THE ONE TRUE GOD
OUR CREATOR, REDEEMER AND SANCTIFIER
A STUDY BY
GARY RAY BRANSCOME
From the very dawn of history, God’s prophets
emphasized the fact that there is only one God. It is written, “Hear O
Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29).
For that reason, the truth of God’s oneness is the foundation of all
that He has revealed about Himself in His Word. It is basic to both the
First Commandment (which forbids the worship of any other god) and to a
correct understanding of His threefold nature.
Within the pages of Holy Writ, God has revealed
Himself to us through the words of His inspired prophets and the
historical events recorded in that Word. Because God has identified
Himself with those historical events, Our God is the God who created
all things in six days, the God of Abraham, the God of Moses, and the
God who took upon Himself the nature of man in the person of Christ
Jesus. Those who worship any other God are not worshipping the God of
the Bible, the one God who has revealed Himself as:
1- Jehovah, our Everlasting Father
2- Jehovah, our Savior (Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 12:2)
3- Jehovah, our Comforter and Strength (Isaiah 51:3, John 14:26)
JEHOVAH OUR FATHER
With the words, “O Jehovah, Thou art our Father, we
are the clay and Thou our potter and we are the work of Thy hand,” God
reveals Himself as our Father and Creator — the God who made us and the
One to whom we must ultimately give account (Isaiah 64:8). Those words
make it clear that God has given us life just as surely as our earthly
father. Just as we provide for our children, protect them, and
discipline them; God provides for us, protects us, and disciplines us.
Moreover, God’s revelation of Himself as our heavenly Father
corresponds to the first mention of the name Jehovah in the Aaronic
blessing, “Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee” (Numbers 6:23,24).
Jehovah has blessed us by giving us our body and
soul, eyes, ears, reason, and all our senses, and He continues to bless
us by providing us with clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and
home, spouse and children, land, income, and all our goods.
Jehovah keeps us by providing us with health, by
preserving our reason and our senses, by defending us against the wiles
of the devil, by helping us in time of trouble, and by protecting us
from evil. [See Luther's explanation of the Apostles' Creed.]
The following are but a few of many passages of
Scripture in which Jehovah reveals Himself as our Father. (Isaiah
63:16, 2Thessalonians 1:1, Ephesians 1:2, John 8:41,42, 1Thessalonians
3:11, John 14:9, Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2, Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 9:6)
JEHOVAH OUR SAVIOR
With the words, “I am Jehovah and there is no savior
besides Me,” God reveals that He is our redeemer, and that we have no
Savior other than Him (Isaiah 43:11). The Bible tells us that He saved
us from our sins by taking upon Himself the nature of man (through the
virgin birth of Christ), coming into the world as that child who would
be called, “The mighty God, The Everlasting Father,” and dying in our
place (Isaiah 9:6). He is the long foretold “Holy One of Israel” (holy
descendant of Israel) who has redeemed us by His death (Isaiah 47:4,
Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 43:14). Moreover, God’s revelation of Himself as
our Savior corresponds to the second mention of the name Jehovah in the
Aaronic blessing, “Jehovah make His face shine upon thee, and be
gracious unto thee” (Numbers 6:25, Psalm 80:3).
Jehovah has made His face to shine upon us by
causing the virgin Mary to conceive a son, who, unlike any other son
ever conceived, was God manifest in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16). A son,
who, as the prophet Jeremiah foretold, was born of the line of David,
yet is, “Jehovah Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
Jehovah is gracious unto us in that He has provided the
payment for our sins and redeemed us, not with gold or silver, but
through the holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death of
Jesus Christ. Even though we are by nature children of wrath who
deserve only hell, God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son that we might be redeemed from the power of sin and
through faith in Him have everlasting life (Ephesians 2:3, 1Peter
1:18,19, Ephesians 1:7, Romans 3:24, Acts 20:28). [See Luther's
Explanation of the Apostles' Creed.]
The following are a few of many passages in which
Jehovah reveals Himself as our Savior. Those who wish to study this
topic in depth might want to get a copy of the “Holman Topical
Concordance” or the book, “Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity” by
Josh McDowell with Bart Larson. (Isaiah 43:3,14, Isaiah 35:10, Psalm
2:7,12, Isaiah 45:15,21, Isaiah 47:4, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, Luke
1:47, Acts 5:31, 1 Timothy 4:10, John 14:9, Titus 1:3,4, Isaiah 60:16,
Matthew 1:23, Psalm 103:4, Psalm 34:22, Job 19:25, Psalm 19:14, Isaiah
33:22, Psalm 78:35, 1 Chronicles 16:36) (Also, Compare Jeremiah 23:5,6
with Revelation 22:16. Compare Isaiah 44:6 with Revelation 21:6.
Compare Psalm 23:1 and Isaiah 40:10,11, with John 10:11,13, Hebrews
13:20, and 1Peter 2:25. Compare Isaiah 25:8,9 with 1Corinthians 15:54.
Compare Galatians 4:6 with Romans 8:14,15.)
[Note: Because the Bible identifies Jesus as Jehovah, we understand
that those passages which refer to Jesus as a servant of Jehovah are
referring to Christ's human nature rather than His divine nature.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that there is only one
Christ, not two (one divine and one human). Christ is at once both true
God and true man (Romans 1:3,4, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Corinthians
JEHOVAH OUR COMFORTER
With the words, “Jehovah hath comforted His people,
He hath redeemed Jerusalem // The LORD JEHOVAH is my strength,” God
reveals Himself as our comforter and strength (Isaiah 52:9 and 12:2).
He is our comforter because the Bible makes it clear that without His
help we neither could nor would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is
our strength because without His help we could never stand against the
wiles of the devil (1Corinthians 12:3, 2Corinthians 4:4, Romans 7:18,
Ephesians 2:8,9). Moreover, God’s revelation of Himself as our
comforter and strength corresponds to the third mention of the name
Jehovah in the Aaronic blessing, “Jehovah lift up His countenance upon
thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:26, Psalm 85:7-9).
Jehovah has lifted up His countenance upon us by
causing the Bible to be written, by causing the gospel to be
proclaimed, and by working through His Word to enable us to recognize
our sinful condition and look to Christ for forgiveness (Acts 18:27b).
Jehovah gives us peace by daily strengthening our
faith, forgiving our sins, assuring us of His mercy, and keeping us in
the faith (1Peter 1:5). [See Luther's explanation of the Apostles'
The following are a few of many passages in which
Jehovah reveals Himself as our comforter and strength: (Acts 5:3-4, Job
33:4, Isaiah 12:1,2, Isaiah 51:3, Isaiah 61:2, Luke 4:18, Isaiah 48:16,
Isaiah 52:9. John 14:16,17,26, John 15:26, John 16:7,13, Psalm 19:14,
Psalm 27:14, 1Peter 5:10, 2Corinthians 1:3,4,10, Isaiah 49:13, Isaiah
40:1,13, Romans 16:20, 1Thessalonians 5:23, 2Corinthians 13:11, Hebrews
JEHOVAH IN THREE PERSONS
God’s revelation of Himself as our Father, Savior,
and Comforter involves far more than just three roles, for the Bible
makes it clear that each person of the Trinity is distinct from the
other two. The Father is not the Son or the Holy Ghost (John 14:16,26).
The Son is not the Father or the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:16,17). The Holy
Spirit is not the Father or the Son (John 15:26). Each person of the
Trinity is distinct from the others, yet they are One Divine Being, not
three beings. Furthermore, each person is God, not just a part of God
(Jude 1:1, 1John 5:20, Acts 5:3-4). This only seems hard to understand
if you wrongly think of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three men. The
One God has a threefold nature simply because He is not a man and His
nature is quite different from man's nature (Romans 1:22,23). [Note:
Because the universe was designed to reveal certain things about God
space itself is triune, consisting of length, width, and height. Take
away any one of the three and you have nothing.]
The following are some of the passages that reveal
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be distinct persons within the One
Divine Being: (Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 48:16, 2Corinthians 13:14, Genesis
18:1, 1 John 5:7, John 14:9,16,26, John 1:1,14, Philippians 2:6,
Matthew 3:16,17, John 12:28, John 8:58, John 5:23, Colossians 1:16,17,
Genesis 19:24, Colossians 2:9,10, Psalm 110:1, Matthew 22:41-25,
1Thessalonians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1).
The ancient Jews were aware of the threefold nature
of Jehovah, for they saw a plurality of the one God revealed in those
passages where the Bible joins the plural form of the word God to a
singular pronoun. They also saw a threefold nature (which they called
“the three names” of Jehovah) revealed in the Aaronic blessing with its
threefold use of the name Jehovah, and in the Shema itself with its
threefold reference to God (Numbers 6:23-26, Deuteronomy 6:4).
Furthermore, Jehovah (who has clearly identified Himself with the name
“I Am,” [Exodus 3:14,15] declared, through the Prophet Isaiah, “From
the beginning, from the time that it was, there I Am: and now the Lord
God and His Spirit hath sent me” (Isaiah 48:16) [See John 8:58]. [The
book, “The Great Mystery, or How Can Three Be One” by Rabbi Hirsch
Prinz examines references to the Trinity in ancient Rabbinical
writings, some dating from before the time of Christ, that have been
suppressed since the destruction of Jerusalem. That book may still be
available through Hebrew Christian sources.]
SPEAKING ACCORDING TO GOD'S WORD
Christians not only accept God’s revelation of
Himself as triune (three-one), but also reject all attempts to simplify
what God has revealed by explaining away some part of that revelation,
such as the threeness or the oneness of God. Since the Bible teaches
both the threeness and the oneness of God, we must believe and teach
both; for anyone who contradicts those teachings of Scripture is not
speaking according to God's Word (Isaiah 8:20, 1John 4:6). For that
reason we reject as false:
1. All attempts to portray Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as differing in
authority. For example, the Father being greater in authority than the
Son. Because Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all One God, they all have
the same authority. God cannot be greater or less than Himself.
2. All attempts to portray Christ as a cross between God and man,
half-man and half-God. A Christ who was half-man and half-God would be
a completely different being from the Father, a being who is neither
true man nor true God. We know that Christ is not a different being
from the Father because there is only one God. Therefore, the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost are all One Divine Being.
3. All attempts to portray Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three Gods.
The Bible teaches that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10).
4. All attempts to portray Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as simply three
roles that God takes — as if God sometimes appears as the Father and
other times as the Son, etc. This view contradicts those passages of
Scripture that speak of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as distinct from
each other. It also contradicts those passages in which all three
persons are present at once, such as Christ's baptism. At His baptism
Jesus comes up out of the water, the Spirit of God descends and lights
upon Him, and the Father speaks from heaven (Matthew 3:16,17).
5. All attempts to deny that the Son is true God. The Bible teaches
that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16, John 20:28,
1John 5:20). The Bible does not say, “For God so loved the world that
He gave something He made,” It says, “He gave His only begotten Son”
(John 3:16). It takes no great love to give up something you have made.
6. All attempts to explain away the Holy Ghost as simply a force or
energy. The Bible speaks of the Holy Ghost as a person. He has a mind,
speaks, testifies of Christ, convicts the world of sin, and is grieved
when we do wrong. We could not grieve an impersonal force. (Romans
8:27, John 14:26, 1 Timothy 4:1, Acts 5:3-4, John 4:17, John 15:26,
John 16:8,13, Ephesians 4:30, Acts 13:2)
The doctrine of the Trinity does not consist of
man-made ideas, but of the truth of God as it is explicitly stated in
God’s Word, “Line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah
28:10). Therefore, all attempts to modify what is revealed in order to
make it conform to man’s limited understanding only corrupts what God
has revealed about Himself.
1- What truth is the foundation of all that God reveals about Himself
in the Bible?
2- Does Isaiah 43:11 reveal God as our Creator, Redeemer, or Comforter?
3- Give six Bible passages in which God reveals Himself as our Father.
4- How has Jehovah made His face to shine upon us?
5- How can we explain those passages of Scripture that speak of Jesus
as a servant of Jehovah?
6- List six Bible passages in which Jehovah reveals Himself as our
7- How does Jehovah give us peace?
8- Were the ancient Jews aware of the threefold nature of Jehovah?
9- Who is the “I AM” spoken of in Exodus 3:14-15?
10- Why must we believe and teach both the threeness and the oneness of
11- Why do the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all have the same authority?
12- Why must we reject the idea that Christ is half man and half God?
13- How do we know that the Holy Ghost is a person and not just a force
14- List six passages of Scripture that reveal the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost to be distinct persons within the One Divine Being.
15- How does the Bible distinguish God the Father from God the Son?