What I Learned About Myself When I Opened the Bible
The Bible is God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16). It is His revelation of Himself. Therefore, the reader of the Bible is aware that God is actually three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Lord our God is one (unity), but in community as Trinity (diversity). Our God is not three gods (Polytheism), nor is He one person with three different manifestations (Modalism). God is one in substance, but three Persons.
All three Persons are perfect, and they relate perfectly to one another. The perfect attributes of God are possessed by all three Persons. For instance, God is holy. This means the attribute of holiness applies to the Father, Son, and Spirit.
In role or function, each Person of the Godhead may be attributed with the work, as in creation. Creation is ascribed to Father, Son, and Spirit. In other works, the task is specific to one Person, as in redemption. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross, to save God’s chosen people from their sins (Mt 1:21). The Father and the Spirit did not do that particular work. Jesus Christ is glorified for redemption, while the Trinity (all three Persons) is glorified for creation.
The Bible teaches us these distinctions. We learn God from the very book inspired (God-breathed) by the Holy Spirit, who moved the human writers along to write the sixty-six books that comprise the one book. The Holy Spirit, who gave us the Bible, is the One who helps us to learn, know, and understand the Scriptures.
The Christian, as a child of God (1 Jn 3:1, 10), is made privy to the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18), the Son of God, who took on flesh to become the Son of Man (Jn 1:14). The Bible refers to Jesus, as the wisdom and power of God (1 Cor 1:24). So, as one learns the Word of God (written form = Bible), he is introduced to the incarnate Word of God (God-man form). Jesus revealed God the Father to His disciples, even as the Holy Spirit reveals to us the Father and the Son.
All people relate to God to some degree. That degree may be zero, as the reprobate has no relationship to God. It may be 100%, as in the case of the children of God, who are positioned, “in Christ,” with the Holy Spirit indwelling each of those born of God (Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Pet 1:3). Therefore, the reprobate (0%) and the elect, adopted, child of God (100%) both find their origin and their end in the God who made each one (Rom 9:22–23).
By testimony and confession, I relate to God, without shame, as one born again of the Spirit, redeemed by the Son, and as an adopted child of the Father (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:4–5). This is not my opinion, nor is it some religious idea conjured by me or another. Put in another way, “Christianity happened to me.” God revealed Himself to me, and I discovered, by His grace, who I was in relation to Him.
My personal testimony is not unique. My name, along with others, was written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8). God the Father gave me (and others) to God the Son; therefore, when I was conceived in the womb as a son of Adam (Ps 51:5), my soul was dead to God and in need of a Savior (Eph 2:1). The only Savior of sinners like me, is Jesus Christ (Tit 2:13), who came into the world to die on the cross for me (and others).
Jesus Christ was sent to be my substitute in the place of punishment, as I was already condemned in Adam (Jn 3:18; Rom 5:12–21). I formerly walked with the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2), on the wide way leading to destruction. My sins were diverse in kind and many in number. Left to my own will and ability, my course would have been to remain in the domain of darkness, under the dominion of Satan (Col 1:13).
But God, in His mercy and grace, sent the Holy Spirit to me (Jn 6:63; 14:26; 15:26). It was the Spirit, filling every preacher who ever told me something of Christ and Him crucified that gave me a new heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26). It was the Spirit, who opened my eyes to see Jesus. He opened my ears to hear the voice of Christ, as the Word of God was preached to me (and others). It was the Holy Spirit, who made me alive to God in Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). Salvation belongs to God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1), and I was saved entirely by the grace (work) of God, as one resurrected from spiritual death (Jn 3:1–8).
The revelation of God also became the revelation of how I have related to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit from eternity past…through to forever. I belong to Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:23), by His doing (1 Cor 1:30), for I was bought for a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), with His precious blood on the cross (1 Pet 1:19), where He bore my sins in His body (1 Pet 2:24), having become my shelter, my propitiation against the wrath of God (Rom 1:18), justly directed at me (1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).
Chosen for adoption (Eph 1:4–5), paid for in full, and baptized into the church (1 Cor 12:13), I have a hope and future. This again is not my imagination or inventive religious genius. It is the revelation of God, filled with the promises of God, which gives me (and others) faith (Heb 1:2; Gal 3:22; Phil 1:29) and the blessed assurance of so great a salvation (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:35–39; Heb 13:5).
By the irresistible grace of God the Father (Jn 6:44), I was drawn to the Son (Jn 6:37), and I came to Jesus only when the Holy Spirit had already come to me (Acts 2:38; 10:47). It was not of me, but it was the gift of God (Eph 2:8–9), a token of His love (2 Cor 5:5), who now helps me, comforts me, teaches me, guides me, and who will never leave nor forsake me. How do I know all of this? It is what I learned about myself when I opened the Bible.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 2, 2020