By Stephen Leonard
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.’ “ Matthew 3:16-17
There were very obviously three prominent persons at Jesus’ baptism; Jesus himself standing in the Jordan River, the Spirit in the form of a dove landing on him, and God the Father, in the form of a verbal voice from heaven. Three. The triune God.
It is said the word “Trinity” never appears in Scripture. But the occasions in which three persons who are clearly God appear together in Scripture are many. The second person, or Son, appears even in the Old Testament as a “theophany,” that is, a manifestation of God in visible form. Jesus had not yet been born in a manger, but since he is the “eternal Word”, John 1:1-34, the Son is always the visible expression of God to mankind. But Scripture affirms there are two others, who also are the One God: God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
In the very beginning, related to us in the Book of Genesis, there were three present at the Creation. God the Father, Jesus, for “in Him, all things were created,” and the Spirit “hovering over the created waters.”
In Matthew 28, Jesus’ disciples were commanded to baptize believers in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14 includes a blessing from all Three. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, the Three distributes spiritual gifts to men and women.
Ephesians 4:4-6 states clearly that we are called by a Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is among many verses in God’s Word, all speaking of our God as Trinity: three in one, uncreated, eternal, all One God.
The denial of the Trinity is a denial of the truth and authority of the Bible, God’s Word. The denial of the Trinity is a denial of the God who truly is. If you worship a non-Triune God, you do not worship God, but a figment of your imagination.
So if you will not come to God except through his Son, Jesus Christ, and by your regeneration, by the Holy Spirit, you cannot be saved to eternal life. This is why you are baptized into Him in the name of the Triune God. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; He is your God and only Savior.
“We lift upon our shield God’s name, the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same: the Three in One and One in Three, our Rock and Tower, God of Light, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word; we claim the name of grace and might: salvation is of Christ the Lord.”
(1st verse of St. Patrick’s hymn, “Patrick’s Breastplate,” 5th Century)