Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Millions of Muslims are prejudiced against Christianity because they think Christians believe in three gods because of the commonly understood doctrine of the "Trinity." The Bible is clear: "The Lord our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4). When you pray, you pray to one God, not three gods. But the Bible is also clear that God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit, and the three are One. Jesus taught us to pray to "our Father which art in heaven," in Jesus' name; and He promised He would send the Holy Spirit to abide with us forever (Matt. 7:9; John 14:16-18).
The Godhead is a truth beyond human ability to understand, although sincere Christian people have been baffled by the "mystery" for hundreds of years. Has Christ always been the "Son of God," or did He become so only at His birth in Bethlehem? A prominent Evangelical pastor maintains that the Sonship began at Christ's incarnation. But the Bible is clear--the Son of God has ALWAYS been the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (that's the correct translation of John 1:1).
A little understood truth may help us to understand how to proclaim the Godhead to Muslims and Jews: "God is agape" (1 John 4:8). Note the present tense; God has always from eternity been "agape." And agape must have an object to love, even from eternity; therefore the Son had to be there to be loved even from eternity. The literal translation of Colossians 1:13 says that the Father "has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His agape."
We are not to try to understand the word "Son" in the light of our human father/son relationships, but vice versa. For God to have a Son does not mean that the Father is "older" than the Son; it means that they are of the same essence. And if God is agape, then the Son is agape; and that is why He voluntarily made Himself subordinate to the Father, although they are equal in nature. One cannot understand John 3:16 except that Christ has been the Son of God from all eternity; and thus the love of the Father is revealed in its grandeur: He sacrificed His only Son, even to the second death, for us--yes, for you. Great, grand, mind-boggling truths that we cannot fathom, but we can choose to "believe."
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 9, 1999.
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