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More on the Trinity, Part 4
by Karl Kemp  
10/24/2011 / Bible Studies


I'll continue the listing of some verses from this Gospel of John that show that God the Father and God the Son are distinct Persons:

John 15:1, 2, 8-10, 16, 21, 23, 24, 26 ((I'll just quote John 15:10, 21, 26, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. ... (21) But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. ... (26) When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father (see Acts 2:33), that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me." We see the Trinity in this last verse.); John 16:3, 5 ("These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. ... (5) But now I am going to Him who sent Me...."); John 16:15 ("All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He [the Holy Spirit] takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." We see the Trinity here.); John 16:23, 24 ("In that day [after Jesus is glorified and we are born again] you will not question Me about anything [or, better, "you will not ask Me for anything"]. Truly [Amen], truly [Amen], I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. (24) Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." We see two Persons here.); John 16:26-28 ("In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf, (27) for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. (28) I came forth from the Father and have come into the world [through the virgin birth]; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." Again we see two Persons and the preexistence of God the Son.); John chapter 17 (Essentially all of the verses of this chapter are relevant to show the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son, but I'll just quote John 17:1-5 [We discussed these verses earlier in this paper.], "Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You. (2) even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. (3) This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God [Quite a few similar statements about the preeminent role that God the Father has in the Trinity are found throughout the New Testament (see Rom. 16:26, 27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 11:3; 15:27, 28; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2;5; 6:13-16; and Jude 1:24, 25).], and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (4) I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. (5) Now Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.' " This last verse is especially helpful in that it shows that God the Son was with the Father before the world, or anything else, was ever created (like John 1:1-3, for example). He was a Person sharing glory with God the Father, and through whom all things were created. This verse, by itself, should suffice to show that He was a Person with God the Father (and God the Holy Spirit) before creation began. There is no way we can say that He was just a word or a thought or an idea in the mind of God the Father before He became the God-man.); John 20:17 ("Jesus [having been resurrected] said to her [to Mary Magdalene], 'Stop clinging to Me, for I am not yet ascended to the Father, but go to My brethren and say to them, "I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God." ' " It is clear that Jesus, after His resurrection, still was a Person distinct from God the Father and that God the Father has the preeminent role in the Trinity.)

I'll also list some verses from the Gospel of John that explain what Jesus meant when He said that He and the Father are one, and that He who has seen Him has seen the Father, and similar expressions. (It is clear that He didn't mean that they were the same Person): John 5:17-23 ((When Jesus was attacked for healing a man on the Sabbath, "He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' [As verse 19 shows, Jesus didn't heal on the Sabbath on His own initiative.] (18) For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (19) Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, 'Truly [Amen], truly [Amen], I say to you, the Son can do nothing unless it is something He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (21) For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (22) For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, (23) so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.' " We clearly see two Persons in these verses, as we so often do throughout the Bible.)); John 5:30, 36 ("I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear [from the Father], I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. ... ...for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish - the very works that I do - testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me."); John 7:16-18 ("So Jesus answered them and said, 'My teaching is not mine, but Him who sent Me. (17) If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.' "); John 8:26-29 (" 'I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.' (27) They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. (28) So Jesus said, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, (I had a footnote: On the words "I am He," see under John 13:19 in my paper on John chapters 13-17.) and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (29) And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.' "); John 12:49 ("For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."); John 14:24 ("He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me."); John 14:31 ["but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. ....")


John 10:30 (with John 10:27-29). (I had a footnote: See my paper titled, "Verse-by-Verse Study of John Chapters 10-12 (with John 9:35-41)" for more details.) (When we read John 10:30 in the light of the other things Jesus said in the Gospel of John, it doesn't offer any real support for the oneness view of God. It is clear that Jesus didn't mean that He and the Father are the same Person.) "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all [God the Father has the preeminent role in the Trinity.], and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. [These verses strongly emphasize the security of believers, but they do not teach that true Christians cannot willfully turn from God and His truth and righteousness. ((I had a lengthy footnote: See my paper titled, "Once Saved, Always Saved?" In Revelation chapters 2, 3 Jesus warned many of the Christians that if they didn't repent, they would cease to be His people, and those passages make it clear that He was speaking to true Christians. For example, He told the Christians at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) that if they didn't repent He would remove their lampstand. The fact that they had a lampstand proved that it was a true Christian church (Rev. 1:20). If He removed their lampstand, however, they would no longer be true Christians. And Jesus warned the majority of the Christians at Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) that if they didn't repent He would come against them in judgment like a thief, that they would not walk with Him in white, and that He would erase their names from the book of life. The fact that He told them that they must "wake up and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die" (Rev. 3:2), that they had soiled their garments, unlike the few Christians at Sardis who had not soiled their garments, and that their names were in the book of life showed that the Christians who must repent, or else, had become true Christians.))] (30) I and the Father are one." The fact that the word "one" is neuter in the Greek, not masculine, further demonstrates that Jesus was not saying that He and the Father are one Person. The Gospel of John (as I have demonstrated), and even these few verses (John 10:27-30), make it quite clear that Jesus wasn't saying that He and the Father are one Person.

John 17:21-23 are a helpful cross-reference: In those verses Jesus prayed to God the Father [a different Person], "that they [true Christians] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. [We see two Persons here as we do in the two verses that follow and a very large number of other verses throughout the Bible.] (22) The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one [As the next verse shows, the "glory" that Jesus was speaking of here included the divine enablement for us to be one in a supernatural way. We must understand, of course, that the fact that we become one as the Father and the Son are one in a very real sense does not mean that we become deity with the Father and the Son (and the Spirit).] (23) I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that you sent Me, and have loved them, even as You have loved Me." It is super-obvious that we are not going to become one Person with God the Father or God the Son, which helps confirm that Jesus is not one Person with God the Father either.

So what does it mean the Jesus and the Father are one. As these verses show, they are one - they are united - in their desire and commitment to make sure that no one (very much including the devil himself) will be able to snatch even one of God's sheep (the elect; true believers) out of their hands. They are united in every way, including the mutual love between the Persons of God the Father and God the Son that has always existed, and including the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ had been sent by the Father and was totally motivated to always say and do everything that the Father would have Him say and do. Since Jesus was God the Son, He was able to reveal the Father in a unique way (see John 1:18, for example).

I'll read John 10:36-38, verses that are closely tied to John 10:30. "do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (37) If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; (38) but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." These verses like the large number of verses I quoted from the Gospel of John in the two sections above, demonstrate the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son and that God the Father and God the Son are one in that Jesus' works were "the works of [His] Father" (not to mention the other ways in which they are one, including the words that Jesus spoke that came from the Father; His deity, etc.).

John 12:44, 45. (These verses are discussed in my paper on John chapters 10-12. See Matt. 10:40; Luke 10:16. Essentially everything I said above dealing with the Gospel of John applies here too.) "And Jesus cried out and said, 'He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. (45) He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.' " Although these verses are used by some oneness Christians to argue for a oneness view of God, I am quite sure that Jesus was not saying that He are the Father are one Person here. The point that Jesus was making in verse 44 was that those who honored Him by believing in Him (which included submitting to Him for who He was in faith) were also believing in and honoring God the Father who had sent Him. The one who really sees Jesus is also seeing God the Father in the sense that the Son reveals the Father (John 1:18) in His character, His words, His works, etc. Those who rejected Jesus showed that they didn't really believe in the One who sent Him. It is not possible to really see the Son and reject Him and to really believe in the One who sent Him. For us to believe in Jesus requires believing all that the Bible reveals about Him, including His being God the Son, who was sent by the Father into the world.

John 14:7, 9-11 (with John 14:1, 2, 6). (These verses are discussed in my paper on John chapters 13-17. Jesus spoke these words to His apostles on the last night before His crucifixion.) "(1) Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God [or, "you believe in God"], believe also in Me. (2) In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you [or, "if there were not, would I have told you that I am going to get a place ready for you?"] ... (6) Jesus said to him [to Thomas], 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life [see John 1:4; 11:25, for example]; no one comes to the Father but through Me. [One reason I quoted verses 1, 2, and 6 here is because these verses, along with a large number of verses in the Gospel of John (as I demonstrated above) and throughout the Bible, speak of the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son (and three Persons with the Holy Spirit). These verses also help set the stage for the following verses. The Lord Jesus brings us (He is the way) to God the Father through our becoming the Father's born-again children when we become Christians. At the end of this age, He will bring us to God the Father in the ultimate sense, when we will be glorified, including having resurrected, glorified bodies designed for us to live in heaven. Also, when Christians die they go to heaven, but not in the ultimate, fully glorified sense.] (7) If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also [My Greek New Testament (The United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (fourth revised edition) gives a different reading, which is favored by many commentators, and after further study I prefer this other reading, "If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also."]; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. [[The apostles had already come to know Jesus person to Person on one level, and they had come to know a lot more about God the Father through Jesus, but they hardly knew the Father on a person to Person basis. Now they would come to know Jesus and God the Father on a much deeper person to Person level. As verses 8-11 show, the disciples had already seen God the Father in one sense, in that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son), and they had heard the things that He had said and seen the things He had done from the Father. They came to know Jesus and God the Father on a deeper level through the things Jesus said to them that last evening (before the cross). They came to know Jesus and God the Father on a much deeper level through seeing the resurrected Christ and having Him share with them on numerous occasions throughout the forty days that started with His resurrection and culminated with His being taken up in a glory cloud from the Mount of Olives to return to the Father while they were watching. But their knowledge of God the Son and God the Father was taken to a whole new level through receiving the promised Holy Spirit, starting on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit brought the new birth and enables Christians to participate in spiritual/eternal life; He sanctifies; He reveals; He convicts; He anoints to minister; He distributes the charismatic gifts; etc. After we are born-again, we can know God the Son and God the Father in the Spiritual dimension. Now we can worship the Father in the Spirit and in the truth (see John 4:23, 24). Now the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits that we are (born-again) children of God, and we can cry out in sincerity and in truth, Abba, Father (see Rom. 8:15, 16). But the best is yet to come, when we will be glorified (see Rom. 8:17, 18, for example).

In John 14:18 Jesus says He will come to the disciples, and in verse 23 He says the Father and the Son will make their abode with the disciples. Those glorious intimate relationships come to pass (at least for the most part) through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in new-covenant believers.

Oneness Christians use John 14:7, 9-11 (along with John 10:30; 12:44, 45) to argue for a oneness view of God, but Jesus wasn't saying here, or in verses 9-11, that He and God the Father are one Person. What I said above regarding John 10:30 and 12:44, 45 fully applies here.]] (8) Philip said to Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.' (9) Jesus said to him, 'Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father [As we have discussed, those who had seen Jesus had seen the Father in that the Son revealed the Father {John 1:18, for example) in many different ways.]; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me [Compare John 10:37, 38; 14:20. I'll quote these verses. (Jesus spoke the words of John 10:37, 38 to Jews who had rejected Him and wanted to kill Him.) "If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe Me; (38) but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." John 14:20, "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you." We can see two Persons here in John 14:10, God the Father and God the Son. With the words that follow here in 14:10, 11, Jesus tells us (a big part of) what He meant when He said "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).] The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. [Jesus, God the Son, didn't stop being deity when He lived on the earth in a physical body, but He temporarily laid aside His glory when He became the God-man. He didn't work any miracles until after He had received the Spirit when He was baptized by John the Baptist (see John 2:11). At that time He became the Anointed One.] (11) [Jesus was speaking to Philip in verse 10, but the Greek shows that He began to speak to all of the apostles here in verse 11.] Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me [Many verses speak of our being in Christ and His being in us, but we aren't the same Person. I am not suggesting that the glorious relationship that we have with the Lord Jesus is fully comparable with the super-glorious relationship God the Son has with God the Father, but it serves to confirm that we are not to think of one Person here.]; otherwise believe because of the works themselves." As Jesus so often said, the words that He spoke and the miraculous works that He did didn't originate with Him. They originated with God the Father and very much included the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' life. It is significant, for one thing, that the Old Testament had prophesied that the Messiah/Christ would do these works (see, for example, Luke 4:17-21; 7:18-23).


Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 1 Cor. 1:13 with Matt. 28:19. All these verses from Acts speak of baptizing in, or into, the name of Jesus Christ (or, the name of the Lord Jesus). 1 Corinthians 1:13 is similar, but Matt. 28:19 says that Jesus, after His resurrection, told His apostles to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Based on Jesus' words most Christians in our day baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So too throughout most of the history of the Christian church. The instructions in "The Didache" (an early Christian document, which is typically dated in the late first century or early second century) mentions baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I don't think we have enough information to answer every question, but it seems rather clear to me why Peter didn't mention baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit to his Jewish audience in Acts 2:38, on the Day of Pentecost. I'm confident that the apostle Peter (and the other apostles) would not have intentionally disobeyed what the Lord Jesus told them about baptism a short while before the Day of Pentecost. Jesus may have informed them, one way, or another, that they wouldn't use the words in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit at first. The apostles themselves were just beginning to understand the deity of the Lord Jesus and the Trinity, and they didn't receive the Holy Spirit to help them understand until the Day of Pentecost, the very day Peter was preaching. Some fifty days before the Day of Pentecost the apostles didn't really believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (even though He had told them He would be killed and resurrected on the third day on several occasions), and they certainly didn't fully understand His deity and the Trinity fifty days before the Day of Pentecost (see Luke chapter 24 and John 20:9, for example).

The Jews didn't know about or believe in God the Son, and they were not expecting the Messiah to be deity. (Nor were they expecting the sacrificial death of the Messiah [but John the Baptist spoke of "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29, 36.], or His resurrection.) These things which are so clear to us now were not understood back then, even though there were prophetic passages that spoke of these super-important things. God's salvation plans through, and in, the Messiah were much greater than they had anticipated, even as the Messiah was much greater than they had expected. It took a while for the details concerning the Trinity to sink in, and the Jews that Peter was speaking to on the Day of Pentecost wouldn't have understood His deity or the Trinity yet, and there is no record that Peter spoke to them of His deity or the Trinity on that day. Peter's message, as he was led by the Spirit, centered on the fact that Jesus was God's promised Messiah, and that He was the One who, after He had been crucified and resurrected and taken up to heaven (all according to the plan of God the Father), received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit and poured forth the Spirit, which was causing the things to happen that they were seeing and hearing (see Acts 2:1-33). In such a setting it would have been very confusing (and very controversial) to baptize converts in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As Acts 2:36-42 show, Peter was calling the Jews to repent of their sin, and especially for the super-serious sin of having rejected their Messiah, and to submit to Him and God's new-covenant plan of salvation. I'll quote Acts 2:36-42, " 'Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God [God the Father] has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified.' (37) Now when they heard this they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' (38) Peter said to them, 'Repent [Note that Peter said, "Be saved from this perverse generation" in verse 40.], and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise [The promise was for new-covenant salvation in Christ Jesus. The promise that God would give/pour out His Spirit on believers was a big part of what new-covenant salvation is all about. See, for example, Acts 1:4, 5; 2:33; Ezek. 36:27; Joel 2:28-32 with Acts 2:16-21; John 7:37-39; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:5, 16-18, 22, 23, 25, and there are many more such verses in the New Testament and in the Old Testament.] is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God [Peter is referring to God the Father. On the word "Lord" for God the Father (Greek "kurios"), see Acts 2:25, 34, for example; in Acts 3:22 the Greek behind "the Lord God" (which clearly refers to God the Father) is exactly the same as the Greek here in Acts 2:39.] will call to Himself [compare, for example, Rom. 8:28-30; 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:9, 24, 26-31.].' (40) And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' [On being saved, see Acts 2:21.] (41) So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (42) They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching [They would begin to get solidly grounded in super-important details like the deity of Christ and the Trinity here (and His atoning death, resurrection, second coming, etc.). Under normal circumstances, believers should be grounded in such details before they are baptized.] and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

We'll continue this study in Part 5.

© Copyright by Karl Kemp

http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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