My grandfather was an old time Fundamental Baptist preacher with an extremely robust set of vocal chords. When he preached, believe me, he got your attention. His thundering voice rattled the windows and shook the building; probably raising the eyebrows of some seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. And yes, he preached hell so hot folks seated in those old wooden pews could feel the heat and smell the smoke rising through the cracks. I know, I was one of them.
Not to speak ill of the dead, but Pawpaw was quite rigid in what he believed and how he thought God should be approached. Questions posing a challenge to the traditionally held views of his day were off-limits – strictly forbidden. In fact, to voice an opposing thought or idea would certainly incur the wrath of God and at the very least, a chillingly stern stare down from this rugged hulk-like man.
No, Pawpaw wouldn’t fit in well today, because today, people are asking the hard questions. The ones most everyone has asked internally, but true to their raising, would not dream of talking to a minister about. I mean, that would be heresy – wouldn’t it?
One of those questions is this – Who is Jesus? Of those who will acknowledge his existence, some say he was but a good man. Others say a prophet. Many believe he was Israel’s promised Messiah – the Christ. Then there are those who proclaim him to be God incarnate, the God-man, the only begotten of the heavenly Father. The truth is; he is all of those and so much more.
John 1:1 reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Thirteen verses later John makes things much clearer writing, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus is God incarnate, the God-Man. Fully human and fully God, both natures in one complete package. We call this unifying of the Godhead the Trinity. A term not found in scripture but coined by a man named Quintus Tertullian somewhere around 200A.D.
The mystery of the Godhead is unexplainable. As Billy Graham once said, “No one can explain the Trinity to your satisfaction or mine”. Each member (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), is distinct from the others but never acts independently. They are one in nature and purpose. Three separate beings operating in seamless unity, harmonious in every respect.
No, the finite mind will never fully comprehend an infinite God. But as such is clearly taught in scripture, by faith we embrace what our humanity cannot fully understand. What we must understand however is this, Jesus is God’s provision for our sin – his only provision. Scripture tells us plainly:
“Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).