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Trinitarian Praying

While listening to some podcasts on the doctrine of the Trinity, I begin to consider how we pray.  People often pray without thinking about the theology behind their prayers.  For example, I have heard people pray, “Father thank You for saving me.  Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.  Father, thank you for loving me enough to sacrifice Yourself for me.”  Yet this is not biblical.  The Father did not give Himself for our sins but instead He gave His Son for our sins (John 3:16).  The Father no doubt has poured out His love upon us in His Son (1 John 3:1-3) yet the Father did not die on the cross.  The Son died for our sins on the cross.

Biblically speaking, we are to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is Trinitarian praying.  The entire Trinity was involved in our salvation.  The Father sent the Son to die for the sins of humanity.  The Son obeyed the Father perfectly (John 8:29; Philippians 2:5-11).  The Son shed His blood to save us from the wrath of a holy but loving God (Romans 5:8-9).  The Spirit raised the Son from the dead (Romans 8:11).  Acts 2:24 says that God raised Jesus from the dead.  True!  God the Spirit!  All of this, the incarnation of Jesus (Luke 1:35) to the perfect life of Jesus in obedience to His Father (Hebrews 5:8-9) and Jesus’ death on the cross and His being raised from the dead was for our salvation!  The entire Trinity was involved in this saving process!

This is also true for prayer.  Jesus is our faithful high priest (Hebrews 4:14) who mediates for us before the Father (1 Timothy 2:5).  The Lord Jesus prays for us (Hebrews 7:25).  The Spirit also prays for us (Romans 8:26-27).  We come before the Father in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14).  Jesus taught us to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9).  This doesn’t mean that we cannot pray to the Lord Jesus since even Stephen prayed to the Lord Jesus when he was being killed for his faith in Jesus (Acts 7:59).  However, prayer should normally be addressed to the Father in the name of Jesus who is our high priest before the holy Father.  We find Paul praying to the Father in Ephesians 3:14.

As we begin to think through our praying and realize that we are speaking to a trinitarian God, we begin to see the beauty not only of our redemption unfold but also the New Testament comes alive as we see the deity of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  We see their work in the New Testament and we see how precious the doctrine of the Trinity would have been to the Apostles.  We see a faithful Jew such as Paul the Apostle taking the great doctrine of God from Deuteronomy 6:4 and showing God in His fulness in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 with the Father and the Son being declared the one true and living God.

The doctrine of the Trinity helps our prayer lives explode with praise as we ponder the deep things of God.  I confess that I don’t understand the Trinity fully.  It is beyond my understanding.  I do confess to my faith in its truth.  There are simply too many passages that affirm the doctrine of one God (monotheism) while yet at the same time the Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Spirit is called God.  We either can deny monotheism and embrace tritheism or polytheism or form heretical views about Christ (almost all heretical views attack Christ).  We can deny Christ His full deity or that He was a created being (Arianism).  We can teach that Christ is fully God but He takes on three modes (modalism).  We can teach that Christ was not eternal but rather that He had a beginning and was adopted as the Son of God at His baptism by John (adoptionism).  We can deny the full deity or full humanity of Christ and created a sort of half God, half man doctrine (see Bill Johnson and Bethel for this heretical view revised).  Either way, the person of Christ is the One who gets attack by those who want to deny the Trinity.

In the end, I choose to pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I rejoice that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose again, and that He sits at the right hand of God till His enemies be made His footstool (Psalm 110:1).  I rejoice in Pentecost, the glorious truth that the gift of the Spirit was poured out as promised by God the Father (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4).  I praise God that all three person of the holy Godhead were fully involved in saving a wretch like me.  It humbles me.  It makes me want to worship Him who is true.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/30/2014 at 10:26 PM

Arminius on the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ

VII.  The Son is the second person in the Holy Trinity, the Word of the Father, begotten of the Father from all eternity, and proceeding from Him by the communication of the same Deity which the Father possesses without origination. (Matt. xxviii, 19; John i, 1; Micah v, 2.) We say, “that he is not the Son by creation.” For what things soever they were that have been created, they were all created by him. (John i, 3.) And “that he was not made the Son by adoption:” for we are all adopted in him. (John i, 12; Ephes. i, 5, 6.) But “that he proceeded from the Father by generation.” He is the Son, not by creation out of nonentities, or from uncreated elements — not by adoption, as though he had previously been some other thing than the Son; for this is his primitive name, and significant of his inmost nature; but He is by generation, and, as the Son, he is by nature a partaker of the whole divinity of his Father.

VIII. We call the Son “a person,” with the same meaning attached to the word as that by which we have already (§ 2) predicated the Father. For he is an undivided and incommunicable subsistence. John says, (i, 1,) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” Of a living nature: “As I live by the Father.” (John vi, 57.) Intelligent: “The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” (John i, 18.) Willing: “To whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matt. xi, 27.) “Even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” (John v, 21.) Powerful: “According to the efficacy whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto him.” (Phil. iii, 21.) Active: “And I work.” (John v, 17.)

IX. We call the Son “a person in the Sacred Trinity,” that is, a Divine person and God. And, with orthodox antiquity, we prove our affirmation by four distinct classes or arguments.

(1.) From the names by which he is called in the Scriptures.

(2.) From the divine attributes which the Scriptures ascribe to him.

(3.) From the works which the Scriptures relate to have been produced by him.

(4.) From a collation of those passages of Scripture, which, having been uttered in the Old Testament concerning the Father, are in the New appropriated to the Son.

X. The divinity of the person of the Son is evident, from the names which are attributed to him in the scriptures.

(1.) Because he is called God, and this not only attributively, as “the Word was God,” (John i, 1.) “Who is over all, God blessed forever;” (Rom. ix, 5;) but likewise subjectively: “God manifested in the flesh.” (1 Tim. iii, 16.) “O God, thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.” (Heb. i, 9.) Nay, he is likewise called “the great God.” (Tit. ii, 13.)

(2.) The word “Son” stands in proof of the same truth, especially so far as this name belongs to him properly and solely, according to which he is called “God’s own Son,” (Rom. viii, 32,) and “his only begotten Son,” (John i, 18,) which expressions, we affirm, are tantamount to his being called by nature, the Son of God.

(3.) Because he is called “King of kings and Lord of lords;” (Rev. xvii, 14; xix, 16;) and “the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor. ii, 8.) These appellations prove much more strongly what we wish to establish, if they be compared with the scriptures of the Old Testament, in which the same names are ascribed to him who is called Jehovah. (Psalm xcv, 3; xxiv, 8-10.)

(4.) Pious antiquitity established the same truth from the name, of Logov, “the Word;” which cannot signify the outward word that is devoid of a proper subsistence, on account of those things which are attributed to it in the Scriptures. For it is said to have been “in the beginning, to have been with God, and to be God,” and to have “created all things,” &c.

XI. The essential attributes of the Deity which are in the Scriptures ascribed to the Son of God, likewise declare this in the plainest manner.

(1.) Immensity: “My Father and I will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John xiv, 23.) “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” (Ephes. iii, 17.) “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. xxviii, 20.)

(2.) Eternity: “In the beginning was the Word.” (John i, 1.) “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” (Rev. i, 11; ii, 8.)

(3.) Immutability: “But thou, O Lord, remainest; thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Heb. i, 11, 12.)

(4.) Omniscience is also attributed to him: For he searches the reins and hearts;” (Rev. ii, 93.) He “knows all things.” (John xxi, 17.) And he perceived the thoughts of the Pharisees. (Matt. xii, 25.)

(5.) Omnipotence: “According to the efficacy whereby the Lord Jesus Christ is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. iii, 21.) But the Divine nature cannot, without a contradiction, be taken away from him to whom the proper essentials of God are ascribed.

(6.) Lastly. Majesty and glory belong to Him equally with the Father: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” (John v, 23.) “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.” (Rev. v, 13.)

XII. The divine works which are attributed to Him, establish the same truth.

(1.) The creation of all things: “All things were made by Him.” (John i, 3.) “By whom also, he made the worlds,” or the ages. (Heb. i, 2.) “One Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things.” (1 Cor. viii, 6.) But what are these “all things?” Exactly the same as those which are said, in the same verse, to be “of the Father.”

(2.) The preservation of all things: all things by the word of his power.” (Heb. i, 3.) “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John v, 17.)

(3.) The performing of miracles: “Which He works by the Holy Spirit, who is said to “have received of the things of Christ, by which he will glorify Christ.” (John xvi, 14.) “By which, also, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. iii, 19.) This Spirit is so peculiar to Christ, that the Apostles are said to perform miracles in the name and power of Christ.

(4.) To these let the works which relate to the salvation of the church be added; which cannot be performed by one who is a mere man.

XIII. A comparison of those passages which in the Old Testament, are ascribed to God, who claims for himself the appellation of Jehovah, with the same passages which in the New, are attributed to the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ — supplies to us the fourth class of arguments. But because the number of them is immense, we will refrain from a prolix recital of the whole, and produce only a few out of the many. In Numbers, xxi, 5-7, it is said, “The people spoke against God, and the Load sent fiery serpents among them, and they bit the people,” many of whom “died.” In 1 Corinthians x, 9, the apostle says, “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.” The passage in the 68th Psalm, (18,) which describes God as “ascending on high and leading captivity captive,” is interpreted by the apostle, (Ephes. iv, 8,) and applied to Christ. What is spoken in Psalm cii, 25, 26, about the true God, [“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth,” &c.] is, in Heb. i, 10-12, expressly applied to Christ. St. John, in his gospel, (xii, 40, 41,) interprets the vision described by Isaiah, (vi, 9, 10,) and declares that “Esaias said these things when he saw the glory of Christ.” In Isai. viii, 14, Jehovah, it is said, “shall be a rock of offense, and a snare to the houses of Israel,” &c. Yet Simeon, (in Luke ii, 34,) St. Paul, (in Romans ix, 33,) and St. Peter, (1 Epis. ii, 8,) severally declare that Christ was “set for the rising and falling of many,” for “a stumbling block, and rock of offense” to unbelievers, and to “the disobedient.”

XIV. We call Christ “the second person,” according to the order which has been pointed out to us by Himself in Matt. xxviii, 19. For the Son is of the Father, as from one from whom he is said to have come forth. The Son lives by the Father, (John vi, 57,) and the Father hath given to the Son to have life in himself.” (v, 26.) The Son understands by the Father, because “the Father sheweth the Son all things that himself doeth,” (v, 20,) and what things the Son saw while “He was in the bosom of the Father, he testifies and declares to us.” (i, 18; iii, 32.) The son works from the Father, because “the Son can do nothing of himself: But what he seeth the Father do.” (v, 19.) Thus “the Son does not speak of himself, but the Father, that dwelleth in him, doeth the works.” (xiv, 10.) This is the reason why the Son, by a just right, refers all things to the Father, as to Him from whom he received all that he had. (xix, 11; xvii, 7.) “When he was in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, &c. and became obedient” to the Father, “even unto the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii, 6-8.)

XV. We say “that the Son was begotten of the Father from all eternity.”

(1.) Because “his goings-forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” and “these goings-forth” are from the Father. (Micah v, 2, 3.) If any one be desirous to give them any other interpretation than “the goings-forth” of generation, he must make them subsequent to the “goings- forth” of generation; and thus likewise he establishes the eternity of generation.

(2.) Because, since the Son is eternal, as we have previously shewn, [§ 7,] and since he had no existence at all before he existed as the Son, (but it is proper to a son to be begotten,) we correctly assert on these grounds, that “he was eternally begotten.”

(3.) Since Logov, “the Word,” was “in the beginning with the Father,” (John i, 1, 9,) he must of necessity have been in the beginning from the Father; (unless we wish to maintain that the Word is collateral with the Father;) in truth, according to the order of nature he must have been from the Father, before he was with the Father. But he is not from the Father, except according to the mode of generation; for if it be otherwise, “the Word” will be from the Father in one mode, and “the Son” in another, which contradicts the eternity of the Son that we have already established. Therefore, “the Word” is eternally begotten.

XVI. From these positions we perceive, that an agreement and a distinction subsists between the Father and the Son.

(l.) An Agreement in reference to One and the same nature and essence, according to which the Son is said to be “in the form of God,” and “equal with the Father;” (Phil. ii, 6,) and according to the decree of the Nicene Council to be omoousiov [“of the same substance,”] “consubstantial with the Father,” not omoiousiov “of like substance;” because the comparison of things in essence must be referred not to similitude or dissimilitude, but to Equality or Inequality, according to the very nature of things and to truth itself:

(2.) A Distinction according to the mode of existence or subsistence, by which both of them have their divinity: for the Father has it from no one, the Son has it communicated to him by the Father. According to the former, the Son is said to be one with the Father; (John x, 30;) according to the latter, He is said to be “another” than the Father; (v, 32;) but according to both of them, the Son and the Father are said to “come to those whom they love, and to make their abode with them,” (xiv, 23,) by the Spirit of both Father and Son “who dwelleth in believers,” (Rom. viii, 9-11,) and “whom the Son sends to them from the Father.” (John xv, 26.) May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all consolation, deign to bestow upon us the communion of this Spirit, through the Son of his love. Amen!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/27/2012 at 9:22 AM

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