Christ once said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10: 30). There are churches that teach that there is just one person in the Godhead, and deny that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.

CHRIST IS BODILY FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD

Paul referred to Christ and said, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2: 9). The term Godhead may be represented by such synonymous terms as divinity and deity. The word Godhead is a noun, and expresses the state or quality of being God. It has reference to the divine nature without indicating how many persons make up the divine nature. When Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” he indicated that there is a sense in which the Father and the Son are one.

THE FATHER IS GOD

In the Old Testament Moses taught that there was one God when he said, “Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6: 14). The word Lord is synonymous with the word Godhead, and is expressive of the divine nature of which there is only one. In the New Testament Paul said to the Corinthians, “…there is none other God but one” (1 Corinthians 8: 4). He also said, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8: 6). In verse four Paul teaches there is only one God, but two verses later he affirms that both the Father and Jesus Christ is God or Lord which means the same.

CHRIST IS GOD

The same scriptures that affirm that there is one God also teach that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are God. Christ is God, for in the prologue of the gospel according to John, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). “The Word” has reference to Jesus Christ who was made flesh, but who existed in the beginning with God: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14). We notice that the Word was with God. There is society and relationship in the Godhead, as expressed by the term “with.” In other words there is more than one person.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD

In the book of Acts Peter teaches that the Holy Spirit is God; for he says that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, but he also says that he lied to God. The obvious conclusion is that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5: 3-4). Therefore, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all share the nature of the one God; yet, they are three distinct persons. Often these three persons are mentioned together in such a way that one must believe that there are three persons that make up the Godhead.

THE THREE ARE MENTIONED TOGETHER AS GOD

When Jesus gave the great commission he said, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 18-19). If there is just one person in the Godhead, why be baptized into a relationship to three persons? In speaking of the temporary nature of the miraculous gifts which the early church received, Paul mentions all three persons of the Godhead, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-6). To the Corinthians the apostle Paul invoked, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13: l4). Would Paul have mentioned three persons in the context of deity if there is only one person?

ALL THREE PERSONS WERE PRESENT AT CHRIST’S BAPTISM

When Jesus Christ was about thirty years of age, he left his home country of Nazareth, and came down to the Jordan River to be baptized of John, which is described by Matthew, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3: 16-17). In this account we have one person Jesus Christ on earth dripping with the water from his baptism; then we have a second person, the Holy Spirit, descending down out of heaven and lighting upon Christ in the form of a dove; then there is even another person, the Father, speaking from heaven in an audible voice and commending his son Jesus Christ. There are either three persons in this connection or Jesus Christ was the greatest ventriloquist that ever lived.

THREE PERSONS BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN—THESE THREE ARE ONE!

Late in his life the apostle John said, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5: 7). It is impossible for there to be three persons and those three persons to be one person. In what sense then are these three one? They are not one person, but they are one in nature; one in all of their divine attributes, such as power, wisdom, justice, mercy and love; one in purpose and one in unity.

A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE ONE FLESH, BUT NOT ONE PERSON

Paul said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5: 31). If a husband and wife can be one flesh and not be one person then the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God and yet not be one person.

THERE ARE MANY MEMBERS IN ONE BODY, BUT THEY ARE NOT ONE PERSON

When the apostle Paul compared the church, the spiritual body of Christ to a human body, he said, “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12: 12). In the same sense that there can be one body, and yet many members, so there can be one God, and yet three persons that makeup that one God. In his intercessory prayer, Jesus prayed for the unity of the one body, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17: 21). If Christ and the Father are one in the sense that they are one person, then all the members of the church must be one person, for he prayed that the members of the church might be one as he and the Father were one.

Copyright © 2012, 2018 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

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