The One True God is three persons in one: God the Father; Jesus Christ, His Son; and The Holy Spirit. Each one is distinct from the other, but together they form what we know as “God.”
God the Father is the Lord Almighty. Throughout the Old Testament, God the Father guides the Jewish people (the Israelites), gives them His Holy Commandments, and speaks to the people of different nations through prophets that He appoints. In Isaiah 43, verses 10-11, God the Father says, “Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me, there is no savior.” In Isaiah 44, verse 6, God the Father says, “Israel’s King and the Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and the last; apart from Me there is no God.” In Habakkuk Chapter 2, verses 18-20, God the Father says, ” Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” [NIV Bible]
You may already be familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. Adam was the first human being created by God. Genesis Chapter 2, verse 7 says: the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the gound and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. [NIV Bible] God created Eve because He knew that Adam needed the love, companionship and help of another person. In Genesis Chapter 2, verses 21-24, it says: So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.[NIV Bible]
Adam and Eve lived together with God in the garden of Eden, a paradise with lush and beautiful gardens, flowing water, plants, animals and trees. God only asked that they not eat from a particular tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the earliest example of God giving people free will to choose their actions. God warned them that if they ate from this tree, they would die. Adam and Eve were happy to live with God in the garden of Eden until Eve was deceived by Satan, who took the form of a snake. This serpent told Eve that God told them not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because He didn’t want them to be as wise as God Himself. Satan also told Eve that they wouldn’t die if they ate the fruit from the tree.
Eve believed Satan and ate this fruit and offered it to Adam, who also ate it. Once they ate it, they saw that they were naked, and they felt shame. They hid from God when He came looking for them. They felt embarassed, guilty and ashamed. This disobedience brought sin into the world and created human mortality. God had given them everything they needed-a paradise to live in, food to eat, His love and presence, and each other. He asked them only not to do one thing, but He didn’t deny them the ability to choose. This reveals something very important about God–He wants us to be obedient to Him because we love Him. Adam and Eve had the opportunity to show their love and gratefulness to God by doing as He asked. God wasn’t trying to tempt Adam and Eve or entice them to defy Him. In James Chapter 1 verse 13, James writes: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone;…” [NIV Bible]
After Adam and Eve sinned against God, all people born after them were born as sinners. People aren’t capable of being sinless. We are all guilty of doing things we shouldn’t, not doing things we should, being selfish, thinking wrong thoughts, being unwilling to forgive other people, being jealous, manipulative, rude, angry…and the list goes on. In FIrst John Chapter 1 verse 8 it says: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [NIV Bible] We’re all on even ground in this way–every single one of us needs forgiveness from God. Our hands aren’t clean, and neither are our hearts or minds. We can’t will ourselves not to sin, and we can’t save ourselves. So we all need a savior, and there’s only one–Jesus, the Son of God.
God the Father orchestrated the plan for Jesus to be born into our world as both fully God and fully human. He had to be fully God in order to be sinless, and He had to be fully human in order to take our place as a sacrifice for the sins of all people. Only a perfect, sinless sacrifice could reconcile us to God because God is holy, and He can’t be united with sin. This exchange is explained in Romans Chapter 5, verse 19: For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.[NIV Bible]
Jesus came into this world to be our Savior and our Teacher. Jesus was twelve the first time he taught publicly during the Feast of the Passover [as recorded in Luke Chapter 2, verses 41-52 NIV Bible]. In verse 47, it says: Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. [NIV Bible] Shortly after Jesus called His first disciples, His teaching again caught the attention of a crowd. In Mark Chapter 1, verses 21 and 22, it says: They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. [NIV Bible] People responded then, as they do now, to the obvious wisdom of God. God is truth, so He has no need to manipulate or pander to anyone. That basic honesty and straightforwardness attracts people to God, because we hunger for authenticity. So when Jesus came and walked among us, He was magnetic, and people wanted to know Him and listen to what He had to say! And those who did listen and who did believe were rewarded with eternal life. In John Chapter 14, verse 6, Jesus says, “I am the way the the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [NIV Bible]
John Chapter 1, verses 1-18 tell us a lot about Jesus–In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God (The Father and the Holy Spirit), and the Word was God. He (Jesus) was with God in the beginning (during the creation of the world) Through Him (Jesus) all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life (the eternal life offered to us by God to all who believe in Jesus and accept Him as Lord) and that life was the light (the beckoning of God to all people to know Him and accept His offer of forgiveness, love and eternal life) of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (The darkness is where we all are before we know God. When we are in the dark, we can’t see things clearly, as they are. We stumble because we can’t see what’s in front of us. God brings light into our lives, by showing us what really matters, by giving us help in making choices, by forgiving us when we do wrong, by letting us start over again with Him!) There came a man who was sent from God; (John the Baptist–the prophet who was ordained by God to announce the coming of Jesus) his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light (Jesus) that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, (those people who believed He was the Son of God, the Savior of the world) He gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh (Jesus literally came into this world as we do–through pregnancy and birth) and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John (the Baptist) testifies concerning Him. He cries out, saying “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ From the fullness of His grace (the favor that God gives us as a gift–not because we have earned it by what we do, or because we deserve it) we have all received one blessing after another. For the law (the Ten Commandments and the instructions God gave the Israelites for right living regarding relationships among the people and their relationship with God and the nations surrounding them) was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, (the Father) but God the One and Only (Jesus), who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known. [NIV Bible]
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is spoken of in the first chapter of the Bible, where He is described in Chapter 1, verse 2: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [NIV Bible] The Holy Spirit is every bit as much a part of who God is as God the Father and Jesus are. I think sometimes people may see the Holy Spirit as more mysterious because they may already be familiar with God the Father and Jesus the Son, but they may not know how the Holy Spirit relates to them. That is perfectly understandable! When I first became a saved Christian, the first book of the Bible I read was John, and as you can see from the section on Jesus above, the book of John does describe Jesus in detail. I think that this is a great place to start in the Bible, because not only do we learn about God the Father’s plan to save us and our Savior, but Jesus Himself teaches us about the Holy Spirit in the book of John as well.
In John Chapter 14, verses 15-17, Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor (the Holy Spirit) to be with you forever–the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives in you and will be in you.” Jesus is telling His disciples that when He is no longer able to live with them (after He is crucified, rises up from the dead, and returns to Heaven), that the Holy Spirit will live in them. This is an incredible spiritual truth that can be hard to grasp, but when we believe in the One True God, incredible things can happen. When you believe in Jesus and accept that He sacrificed His life for you, the Holy Spirit comes into your soul. This means that you have the wisdom and guidance of God Himself inside of you. In Acts Chapter 5, verses 30-32, Peter and the other apostles said,” The God of our fathers (God the Father) raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey HIm.” [NIV Bible]
The Holy Spirit also gives us hope, something this world direly needs. In Romans Chapter 15, verse 13, it says: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. [NIV Bible] God gives us things we can’t give ourselves. There are some strong-minded people who can grit their teeth and get through just about anything, even though they don’t believe in God. There are people who can banish pessismistic thoughts from their minds all on their own, without God’s help. But we can’t know all of the inner struggles of other people, and the truth is, a lot of times we project an image that is a stark contrast to what we really feel. The hope the Holy Spirit gives us doesn’t rely on circumstances or situations. When God gives you hope, you might be on your knees, but that light inside of you is still burning, and it won’t stop, no matter what. God’s hope is eternal. It’s for here and now and it’s forever. The Holy Spirit leads us into this supernatural hope by His very presence inside of us.