The two areas interact—God created, but his highest creation fell. Now humans need redemption. How does the Trinity accomplish this?
This article tells us why it is important to keep the three persons of the Trinity distinct—three persons equally and fully share the same one essence as one God.
In their roles and functions the Son was subordinate to the Father, but in their essence, they are equal.
If you would like to see the following verses in many translations and in their contexts, please go to biblegateway.com.
As usual, I write to learn. I consider myself a lifelong learner = disciple.
How do the Scriptures reveal the three persons as distinct?
They are distinct in their relationship with each other (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and in their function or role in creation and in the plan of redemption and salvation, to name only those areas.
In the work of creation, the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit had different functions. God the Father spoke the world into existence (Gen. 1-3), but God the Son carried out the divine decree. The Gospel of John says of Jesus: “All things were made through him [Jesus], and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). God the Holy Spirit was active in creation, “brooding over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2; see also Psalms 33:6 and 139:7).
In the work of redemption and salvation, the three persons have different roles or functions. God the Father planned the redemption and sent God the Son into the world to carry out the plan of redemption. He obeyed the Father and died on the cross for our sins. Neither the Father nor the God the Holy Spirit carried out this part of redemption. The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:26 and 16:7) to apply the plan of redemption to the heart of each person who receives it. The Holy Spirit also purifies and sanctifies us or makes us holy in our daily lives.
In relation to each other, we see that in the creation and redemption, the Father sends and directs the Son (Eph. 3:14-15), who obeys and goes where he is directed, revealing the full nature of God the Father to us (John 1:1-5, 14, 18; 17:4; Phil. 2:5-11). These roles fit perfectly with Fatherhood and Sonship. Both the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit, so the Spirit obeys both the first and second persons of the Trinity.
Thus, while the three persons of the Trinity completely and equally have the same attributes (holiness, mercy, omniscience, and so on), they have distinct roles or functions as they relate to each other, to creation, and in the plan of redemption and salvation. They are equal to each other in their divine attributes, but the Son and the Spirit are subordinate in their roles.
Please note: now that the Son accomplished redemption, he is not permanently subordinate to the Father. He now shares equality of being or essence or substance.
Are there more areas in Scriptures that show their nuanced differences in their roles?
Yes, please click on The Trinity: Three Persons Together in the New Testament
And The Trinity: What Does the Old Testament Say?
So how does knowing about the Trinity help me know God better?
Here is an entire ten-point post that answers that question:
The Trinity: What Does He Mean to Me?
As I write in nearly every post: at Sunday morning church, where the laity is present, I suggest we teach the Trinity in relational terms. We have a relationship with the Father, through the Son, and by the indwelling and power of the Spirit.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14, NIV)
This is how the NT presents God, and so do some places in the OT. We can never give up on the three persons within One God. To do so would be to break our relationship with the three persons.
ARTICLES IN THE TRIUNITY SERIES
The Trinity: What Are the Basics?
The Trinity: What Are Key Terms?
The Trinity: What Are Some Illustrations?
The Trinity: What Does the Old Testament Say?
The Trinity: Three Persons Together in the New Testament
The Trinity: What Do Theologians Say?
The Trinity: What Are His Roles in Creation and Redemption?
The Trinity: What Does ‘Only Begotten Son’ Mean in John 3:16?
The Trinity: What Do Arians and Jehovah’s Witnesses Teach?
The Trinity: What Are Defective Ideas?
The Trinity: What Are Replies to Objections?
The Trinity: Why Would God Seem So Complicated?
The Trinity: What Does He Mean to Me?
Elmer Towns came up with this table, which shows that each person of the Trinity shares the same attributes as one God:
SOME COMMON ATTRIBUTES OF THE TRINITY
|Jer 23:24||Matt 28:20||Ps. 139:7-12|
|Rom 1:16||Matt 28:18||Rom 15:19|
|Rom 11:33||John 21:17||John 14:26|
|Immutability (Unchanging)||Mal 3:6||Heb 13:8||Hag 2:5|
|Eternality||Ps 90:2||John 1:1||Heb 9:14|
|Holiness||Lev 19:2||Heb 4:15||Name “Holy”|
|Love||1 John 3:1||Matt 9:36||Name “Comforter”|
|This list is far from exhaustive. Careful! Christ in his human nature was limited, but not in his divine nature (Towns p. 100)|
Elmer Towns came up with this table too, which shows all three persons doing works that only God can:
THE WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY
|Creation of World||Ps 102:25||John 1:3||Gen 1:2|
|Creation of Man||Gen 2:7||Col. 1:16||Job 33:4|
|Death of Christ||Is 53:10||John 10:18||Heb 9:14|
|Resurrection of Christ||Acts 2:32||John 2:19||1 Pet 3:18|
|Inspiration||Heb 1:1-2||1 Pet 1:10-11||2 Pet 1:21|
|Indwelling of Believers||Eph 4:6||Col 1:7||1 Cor 6:19|
|Authority of Ministry||2 Cor 3:4-6||1 Tim 1:12||Acts 20:28|
|Security of Believer||John 10:29||Phil 1:6||Eph 1:13-14|
|This shows the unity of the Trinity. Each person of the Trinity contributed to each of these wonderful works, to God’s glory and for our salvation and redemption (Towns p. 100)|