• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • March 2023
    M T W T F S S
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Understanding the Trinity

John GillIn this article, John Gill – using the Scriptures – seeks to expand our understanding of the Trinity:

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)

[A]bout the doctrine of the Trinity: As the light of nature and reason will tell you, that there is but one God, and which is confirmed by revelation; the scriptures will inform you, that there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Spirit, and that these three are one (1 John 5:7); are the one God: look into the first page of the Bible, and you will see how just and right is that observation of the Psalmist (Ps. 33:6); by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath or spirit of his mouth; and that Jehovah, his word and spirit, were concerned in the creation of all things: you will learn from thence that God made the heavens and the earth; that the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and brought the chaos into a beautiful order, as well as garnished the heavens; and that God the word said, Let there be light, and there was light; and that these three are the US that made man after their image and likeness. (Gen. 1:1-3; 1:26)

This doctrine is frequently suggested in the Old Testament, but clearly revealed in the New; and no where more clearly than in the commission for the administration of the ordinance of baptism; Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19); and in the administration of it itself to our Lord Jesus Christ, at which all the three persons appeared; the Father by a voice from heaven, declaring Christ his beloved Son; the Son in human nature, submitting to the ordinance; and the holy Ghost descending as a dove upon him (Matthew 3:16, 17); this was thought to be so clear a testimony for this doctrine, that it was usual with the ancients to say, “Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the trinity.” (“The Scriptures: The Only Guide in Matters of Faith”)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones On Thinking In Trinitarian

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

It is, unfortunately, true that most of us have not taken the trouble to read and to understand Christian doctrine. However, it really is essential that we should do so if we truly want to worship God. When there is no worship or praise in a person’s life, it is due to ignorance of the great and wonderful things we should know about God. Praise must be accompanied by truth. When we worship, we must know who it is we worship. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points this out as he discusses the Trinity:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

So often people stop at one Person. Some stop at the Person of the Father; they talk about God and about worshipping God and about having forgiveness from God; and in all their talk and conversation even the Lord Jesus Christ is not mentioned. Certain others seem to stop only and entirely with the Lord Jesus Christ. They so concentrate upon Him that you hear little of the Father and little of the Holy Spirit. There are others whose entire conversation seems to be about the work of the Holy Spirit and they are interested in spiritual manifestations only. There is this constant danger of forgetting that as Christians we of necessity worship the Three Persons in the blessed Holy Trinity. Christianity is Trinitarian in its origin and in its continuance.

But not only must we be careful always that the Three Persons are in our minds and our worship, we must be equally careful about the order in which they are introduced to us in the Scriptures — the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. There is what our forefathers called a divine economy or order in the matter of our salvation among the blessed Persons themselves; and so we have always to preserve this order. We are to worship the Father through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. Many evangelical Christians in particular seem to offer all their prayers to the Son, there are others who forget the Son altogether, but the two wrongs do not make one right. So we notice here at the commencement of this Epistle that the Apostle not only praises, but praises the three blessed Persons, and ascribes unto them thanksgiving and glory in this invariable order. . . .

Now we turn to consider why the blessed Persons of the Holy Trinity should be thus praised. There are many answers to that question, but we must concentrate on the one which the Apostle emphasizes specially in this verse. God is to be praised because He is what He is. The ultimate characteristic or attribute of God is blessedness. It is indescribable, but if there is one quality, one attribute of God that makes God God; (I speak with reverence) if there is one thing that makes God God more than anything else, it is blessedness. And God is to be praised. We are to say ‘Blessed be God’ because of what God is and what He does. (“The Everlasting Covenant”)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones On Praise, Worship, And The Trinity

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Understanding the nature of salvation leads to praise. God has blessed us and we praise Him. If there is no praise in a Christian’s life it is because he is ignorant of the Scriptures. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains our relationship of praise for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Praise distinguishes the Christian particularly in his prayer and in his worship. The Manuals on the devotional life which have been written throughout the centuries, and irrespective of particular Communions, agree that the highest point of all worship and prayer is adoration and praise and thanksgiving. Are we not all guilty at this point? Are we not aware of a serious deficiency and lack as we consider this? When we pray in private or in public what part does adoration play? Do we delight simply to be in the presence of God ‘in worship, in adoration’? Do we know what it is to be moved constantly to cry out, ‘Blessed be our God and Father’, and to ascribe unto God all praise and blessedness and glory? This is the highest point of our growth in grace, the measure of all true Christianity. It is when you and I become ‘lost in wonder, love and praise’ that we really are functioning as God means us to function in Christ.

Praise is really the chief object of all public acts of worship. We all need to examine ourselves at this point. We must remember that the primary purpose of worship is to give praise and thanksgiving to God. Worship should be of the mind and of the heart. It does not merely mean repeating certain phrases mechanically; it means the heart going out in fervent praise to God. We should not come to God’s house simply to seek blessings and to desire various things for ourselves. . . .

But let us note that the praise and the adoration and the worship are to be ascribed to the blessed Holy Trinity. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.’ The blessings come through the Holy Spirit. The praise and worship and adoration, indeed all worship, must be offered and ascribed to the Three blessed Persons. The Apostle Paul never fails to do this. He delights in mentioning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Christian position is always and inevitably Trinitarian. Christian worship must be Trinitarian if it is true worship; there is no question, no choice about this. If we have the correct biblical view of salvation, then the Three Persons of the blessed Holy Trinity must always and invariably be present. (God’s Ultimate Purpose: an Exposition of Ephesians One published by Baker Book House, 1978)

Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter II – OF GOD, AND OF THE HOLY TRINITY

Westminster Assembly

In 1643, the English “Long Parliament” convened an Assembly of Divines at Westminster Abbey in London. Their task was to advise Parliament on how to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland and the Continental Reformed churches. The Westminster Assembly produced documents on doctrine, church government, and worship that have largely defined Presbyterianism down to this day. These documents included a Confession of Faith (1646), a Larger Catechism (1647), and a Shorter Catechism (1647), often collectively called “the Westminster standards”:


1. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

2. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.

3. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

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