NCC Question 3 Resources
Q3. How many persons are there in God?
There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
2 Cor 13:1. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Deut 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Matt 3:16-17. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Eph 1:3-14. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
The…Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, being one God, is…necessary to us to be believed, not only as to the eternal…but especially for the knowledge of God’s three great sorts of works on man: that is, as our Creator, and the God of nature; as our Redeemer, and the God of governing and reconciling grace, and as our Sanctifier, and the Applier and Perfecter of all to fit us to glory.
The Scripture tells us that there are three, and yet but one God.… We are to be baptised into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matt. xxviii. 29.) And there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one (1 John v. 7.)… [That] God is one infinite, undivided Spirit; and yet that he is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must be believed.
We must…know, believe and esteem him to be the only infinite, eternal, self-sufficient Spirit, vital Power, Understanding, and Will, our most perfect Life, Light, and Love; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things; our absolute Owner, Ruler, and Father; our Maker, our Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
– Richard Baxter (1615–1691)
What kind of God could outstrip the attractions of all other things? Could any unitary, single-person god do so? Hardly, or at least not for long. Single-person gods must, by definition, have spent eternity in absolute solitude. Before creation, having no other persons with whom they could commune, they must have been entirely alone.
Love for others, then, cannot go very deep in them if they can go for eternity without it. And so, not being essentially loving, such gods are inevitably less than lovely. They may demand our worship, but they cannot win our hearts. They must be served with gritted teeth.
How wonderfully different it is with the triune God. In John 17:24, Jesus speaks of how the Father loved Him even before the creation of the world. That is the triune, living God: a Father, whose very being has eternally been about loving His Son, pouring out the Spirit of love and life on Him. Here is a God who is love, who is so full of life and blessing that for eternity He has been overflowing with it. As the Puritan preacher Richard Sibbes put it: “Such a goodness is in God as is in a fountain, or in the breast that loves to ease itself of milk.” Here in the triune God, in other words, is an infinitely satisfying God, one who is the very fountainhead of all goodness, truth, and beauty.
That means that with the triune God there is great good news. For here is no mean and grasping God, but a Lord of grace and mercy—one, in fact, who offers a salvation sweeter than any non-triune God could ever imagine. . . .
The Trinity, then, is not some awkward add-on to God, the optional extra nobody should want. No, God is beautiful, desirable, and life-giving precisely because He is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Only here can be found the God who is love and who shares with us His very own life and joy. Only here can be found the God whom it is eternal life to know.
– Michael Reeves
Not without trembling, we have entreated of the most holy mystery of the reverend Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which we have learned out of the scriptures: and here now we will stay, humbly worshipping this Unity in trinity and Trinity in unity. And let us keep in mind and acknowledge this distinction or division most manifestly declared in the scriptures, and the unity also commended unto us with exceeding great diligence…. There is but one God…. Therefore when we read that God created the world, we understand that the Father from whom are all things, by the Son by whom are all things, in the Holy Ghost in whom are all things, created the world. And when we read that the Son became flesh, suffered, died, and rose again for our salvation, we believe that the Father and the Holy Ghost, though they were not partakers of his incarnation and passion, yet notwithstanding that they wrought our salvation by the Son…. And when sins are said to be forgiven in the Holy Ghost, we believe that this benefit and all other benefits of our blessedness are unseparably given and bestowed upon us from one, only, true, living, and everlasting God, who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. To whom be praise and thanksgiving for ever and ever. Amen.
– Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575)