Spirit of Who?

Hello everyone. We’ve been going through the New Testament trying to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the book of Romans and we’re in the middle of that great book. Tonight, our focus will be on the Holy Spirit with a look at another Trinitarian passage. I recommend that readers wanting to learn more about the Trinity should when reading the New Testament epistles look and see how many passages there are that speak of all three persons of the Trinity. Tonight’s passage is one like that. It’s Romans 8:9-11:

9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Let’s look at verse 9. In that verse, we have one person being spoken of three different times and that is the Holy Spirit. The first time, he is identified as the Spirit. The second time he is said to be the Spirit of God. The third time, he is the Spirit of Christ. There is no reason to think Paul is speaking of three different Spirits in this passage.

Once again, this is said as if it should be understood. Paul doesn’t have to explain his terminology. He merely has to explain how the terminology fits in. The early church did not have any problem in identifying the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ.

But does this mean that the Holy Spirit is the Father and/or the Son? No. We’ve already seen several passages where a distinction is made between the two. As we will see in this passage as well, there are distinctions present so what does the language mean?

The language refers to a more instrumental view. The Spirit is the agency through which God and Christ act in one’s life. After all, Christ does not live in us in the sense that his physical being is in us. Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit however and not AS the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the agent that brings the life and righteousness of Christ to us.

The way the Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son also points to the relation between the two and how both were seen as equal in nature. God’s Spirit is Christ’s Spirit. There is not a distinction because there is one Holy Spirit coming forth from the Father and the Son. The early church had no problem accepting these claims and it wasn’t until the heretics came later on that the terms had to be further clarified.

Finally, we once again see that in the ministry of the gospel, all three persons work in the act of raising Jesus from the dead and in bringing about righteousness in a believer. Salvation is the work of the Triune God.

We shall continue going through Romans tomorrow.

In The Likeness

We’re continuing tonight our look through the New Testament in an attempt to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the middle of Romans now. Much of what Paul says in this book is on the doctrine of justification and Christians should realize that the chapters are not put together haphazardly but rather throughout this book, Paul is putting together an argument. Sadly, in many of our daily readings, we can lose track of that argument. We’re not looking however to see Paul’s view on justification per se so much as his view on the Trinity in relation to the doctrine if need be. Again, Calvinists and Arminians and all others are called to battle this out amongst themselves. Tonight, we’ll be looking at Romans 8:1-4.

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

This passage is loaded with Trinitarianism. Just go through and notice how many references there are to each person of the Trinity and each is playing their own part in the role of salvation. We error in our thinking if we assume that salvation is simply the work of Christ. It is the work of all three persons together.

I love how Matthew Henry commented on the first verse. Henry said that it does not say there is no reason for condemnation. There’s plenty of reason. It does not say there is no accusation of condemnation. There’s plenty of that as well. It says there is no condemnation. We’re all deserved of confirmation. I recently heard of one theologian who said “I deserve Hell so I count as grace anything that God gives me.”

It is through the Spirit that Paul has been set free from the condemnation of the Law of death. For Paul, justification is just unthinkable without the work of the Son. What is most important for our purposes however is how this came about.

How did God do this? He sent his Son in the likeness of sinful man. Note that the Son is sent first off which would point to his pre-existence. However, he also comes in the likeness of sinful man and not in the likeness of man, which would be docetism. If you saw Christ on the street, you would think him a man like any other man, which would mean a sinner. Christ was not a man like any other man however. He was fully God and fully man and not tainted by sin. His coming was the only way that sin could be defeated.

What happens on the cross is that the wickedness of man meets the holiness of God in the person of the Son. In this clash, sin cannot overcome holiness. We see this in the ministry of Jesus in that he was never contaminated when unclean persons touched him, but rather they were made clean by his holiness. In Christ, God condemned sin as sin without condemning sinful man. That is, in Christ. All who are in Christ are set free from that condemnation. All who are not, are not.

In the spot of four verses then, we have the Trinity working together to bring about salvation. God is the judge who makes the pronouncement. Christ is the one whose action sets us free. The Spirit is the one who comes and enables that freedom. For Paul, if there is no Trinity, there is no justification.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Baptized Into Christ

Hello everyone. We’re continuing tonight our study of the doctrine of the Trinity going through the New Testament. We’re in the book of Romans. Much of the epistle deals with the doctrine of justification and while the deity of Christ is not the main focus in those chapters, we will find that it plays a part in them. The view that Paul holds of Christ in justification shows how he views him. Now we’re also not going to get into the debates of Calvinists and Arminians. That’s not our focus. We want to speak on what we all agree on, and that is who the person of Jesus is. We’ll be in Romans 6:1-14 tonight.

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The idea of being baptized into Christ shows taking on the identity of Christ with what he went to. The Israelites identified with Moses when they were baptized into Moses metaphorically through the Red Sea crossing. (1 Cor. 10:2)

However, how are we to identify with Christ? In death and resurrection, and this in the context of speaking about righteousness. We are to take on the identity of Christ to be righteous. Imagine this coming from a Jew who would have found righteousness in YHWH. Now he says righteousness is found in Christ. What an amazing switch! Again, the matter-of-fact way this is spoken of should catch our attention.

Notice also that the goal is living with Christ. We are to live with him. For the Jew, they would have longed to be in the presence of YHWH. Now Paul says the goal is to be with Christ. He goes on to tell us that the only way we can be alive to God is to be alive in Christ. Our eternal relationship with YHWH depends on our eternal relationship to Christ. Is this a mere man YHWH is basing this all on?

I answer no. Justification is something that a mere man cannot provide us and as we get to Hebrews, we will see this more as the identity of Christ is stressed strongly in that epistle. For tonight, I hope we have seen the importance of who Jesus is to Paul in his teaching in Romans. Tomorrow, we shall see what more he has to say.

Jesus and Adam

Hello everyone. We’re continuing our look through the New Testament to study the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re in the epistle to the Romans. Tonight’s passage won’t directly deal with the deity of Christ, but will be part of the Christian view of who Jesus is and thus important to our study. Paul will touch on issues later on in his writings that we will get a preview of tonight. Our text will be Romans 5:12-21.

12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is a comparison between Christ and Adam in relation to life and death. It’s noteworthy that Adam is referred to as a pattern of Christ while no one else is. Humanity is divided into two groups. Those who are in Adam and those who are in Christ. What separates them is not their being men. Both of them are. What separates them is what they brought into the world. Adam brought death into the world and all who are in him are in death. Christ brought life into the world and all who are in him are in life. (I also believe that this is talking about spiritual death and not physical death. After all, many are physically alive who are in Adam, but they are spiritually dead.)

What we need to pay attention to is the affect of Christ in that Christ is the bringer of life. To bring death to someone is a simple task. Anyone could do that. To bring life to those who are dead is not such a task. Christ is the one on whom all history turns. The world was in a downward spiral getting worse and worse until Christ came and began the change going upward. As we move away from the teachings of Christ however, evil becomes more prevalent. We see this in the mass murders that took place under the atheistic regimes of people like Stalin and Mao. We in America should be concerned about this and realize that the gospel needs to thrive in America if America is to thrive. It has been a contention of mine for some time that the gospel does not need America. If America falls, Christianity will survive. Amercia needs the gospel however. Our country cannot last without it.

Does Christ bring righteousness to all men? Yes. That is, all men who are in him. We are in Adam by nature for we are descended from him. We are not in Christ by nature. To be in Christ is to realize his truth claims. One can either accept his covenant or reject it. To accept it is to choose life. To reject it is to choose death.

Note how this part closes also. Eternal life is brought through Christ Jesus our Lord. This could be taken as a statement of the identity of Christ in that he is called Lord and that he is the one through whom eternal life comes. We’ll see more on Christ being Lord when we get to Romans 10.

We conclude then by saying that Christ is the focal point of all history and the one on whom it all changes. You may call him simply a man if you wish, but do we really believe that that is the message the New Testament wishes to convey?

Jesus As Savior

We’re going through the New Testament with the goal of coming to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ve reached the epistles and we’re going through the book of Romans. One difference in the epistles is that you get spelled out a lot more the doctrines that aren’t explained in the gospels. If you want to understand the atonement, for instance, the gospesl show you event while the epistles tend to be the works that explain the event. There is some speaking of the doctrine in the gospels, but most of it is found in the epistles. Tonight, we’re in Romans 3 and we’ll be reading verses 21-26.

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

The righteousness of God is what saves us. That is found in Christ Jesus. So what does it mean to us to have Jesus as savior. How can this be? There are a number of truths we must believe before we come to him as savior.

First, we must believe he can forgive us, as was seen in Mark 2, but he can only forgive us if we have sinned against him. The priests in the Old Testament pronounced forgiveness but only with sacrifices present. Jesus pronounced forgiveness regardless. The Pharisees understood that only God can forgive sins. When we tell Jesus was have sinned and ask his forgiveness, we are assuming that he can grant it, a belief of deity.

Second, we believe that he is capable of bearing our sin. In saying this, we realize that he is not a sinner himself and lived a pure life set apart from sin. We also realize that he is not a mere mortal who died for our sins as a man could not cover the cost for every man.

We realize that he is the holy one of God as well. By trusting him, we are affirming all his claims including his resurrection. We are affirming the righteousness of God in his life. This is what substittionary atonement is. It is his life for ours.

We can imagine how a Jew would have seen this passage. A verse like Isaiah 45:21 would have come to mind.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LORD ?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.

Ultimately, we are implicitly recognizing Christ as deity when we call him savior. There is none that can do it besides God, and Jesus is our savior. Consider it this way.

Jesus is the only savior.

The only savior is God.

Jesus is God.

Of course, we understand this in the Trinitarian sense in that Jesus is fully in the divine identity. We do not understand him as being the Father.

In conclusion then, when we speak of Jesus as our savior, implicitly, we are speaking of him as our God. Keep in mind as a point to consider that the cults regularly deny who Jesus is and then regularly also teach salvation by works ultimately. The two go hand in hand.

The Two Natures in Romans

Hello readers. Tonight we begin going through the epistles. For many of us, the epistles are a favorite part of the New Testament because we thrive on teaching so much and that is what we get in the epistles. It’s been a part I’ve been looking forward to getting to for some time and we will be spending a long time here. After all, there are 21 books to go through. I’m also just going straight through the epistles, Pauline and non-Pauline. It doesn’t really matter to me. Tonight, we’re going to begin at the beginning, which is usually a good place to begin, with Romans 1:1-6.

1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

We’re going to begin at verse 3, but I wanted to get the earlier context in. This is one place in the New Testament where we see the two natures of Christ upheld, something that was stated clearly at the council of Chalcedon. Christ is one person with two natures and he will always have a human nature and a divine nature.

For the human nature, he gets his Davidic descent from that. I contend that he got it through birth via his mother and he got it through legal descent via Joseph. It is just as essential to our salvation that Christ be a man as it is that he be God. We are right when we strongly emphasize the deity of Christ and defend it. Let’s not make the extreme error however that we teach his deity to the exclusion of his humanity. He has to be 100% man and 100% God.

However, through the Holy Spirit, he was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection. The idea is not that the resurrection made him the Son of God. It is that he was proven to be the Son by his resurrection from the dead. The resurrection has always been central to the Christian faith as it vindicated all the claims of Christ, something that we often lose sight of.

Note also that this says through the Holy Spirit. Thus, in this one verse we have Jesus being declared to be the Son of God through the Holy Spirit by his resurrection. In one verse, we have all three persons of the Trinity together. Redemption was not an event that involved just the Son. It was a work of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, each doing their own part.

It is also through him that we have grace and the right to be apostles and call the Gentiles to faith. This is probably to be understood as the grace of apostleship. It is by the authority of Jesus that Paul is an apostle. All people are called to come to obedience and the people Paul is writing to are among those who have accepted the call.

Once again, we are reminded of how this is stated so matter-of-factly. Paul does not have to give an argument for this. It is understood. The identity of Christ would be seen as basic Christian doctrine and yet today, most Christians cannot defend basic doctrine against the cultists. It’d be surprising to me if most even knew the basic doctrine of who Jesus is.

This is how Paul has opened his letter. What else does he have about who Jesus is in the letter? We’ll see as we go on.


Hello everyone. We’re continuing through Acts again in our study of the doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament. We’re going to wrap up that book tonight in chapter 28 by looking at the last few verses. We’re going to emphasize the Trinitarian points and then we’re going to end with a message about the spread of the gospel in the book of Acts. To be sure I am getting the whole context, I will quote verses 23-31:

23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note the 25th verse where we are told that the Holy Spirit spoke. This was the same passage referenced in John 12, which indicates that this was probably a favorite one amongst the early church in their evangelism and Paul used it here as the book closes with him preaching the gospel in Rome.

Our point that we wish to notice is that the Holy Spirit is the one who spoke. The Trinitarian dynamic is well under way as the Holy Spirit is seen as a person with authority. It’s also noteworthy that Paul is speaking to a Jewish audience who doesn’t seem to contradict any of his statements on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This is important to emphasize since in Trinitarian apologetics, we can be eager to defend the deity of Christ and sadly, the Holy Spirit is forgotten. His deity and personality are just as essential.

Notice when Paul quotes the first passage, he is very pointed and makes the pronouns into “you” as if to say “You are the ones spoken about in this passage.” This is a pesher kind of fulfillment of text where one event symbolizes another event. As the people were obstinate in Isaiah’s day, so they were in the day of Paul.

However, Luke does speak of the gospel going to the Gentiles and ends on a good note. The passage properly translated ends with the word for “unhindered.” Luke wants us to have one message as we close this book. The gospel was still going out and it wasn’t going to be stopped any time soon. In fact, about 1,950 years have gone since then and the gospel is STILL being spread and more than ever today.

Do we still have the obstinate people also? Yes. We do. Let us not have them stop the spread of the gospel however.

Tomorrow, we shall begin looking at Romans.

Who’ll Be A Witness?

Hello everyone. We’re back to continue our study of the doctrine of the Trinity in the Scriptures. We’re in the book of Acts at the moment. We’ve been going through trying to find clues for the Trinity, although trying isn’t the best word as the Trinity is everywhere in the Bible. Today, we’re going to be in Acts 22:17-21.

 17“It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,

 18and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’

 19“And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.

 20‘And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’

 21“And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”

The account here is Paul before the crowd in Jerusalem after he has been accused of bringing Gentiles into the part of the temple where they were not supposed to be. Paul is giving his defense of what he is doing and in doing such, he is recounting the events of what happened to him on the Damascus Road. I invite the reader to read the whole chapter so they can be entirely certain of the context.

Paul describes going back to Jerusalem and being in prayer and then seeing “Him.” Who is “Him?” There’s no reason to believe this is anyone besides Jesus himself, but notice how the conversation goes between Paul and Jesus as we look into this dialogue.

Jesus tells Paul to make haste and escape. The people in Jerusalem will not accept the testimony Paul has to make about Jesus. The interesting aspect of this one is that Paul’s testimony was going to be about Jesus. He had already become the focus of the Christian message.

Paul addresses Jesus and refers to him as Lord. We have no reason to believe Paul is speaking to the Father for earlier in this chapter, he has referred to Jesus as the Lord in the dialogue that happened when Saul was blinded on the road to Damascus. He not only addresses Jesus as Lord but speaks about imprisoning and beating those who believed in Jesus. The distinguishing mark early on was that the Christian was one who believed in Jesus.

Next, Paul speaks about the death of Stephen and tells the Lord that he was the Lord’s witness. Stephen was then a witness of Jesus. Keep in mind that all this is happening in prayer which would seem to indicate that Paul is praying to Jesus or at least speaking to Jesus in prayer. Stephen is identified as the witness of Jesus instead of the witness of YHWH, an interesting concept considering Isaiah 43;10 refers to being a witness of YHWH, a verse the JWs identify themselves with. (Yet one wonders if they could identify themselves as Jesus witnesses, which is what was to happen according to Acts 1:8.

What’s the point in all of this? There was a shift early in the history of the church and practically immediate where Jesus was put on the same level as YHWH. It has been said that this would be the earliest way Christians would see Jesus. He would be included in the divine identity. The material we see in Acts certainly lends itself to that belief.

We shall continue with this tomorrow.

Prophecy of the Spirit

Hello readers. We’re continuing our look through the New Testament as we hope to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine of God that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. We’ve been going through the book of Acts. Tonight, our look will not focus on Jesus, which it usually is, but will rather focus on the person of the Holy Spirit, though we will mention Jesus also. We’re going to be in Acts 21 and looking at verses 10-14:

10After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ”

12When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”14When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

The focus here is on verse 11. Agabus was a prophet who was mentioned earlier and now he shows up again to make a prophecy. What is interesting is the source of the prophecy and the way the source is acting. The Holy Spirit says this. Agabus is getting a prophecy and saying that the words are what the Holy Spirit is saying.

In biblical understanding, God would always be the main source of prophecy and to attribute a prophecy to the Holy Spirit speaks of how the writer of the text viewed the Holy Spirit. As we have seen in Acts 5, the Holy Spirit was seen as deity. When we got to Acts 13, we saw even more signs of this and saw that personal actions were attributed to the Holy Spirit. As we look at this text, we do not find anything that goes against our earlier thesis, but rather we find more support for it which leads to questioning the JW idea of the Holy Spirit being a force.

This is further emphasized by the idea of the way the prophetic utterance is spoken as it parallels the way the Old Testament prophets spoke in saying what the Lord said. Agabus came and put the Holy Spirit on the same level.

Note also the word about Jesus in verse 13. Paul is ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. This points to a high Christology in Paul in that he is instead of speaking of the name of Jesus rather than the name of YHWH. If you’re a Trinitarian, this makes sense in that you have Jesus on the same level as the Father and can say due to ontological equality that you are ready to die for the name of Jesus. It doesn’t make sense for an Arian. It’s interesting how the name of Jesus is emphasized so much in the NT but not the name of YHWH. (Which also interestingly never occurs in the NT.)

We shall continue our study tomorrow.

The Blood of God?

We’re continuing our study of the doctrine of the Trinity tonight. We’re going to be in the book of Acts and studying a passage that is often controversial. My main source for this will be Murray J. Harris’s work “Jesus as God” which goes into much more detail than I can on the topic. One reason he goes into much more than I can is that Harris is highly skilled in the Greek and I am not. He knows the works of the scholars better than I and anyone wanting a more in-depth look is advised to go to Harri’s work. We’ll be looking at a verse he examines, Acts 20:28, but getting the whole context by reading Acts 20:25-31.

25I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God’s kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you! 27I have told you everything God wants you to know. 28Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God’s church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son.  29I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. 30Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord’s followers. 31Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes.

I had to search through a number of translations until I got to the CEV which agrees with the view I will be representing tonight. I do not believe this is a Trinitarian text, but having said that, I don’t believe it goes against the Trinity either.

I think one of the great dangers would be the idea of the blood of God. As Harris points out, we do not have references to God dying on the cross or God being resurrected. We could have a similar problem with the idea of God’s blood. After all, we as Trinitarians do not believe God died. We believe a person who had the full nature of God died on a cross. God never died, but Jesus died in his humanity in that he experienced the separation of his soul from his body.

This could get us into the area of patripassianism. The idea is that the Father suffered through the Son when the Son died. I am a defender of the impassibility of God in that I do not believe God is the receptor of emotions in that he responds to them in a temporal sense. I believe he is experiencing any emotion or activity in the eternal now. God is not responsive. He is ultimately proactive in that he acts knowing how we will respond to any actions. It’s a surefire recipe for a headache!

The idea of the blood of God would be problematic as it could lead to a bodily idea of God. For this reason and those within the text, Harris goes with the idea that the main thrust of the passage is that God has acted in purchasing the church through the blood of his Son. He doesn’t rule out that this could be a reference to Jesus as being God, but just sees it as unlikely.

Should a Trinitarian be bothered? Not in the least. We have hundreds of different passages we can use. As a Trinitarian however, I believe I must be honest and if I don’t see something taught in a passage of Scripture, I will not say it is there. This is something we should all learn. We should not accept something because it supports our view unless we believe it is a true argument. We should not reject something on the same grounds unless it’s based on a true argument.

We shall continue tomorrow.