Lesson 10 – The Key Topics of the Bible (1)
THE TRIUNE GOD
The Bible reveals that God is triune. This is a revelation of great importance. God is uniquely one, and His name is Jehovah; yet this God is also triune—He is the Father, Son, and Spirit. This is a mystery; in fact, it is a mystery of mysteries.
THE MATTER OF THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE SPIRIT
The Lord says in Matthew 28:19, “Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The Lord here clearly speaks of Three—the Father, Son, and Spirit. But when He speaks here of the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, the name which is used is in the singular number in the original text. This means that though the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three, yet the name is one. It is really mysterious—one name for Three. This, of course, is what is meant by the expression three-one or triune.
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE SPIRIT ALL BEING GOD
The Father is God (1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:17). The Son is God (Heb. 1:8; John 1:1; Rom. 9:5). The Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). The Scriptures clearly reveal to us that all Three—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—are God. This does not mean, however, that they are three Gods. We have already seen that the Scriptures tell us clearly and definitely that God is only one. Although there are three—the Father, Son, and Spirit—yet the Three are not three Gods, but one. This is really a mystery! It is unsearchable! But praise the Lord, we can simply receive and enjoy this mysterious One according to what the Scriptures have said!”
CHRIST BEING GOD
“Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). This word simply and strongly declares that Christ is God, who is over all, the complete God blessed forever.
CHRIST BEING MAN
“The Man, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Christ is not only God, He is also man. He is the complete God who became a genuine and perfect man. This is a great mystery.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF THE TRIUNE GOD
In the divine Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, is listed last, showing that He is the ultimate expression of the Triune God (Matt. 28:19).
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
The cross of Christ accomplished God’s eternal redemption for us according to the requirements of God’s righteousness, holiness, and glory to become the basis of our eternal salvation. Hence, we must thoroughly know the cross.
THE CROSS BEING PROPHESIED BY GOD
Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree.” “Tree” here signifies the cross, which was made of wood. In Deuteronomy 21:23 of the Old Testament, God prophesied in the judgments of the Law that Christ would be hung on a tree, that is, be hung on the cross.
The Bible is not only a book about God; it is also about man. If you took away God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the cross of Christ from the Bible, the Bible would be an empty book. Likewise, without man, there is no one for God to speak to in the Bible. Therefore, just as God and the Lord Jesus have a special place in the Bible, so does man.
In the Bible, there is more written about man than about God. If we want to know man, we must study the Bible. No other book describes man as thoroughly as the Bible. Therefore, in order to know the Bible, we must know what it says concerning man.
THE CREATION OF MAN
MAN BEING CREATED ACCORDING TO GOD’S IMAGE AND LIKENESS
Man not only possesses the highest created life, but he is also made in God’s image and after God’s likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Besides man, no other creature resembles God in image and in likeness. Man is the highest of God’s created things, and he is created in God’s image and after God’s likeness. In God’s creation, man is the best container prepared by God for His plan. In His plan God ordained that man would possess His life in order to be the brothers of His Son; therefore, in His creation, He caused man to have His image and likeness.
Image refers to the inward parts, such as the mind, emotion, and will. Man’s mind, emotion, and will, which constitute the intangible man, were created in God’s image. Therefore, human functions of thought, opinion, and love resemble those of God.
The image of God also refers to the characteristics of His attributes. The most prominent of God’s attributes manifested in man are love, light, holiness, and righteousness. When God created man, He created him in His image, according to the attributes of His virtues, so that man can express Him through these virtues. Thus, man has the desire to have love, light, holiness, and righteousness, and these virtues are sometimes expressed in his behavior. What man has, however, is only the image and not the reality. Man must receive God as his life and content and then God’s love, light, holiness, and righteousness will fill up and enrich the human virtues of love, light, holiness, and righteousness to become the reality.
Likeness refers to the outward body which constitutes the tangible man. Man’s outward body was created after the likeness of God. God has His likeness. Before God was incarnated to be a man, He appeared frequently to people in the Old Testament in the form of a man (Gen. 18:2, 16-17; Judg. 13:9-10, 17-19). The form of man is the form of God, for man was created after the likeness of God.
TO HAVE MAN TO EXPRESS GOD
The main purpose of God’s creation of man, a corporate man, is to express God (Gen. 1:26-27). God did not create many men. God created mankind collectively in one person, Adam. Therefore, in Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let them”—one man, but the pronoun is them. This proves that this man is a corporate man. God created such a corporate man in His own image and after His likeness so that man might express God Himself.
In His eternal plan, God planned to create all things and to have man to fulfill His eternal purpose. Furthermore, according to His foreknowledge and foresight, that is, according to His foreknowledge of man’s fall, He planned to redeem man after the fall. God’s redemption was neither an addition to His original plan, nor an afterthought to remedy the problem, but was planned and prepared from the beginning. In God’s eternal plan, He foreordained that after man’s fall, Christ would accomplish redemption. Therefore, in God’s view, Christ was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).