DR. BIODUN SOTUNMBI
Theme: The Meaning And Significance of Trinity
The doctrine of Trinity does not lend itself to a straightforward explanation because it is
At one level you can describe it as three Gods in one. But to many people, who accept
that God exists, the idea of three Gods is too much for them to contemplate or accept.
At another level Trinity might mean one God manifesting in three different ways, yet
acting as one in character and purpose.
1. God the Father
He is the creator, the person responsible for bringing all living and non-living things
into existence, that is, the earth and the heavenly bodies.
We call him a person, just as we refer to the two other members of the Trinity,
because he is a being and has clearly defined identity and roles, although we must
concede that our knowledge of him is severely limited. In fact what we know of him
is what he reveals and not what we uncover through self – effort, Rom 11 : 33.
He oversees land, sea, air and the space with such awesome power and grace that
the active human mind is left to wonder whether life, in whatever form, could ever
exist outside him, whatever science might say or do. He designed and installed the
laws of nature but whenever He wants, He sets aside those laws, for a while, to
achieve His purpose, Joshua 10:12-13.
When He makes decisions only He can reverse them, I Sam 2:30. In His sovereignty
He can make the rich poor or lift up the poor and make him prosperous, I Sam 2:7-
He is holy, righteous, loving, merciful and forgiving but He also punishes
transgressions with uncharacteristic severity, 2 Sam 12:7-12.
2. God the Son
(i) Jesus is the next person in the Trinity. His role is a dual one, as Son of God
and Son of Man
(ii) As Son of God He is divine. It is in this capacity that He, the Father and the
Holy Spirit agreed, even before the creation of the world, that He would
undertake the unpleasant task of saving the fallen man and reconciling him
to God. Rev. 13:8
(iii) As Son of man He was born of earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, in
Nazareth. He did not drop from the sky. He lived like us. He had feelings.
There were times that after preaching, teaching and performing miracles he
got tired and had to withdraw to the desert to rest Lk 4:42.
Jesus As the Messiah
As Son of God His messianic role had been foretold by Old Testament Prophets Isaiah
9:6-7; Isaiah 53:1-12; Micah 5:2. But the Jews rejected Him.
Nevertheless He implemented His Fathers mandate, Lk 4:18
(a) He was a preacher, often using parables to explain the requirements of the
Kingdom of God. Example – The Parable of the Lost Sheep Matt. 18:12-14
(b) He taught about the Fatherhood of God, that God
(i) is His own father, Lk 2:48-49; Matt. 11:25-27
(ii) is father of all those who believe in him. Matt 6:9
He had compassion and most of His miracles arose from this, Lk 13:10-16, Mk 1:40-41.
When He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead He spoke to his Father before
commanding him to come out of the grave, John 11:41-44.
3. The Holy Spirit
He is also a distinct person.
In the Old Testament times He appeared for the anointing of Kings and Prophets 1
Sam 16:6-13. But Prophet Joel prepared us for a new role for Him in the New
Testament period, Joel 2:28. This new role took off on the Day of Pentecost when
God poured out His Spirit on all believers, Acts 2. He became an in-dwelling spirit
on all Christians.
From then on the disciples became bold using the name of Christ to perform
miracles. Example is the Healing of the Lame at the Beautiful Gate, Acts 3:1-8. Also
the special miracles performed by Paul were most unusual. They were the acts of
the Holy Spirit, Acts 19:11 & 12.
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to the church. He is the one who bestows God’s gifts, so
that the church can expand and flourish using the power of God to heal, admonish,
counsel and comfort, 1 Cor 12:7-11.
The fruit of the Spirit which Paul clearly and boldly enunciates in Gal 5:22-23 are
designed to make man to desire to be like God, thinking like Him, acting like Him.
From what we have said so far about the Trinity we can conclude as follows.
i. God is His own interpreter. What we know about Him is what He has revealed
in His written word and through the Holy Spirit from time to time to His
ii. He is one God who, down the ages, has manifested in three dimensions. At
creation the Father was the initiator and chief performer but the Son and
Holy Spirit were active participants too Gen 1:1-2, John 1:1-3,10-12, Col 1:15-
iii. In the divine plan and operations there is division of labour. The Father is the
chief designer and motivator of the creative enterprise, that is, the entire
universe. For the human component He set the standards, the rules of
behavior, encourages compliance but punishes disobedience, Jer 9:23&24.
On the other hand Jesus the Son reveals the Father, beyond the limits of
prophetic insight, always moved by love and compassion to deliver, heal and
comfort, pleading for the helpless and stubborn human race, and ultimately
reconciling it to the Father.
iv. For the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of the Father and the Son (Rom 8:9) His
ministry is the continuation of the Jesus ministry. Wherever He is the entire
team, the Trinity, is present, encouraging, admonishing healing, teaching and