June 13, 2016

Holy Spirit: Third Person of the Trinity

Matthew 28:16-20

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

—  Matthew 28:19

We often take biblical truth for granted. One teaching that we sometimes accept without thinking is the Trinity. The early church, however, fought fierce intellectual battles as they hammered out the basic doctrine of one divine being consisting of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One reason for these early struggles was that the word Trinity doesn’t occur in the Bible. 

The divinity of the Father is obvious, and lots of texts reveal the divinity of Jesus, the Son. But what about the divinity of the Holy Spirit?  As we’ve seen, the Old Testament includes many references to the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit’s divinity can be more clearly seen in the New Testament, especially in Jesus’ teaching.

One of the earliest expressions of the Trinity used by the early church was the Apostles’ Creed, a statement of belief based on today’s verse in Matthew 28, often called the “Great Commission.” With these words Jesus sends his followers into the world to baptize new believers into the one God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not three baptisms in the names of three beings, but one baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: one God, three persons. 

We should never take the Holy Spirit for granted. He is God working in perfect union with the Father and the Son in our lives and in this world.

Holy Spirit, we easily take you for granted. Forgive us, and awaken us to your power in our lives and in the world. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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