There is a basic litmus test in mainstream Christianity that requires a person to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity in order to be accepted into almost every Christian denomination, even other Sabbath keeping dominations. You have to believe in the Trinity. This teaching is that the Holy Spirit is a third divine person along with the Father and the Son but a closer look at the Bible reveals many problems with this view. It is simply not biblical and it does not express the true nature of God.
Can you become a Christian if you deny the Trinity? According to the huge California Church, Grace to You, on Grace to You's website at gty.org, they asked the question: "Can you become a Christian if you deny the Trinity? No." If you don't believe in the Trinity then you don't understand who God is. It is a great tragedy that the Christian world has embraced such a gigantic fraud that is actually rooted in pagan philosophy and pagan religion. The truth of the matter is not incomprehensible like they say themselves. The doctrine of the Trinity is.
Now obviously in one sermon I can't go through all the inns and outs of the Trinity doctrine but the United Church of God has an excellent booklet that's only been out a couple of years titled: Is God a Trinity? If you haven't read it I encourage you to because even people in other Church of God groups say this is the best piece of literature ever written on the subject in our lifetime. So, if you haven't read that book then I encourage you to. We are going to touch on a few things from it, of course, today.
The teaching of the Trinity asserts that the Holy Spirit is a divine person but this doctrine was foreign to the writers of the Bible and originated several centuries after the New Testament was completed. How then does the Bible define the Holy Spirit if it is not a person? Here, on this day of Pentecost, let's confirm what the Holy Spirit is and see how it affects our lives as Christians and let's look at our marvelous potential in God's family. The teaching of the trinity masks the truth of what God has in store for each of us and so I have titled this sermon with a question: Will you be god? Or you can even do it in the plural for all of us here: Will you be gods?
Now by way of background, the word "spirit" is translated from the Hebrew "ruwach" and the Greek "pneuma" and both words denote breath or wind; an invisible force. The scripture says that God is a Spirit – John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. See All.... God is Spirit. So just what is the Holy Spirit? I believe one of the simplest descriptions is this: It is the power of the Highest. The Holy Spirit is the power of the Highest.
Turn to Zechariah 4:6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. See All... with me if you would for a moment here this afternoon, because rather than describing the Holy Spirit as a distinct person or entity the Bible most often refers to it as, and connects it with, God's divine power.
Zechariah 4:6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. See All... So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts.
So how does God get things done? What is the power? He says it is My Spirit. He said that is how things get done.
Micah 3:8But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. See All... – You could turn over there for a moment – where Micah writes: But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might.
It is the power of the Highest and of course Highest with a capital "H". Jewish scholars examining the references to it in the Old Testament scriptures have never defined the Holy Spirit as anything but the power of God. In the New Testament Paul referred to it as the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. See All... ) The Spirit of power, Paul wrote to Timothy. Let me just mention a few more passages to you that you may want to make a note of - we won't turn to all of them, but we could turn to Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. See All... . Informing Mary that Jesus would be supernaturally conceived in her womb an angel told Mary this:
Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. See All... And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, - and then the divine messenger described this Spirit to her as : the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
So the angel even called the Spirit the power of the Highest.
You recall in a noteworthy Pentecost related statement from Acts 1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. See All... , Jesus told His followers: You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and then that was very graphically demonstrated on the first day of Pentecost by symbolic tongues of fire coming down at the time. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
Peter related in the book of Acts that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. That is in Acts 10:38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. See All.... And in Romans 15:19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. See All... - this was the same power that enabled Christ to perform many mighty miracles during His ministry and likewise Jesus, through the apostle Paul:
Romans 15:19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. See All... - in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God.
That is just a smattering of course of verses from the New Testament, a couple from the Old, about the Holy Spirit being the power of God. It is not a person. Confronted with such scriptures even the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits this, and this is from volume 13 from the section titled: Spirit of God. The New Catholic Encyclopedia on page 574: "The Old Testament" says the Catholic Encyclopedia, "clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person. God's spirit is simply God's power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God it is because the breath of Yahweh acts exteriorly. The majority of the New Testament texts reveal God's Spirit as something not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God."
The reference work, The Catholic Dictionary under the subject of the Holy Trinity, says this on page 827: "On the whole the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power." So why does the founder of the Trinity doctrine, the Catholic Church, foster this idea when they openly acknowledge that it is not a Biblical concept? Once again, of course, you can read a lot more about this in our booklet: Is God a Trinity?
God's word shows that the Holy Spirit is the very nature, presence and expression of God's power actively working within each of us as attested to when the New Testament Church began on the first day of Pentecost. Indeed it is through His spirit that God is present everywhere at once. He is omnipresent throughout the universe and He affects it at will.
Let's turn to Psalm 139 – Here is a passage about God being omnipresent.
Psalm 139:7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? See All... Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
V.8 – If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
V.9 – If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
V.10 – Even there Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
God is everywhere in the universe. Anywhere you would go; you can leave this planet; you can go to the Moon; you could go to Mars; not just to the uttermost parts of the city; you can travel anywhere – you cannot escape the presence of God, the power of the Highest.
We will not cover them all here this afternoon but again and again the scriptures depict the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Furthermore it is also shown to be the mind of God and the very essence and life force to which the Father begets human beings as His spiritual children. And this is a key concept. The Holy Spirit is not God but rather a vital aspect of God; the agency through which the Father and Christ both work.
In its article about the Holy Spirit, the Anchor Bible Dictionary on page 260 of Vol. 3, describes it as the "manifestation of divine presence and power perceptible especially in prophetic inspiration". The Holy Spirit is spoken of in many ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person. For example, it is referred to as a gift, a gift that God gives without limit. Let me mention a few more to you if you want to jot them down. We are told that the Holy Spirit can be quenched; that it can be poured out; that we are baptized with it; people can drink of it; partake of it and be filled with it. The Holy Spirit also renews us and must be stirred up within us. These impersonal characteristics are certainly not attributes of a person or a personal being.
The Spirit is also described by other designations - as "the Holy Spirit of promise," "the guarantee of our inheritance" and "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" - that show it is not a person.
In contrast to God the Father and Jesus Christ, who are consistently compared to human beings in their form and shape, the Holy Spirit is consistently represented by various symbols and manifestations, in a completely different manner. Not with legs and arms and a head and a body like Christ and the Father are sometimes referred to. The Holy Spirit is referred to as breath, wind, fire, water, oil – remember the parable of the 10 virgins filling their lamps - a dove and an "earnest" or down payment on eternal life.
That's the seed that God gives us, the seed of eternal life as children in His family. To say the least, these depictions are difficult to understand if the Holy Spirit is a person. Notice Matthew 1:20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. See All... – of course this is right when Joseph was told that his wife was going to bear a son and His name would be called Jesus.
Matthew 1:20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. See All... But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Here we find further proof that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct entity, but God's divine power. Here we read that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus continually prayed to and addressed God the Father as His Father and not the Holy Spirit as His Father. He never represented the Holy Spirit as His Father. Clearly, the Holy Spirit was the agency or power through which the Father begot Jesus as His Son – not a separate person or being altogether.
So, contrary to Trinitarian teaching, scripture reveals the Holy Spirit not as a person, but as something much different: the divine power through which God acts.
We've had some interesting experiences over the past 12 years in the media department beginning with when we first started to air the Good News radio program more than a decade ago. You might think, and most media representatives will tell us, that we could expect the most response and success by airing our radio program on religious stations. We found the opposite. We found that our radio program did best on generic news-talk stations. Not religious stations. Our contracts on Christian radio stations were often cancelled by the station just a few weeks into it. Why? Because they got calls, they got complaints, and they were told, this church does not believe in the Trinity and so we got cancelled.
We didn't have those problems on stations where, you know, maybe Rush Limbaugh or something would air, the news-talk stations, and we did quite well on those for a while. Now why? I believe there is a reason why Satan, the religious leader of this world, has clouded the Biblical message with the doctrine of the Trinity and here it is:
One of the major problems with the Trinity doctrine is that it shields our understanding of the crucial role of God's Spirit as the power of God - particularly in the life of a Christian and what this means for our eternal destiny in God's family. Satan tries to destroy families. The Holy Spirit is a power that made and sustains the universe and it is the same power we can receive directly from God. This Spirit empowers us to live a life of growing and overcoming, of transforming our lives to become like Jesus Christ Himself. And to become like Him in more ways than one as we shall see here in a moment.
Let's turn to Romans 12.
Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. See All... – Paul writing to the church at Rome: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
V.2 – and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
That spirit is the power God uses to transform our lives, to transform our minds. A real transformation takes place. That was actually the theme of the General Conference of Elders in May, beginning of the month: Transforming lives through the Spirit and power of God, or the Spirit and word of God.
Earlier in Romans, if you want to go back a couple of pages, Paul helps us understand how the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian.
Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. See All... For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Here we see that, to be considered God's children, we must be led by the Spirit of God.
Paul continues this same thought in Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. See All... , dogmatically stating that if you do not have God's Spirit, also referred to here as Christ's Spirit, dwelling in you, you are not His. You have to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you to be a child of God.
We succeed through God's power and help, rather than through our own efforts, so therefore the credit and the glory go to God, not to us. We must allow His Spirit to become the guiding force in our lives to produce the qualities of true Christianity. We must regularly ask ourselves if we are being led by God's Spirit or if we are resisting it. So, God's Spirit leads us.
Let's look at a few key areas where we receive divine help through God's Spirit and this day of Pentecost is a good time to review these because without the power of God's Spirit we can have no deep, close relationship with the Father, not can we become His children. Without His Spirit, we are not His. It is because the Spirit dwells in us that we are called the children of God. God's Spirit doesn't drive or drag or push us around – as we read in Romans, it leads us. It will not prevent us from sinning, nor will it force us to do what is right. It leads us, but we must be willing to follow.
How does God's Spirit lead us? Let's consider just a few ways.
I wrote down six ways the other day that I put in my notes and we will just look at one scripture for each way. There is more to expound upon each of these six ways but I will just keep to one scripture for each for right now to illustrate each point, because I have a very important follow-up point and -reminder that I want to emphasize at the end.
1. The Holy Spirit keeps us in contact with God's mind.
God's Spirit works with our mind. This is how the apostle John describes it:
1 John 3:24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. See All... Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
So the way we connect with God and His mind is through the Spirit that He gives us. Through God's Spirit we can be influenced by Him for the good, and have strength to obey His commandments. When Jesus promised the apostles He would send the Spirit to them, He said it would "guide (them) into all truth" (John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. See All... ). The Holy Spirit keeps us in contact with the mind of God. It gives us a spiritual connection – it is not a physical thing.
2. God's Spirit gives a deeper understanding of His Word, purpose and will.
1 Corinthians 2:9-11 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
See All... explains the difference between our spirit and God's Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. See All... But as it is written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' So how do we understand the things that God has prepared for us?
V.10 – But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit . (That is how we understand His word – through His Spirit ) For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
V.11 – For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
Without God's Spirit a person cannot understand God's divinely expressed Word and will, because they are just seen as foolishness. God's Spirit gives us a deeper
understanding of His word, His purpose and His will.
3. The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible.
And this takes us back to Romans 8. Nothing is too difficult for us with the power of God working in our lives.
Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. See All... Likewise (says Paul) the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us.
You see God's Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. The Christian life is to be one of overcoming this world, overcoming Satan and overcoming our own selfishness. We must realize God doesn't want us to remain just as we were when He called us. Remember He called the weak and the foolish things of the world. We are not supposed to remain like that. Instead, as we read earlier, we must " not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. See All...) You don't stay in that state when you were called - we are transformed. Christianity is a lifetime of overcoming and growing – of transforming our thoughts and mind to become like Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible.
4. The Spirit of God convicts our conscience and helps us see sin as it really is.
I am going to quote John 16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: See All... here, because God's Spirit within us, working with our conscience, helps us to recognize and avoid sin.
John 16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: See All... Christ was telling the disciples: And when it (the Holy Spirit) has come, it will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
So He is speaking of the Holy Spirit which would be given to His followers after His death and His resurrection; Jesus said it would convict the world of sin. The guilt we feel, when being led by God's Spirit, is real when prompted to recognize our shortcomings and our sins. Our mind and our heart, our conscience, is pricked and we see sin as it really is.
5. The Holy Spirit produces godly fruit in us.
Just as an apple tree produces apples, God's Spirit produces a particular type of fruit in the life of a Christian – godly fruit. Paul lists the fruit that should be evident in those who are led by God's Spirit as " love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness , faithfulness, gentleness and self-control " (Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Notice how Peter sums it up in 2 Peter 1 . The apostle Peter sums up the process of growing towards spiritual maturity this way and once again we see that the Holy Spirit is mentioned as power, a divine power. Not a person.
2 Peter 1:3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: See All... as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
V.4 – by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And then 2 Peter 5-7 show how it is done – how we work towards becoming like God to the point where we can partake of the divine nature.
V.5 - But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
V.6 – to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
V.7 – to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
So the Holy Spirit produces godly fruit in us: virtue, perseverance, kindness, diligence and love, so that we may be partakers of the divine nature. We are going to talk about partaking of the divine nature in just a minute because it is a very important concept to consider.
6. The Spirit of God also comforts, encourages and otherwise helps us.
Remember in John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
See All... , a passage we often read at the Passover service or around Passover time, Christ promised to send His followers the Holy Spirit as a "Helper" or a "Comforter" and God's power can comfort us when we go through trials.
John 14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; See All... And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (a Helper) that He may abide with you forever –
True comfort and reassurance come from God's Spirit dwelling in us. We need not be unduly worried about what may happen to us. God's Spirit gives us the assurance that whatever happens will work out for the good " to those who love God , to those who are the called according to His purpose". (Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. See All...)
This assurance provides an outlook on life that is rare in our world. Yes, a Christian can get discouraged, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we can begin to look at life differently. We are comforted through our trials; we are given power and strength when things are not going well.
When we rid our minds of the confusion over the Holy Spirit created by the Trinity teaching, we come to see the wonderful truth of how and why God works in our lives to transform us – enabling us to obey Him and grow in His way while in this physical life, that we may experience a truly inspiring transformation in the future at Christ's return. The Spirit of God comforts, encourages and helps us.
Now let's examine how God's Spirit can help lead us to our ultimate destiny. The ultimate destiny, like I said earlier, is clouded by the Trinity teaching. With a true understanding of what the Holy Spirit is, our destiny becomes very clear. And so I ask the question: Are you gods? Let's get to the heart of the matter. I would like to focus on this for the remainder of the sermon.
I am going to turn to the same passage that Mr. Rowland did this morning: John 10. The Jews of Jesus' day accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God.
John 10:33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. See All... The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You , (well, thanks!) but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
V.34 – Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"?
Christ continued :
V.35 – If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
V.36 – do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
In other words, said Christ, "If Scripture outright called human beings gods, why are you upset when I merely state that I am also God's Son?"
And so we ask the question: Are human beings actually gods? What did He mean?
The reference of course that Christ used was Psalm 82:6I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. See All... where we read:
Psalm 82:6I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. See All... I said, "You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.
All of us are children of the Most High. Now we are going to see that that is actually in different levels at this point. The key here is the word children , just as we've seen in other verses about us. We must understand that God is a family – a divine family of more than one person. As we know from scripture, there is one God (the God family) comprising more than one God Being.
The God family from the beginning comprised two divine Beings - God and the Word. You can of course read about this in John 1 . The Word became flesh and dwelt among us 2,000 years ago. That Word became Jesus Christ. After Jesus' human life and death, He was resurrected to divine spirit existence as the " firstborn from the dead " and " firstborn among many brethren". Let's see where this is quoted:
Romans 8:29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. See All... For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be (talking of Jesus Christ) the firstborn among many brethren,
Who are the many brethren? It is the saints. It is God's people. It is Christ's brothers and sisters, His brethren, and that is you and me. Jesus was spiritually born in the resurrection as the first of many "brethren", the first of many children to follow later. Notice:
Acts 17:28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. See All... Here we read that we are God's offspring: for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'
V.29 – Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising.
The Greek word for "offspring" genos , here means we are God's kindred, we are God's race or we are God's kind, God's stock or it can be translated we are God's family. We are God's offspring; we are of His kind, His family.
Genesis 1 reminds us that God's purpose in creating man in His own image and likeness was to make man according to the "God kind" – to thus reproduce Himself through mankind.
So in the ancient Hebrew, when we read Psalm 82, it is much easier to understand in this light. Psalm 82:6I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. See All... the word gods, " you are gods ", is equated with "children of the Most High." So he is saying, I call you gods because you are my children, and that makes perfect sense. When any entity bears offspring, its offspring are the same kind of entity. The offspring of cats are cats. The offspring of dogs are dogs. The offspring of human beings are human beings. The offspring of God are, in Christ's own words, little "gods" with a small "g". Notice in your Bible it is a small "g".
But we must be careful here. Human beings are not literally gods – not yet, at any rate. Not yet. Indeed, people initially are not literally even God's children, except in the sense that He created humanity and did so in His image and likeness. So human beings can be called gods because we are in His likeness but spiritually, no. Very few people are yet God's spirit children.
In Psalm 82 , when human beings are referred to as gods – in the sense of being God's offspring intended to represent Him in authority and judgment throughout the earth – they are still declared imperfect and subject to corruption and death. So even though human beings were created in the likeness of God, we still die - corrupted and in sin.
So, mankind is of God's family in a very restricted sense, having being created like Him, able to reason and think but there is more to the story, isn't there? One aspect of this is that man has been created in God's image and likeness on a physical, mortal level with limited dominion, resembling God but without His divine character and glory. Human beings do not have God's mind, character and glory even though they are made in His likeness. Another aspect of this is that man has the ultimate potential of becoming the same kind of beings the Father and Christ now are with divine character and glory. That's where we are headed but humanity is not there yet at this point. Amazingly, as we shall now explore, God's purpose is to exalt human beings from this fleshly existence to the same level of divine spirit existence that He has.
Our ultimate outcome is to have divine glory. We are God's children. Let's get a more complete picture of what God is doing. Turn back to Romans 8 . The spiritual reproductive process starts with God's Spirit joining with our human spirit. The germination of God's Spirit has to be there. Without it, we are not God's sons.
Romans 8:16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: See All... The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit (because there is a spirit in man) that we are children of God,
That was emphasized this morning; I am emphasizing it now. We are children of God when we have His Spirit. Not just created like God, like Adam and Eve were, but now from a spiritual dimension.
V.17 – and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
So we are joint heirs with Christ and we will be glorified together with Him. Through this miraculous union of our spirit and God's Spirit in the converted Christian we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. See All...).
The Spirit-begotten Christian is a child of God, an actual member of the God family – but not yet in an ultimate sense, of course of the resurrection. As children, we must still go through a developmental process in this life – a period of building godly character, becoming more and more like God in the way we think and behave. God wants to see us put (this) into action. He is testing us. And then, at the end of this life, whenever that may come for you, in the resurrection at Christ's return, we will be changed into divine spirit beings like the Father and Christ.
Look at this amazing truth recorded by the apostle John:
1 John 3:1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. See All... Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called (once again) children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
You see this concept is foreign to most of the world.
V.2 – Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, (when Christ returns) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
What we will be like? We will be like Christ. We will be partakers of the divine nature. We will be joint heirs with Him. We will be glorified. In fact, to expand on this, we are told in numerous passages of Scripture that we will receive the divine glory of the Father and Christ. Let's just note a couple of them, if you want to note them down. I have 4 or 5 here - if you want to make a note of it in your notes:
1 Peter 5:10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. See All... But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
So, like Christ Jesus, we are being called to eternal glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD. See All... But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, (andhow?) just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
You see it is the Spirit of God, that power that transforms us we read here, that puts us in the same image of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:12That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. See All... (Breaking into the middle of a sentence) that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
We are being called into God's kingdom and into His glory. You don't have to go far down the street to realize that this is not commonly taught in Christianity today.
Colossians 1:27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: See All... To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
I'll mention one more and this is part of our vision statement. It was part of our old vision statement and it is also part of our new vision statement. It was updated at the General Conference just a few weeks ago.
Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. See All... For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings .
That's what the work of the church is about: working towards becoming the bride of Christ as God brings many sons in His family to glory. It doesn't say to humanity – to glory, and they will be like Him. As coinheritors with Christ, we will receive dominion over the universe. As Hebrews says in another place, over all things including the entire vast universe, just as Christ has. We are joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. See All...)
To truly exercise dominion over all things – including the raging thermonuclear furnaces of 50 billion trillion suns and every subatomic particle of every atom of every molecule in the entire universe, requires the omnipotent power of God. Without God's power and Spirit, this universe will collapse. It will disappear into nothing. We will need the power of God to sustain our inheritance. It will take tremendous power to inherit the universe.
And what about our minds? As human beings, we cannot count all the individual stars of the universe. Let's just say there are trillions of them. You can't count them. We couldn't count all the individual stars of the universe, at one per second, in a trillion lifetimes. But God, in a passing comment, says He knows all the stars by name. (Psalm 147:4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. See All...)
Consider this: Converted human beings, those filled and led by the Holy Spirit, are to one day posses divine nature, divine glory and total power over the creation, sharing God's infinite knowledge. All of this requires nothing less than divinity.
This Biblical truth that is hidden by the common doctrine of the Trinity, comes as quite a shock to those who have only heard the traditional view of mainstream Christianity regarding the ultimate reward of the righteous. Yet those who might be quick to support the Trinity will perhaps be even more surprised to learn that many early "church fathers" of mainstream tradition even, from the second, third, fourth centuries, did understand this incredible truth, at least in part. But then it got lost and replaced.
Listen to these paragraphs from the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995): Paragraph 398: "Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully 'divinized' by God in glory. The Word became flesh to make us 'partakers of the divine nature'. For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."
That is from the 2nd century by Irenaeus in the book: Against Heresies Book 3, chap. 19, sec.1.
So back in the second century they believed that the Bible, the Scriptures the apostles taught - that we would receive divine sonship. They used those very words.
From Athanasius in the 4th century, On the Incarnation of the Word , chap. 54, sec.3, he said: "For the Son of God became man so that we might become god."
From Thomas Aquinas (13the century), Opusculum 57, lectures 1-4, pp112: "The only-begotten Son of God" of course Jesus, "wanting to make us share in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."
You see it is there – in the history of even the Catholic Church. This teaching is even more prevalent in Eastern Orthodox tradition, where it is known by the Greek term theosis, meaning "divinization" or "deification."
Notice this remarkable explanation of the early theologian Tertullian, writing around A.D.200 and this is from: Against Hermogenes, chap. 5 , Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 480. This is what Tertullian said:
"It would be impossible that another God could be admitted, when it is permitted to no other being to possess anything of God. Well, then, you say, at that rate we ourselves possess nothing of God." That's true. "But indeed we do, and will continue to do so. Only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves." So Tertullian is saying, we don't have the power of God in us. We only have it if God will give it to us. And then he says:
"For we will be even gods, if we deserve to be among those of whom He declared, 'I have said, "You are gods,"' and 'God stands in the congregation of the gods.' But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us. For it is He alone who can make gods."
So Tertullian taught that we can become divine – become like God. You see this was the commonly accepted view during the early Christian centuries before the Trinity doctrine took hold. Some of the later theologians of this early period were, despite this understanding, veering into developing the idea of Trinitarianism. But earlier theologians, closer to the original apostles, show no hint of Trinitarian ideas. Consider this remarkable statement from the second-century bishop Irenaeus, who was taught when young by a disciple of the apostle John. It was like a second- or third generation Christian, right? He said: "There is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption."
So rather than the Trinitarian one God in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Irenaeus proclaimed one God that includes the Father, the Son and us, the multitude of other sons brought to glory. "Those who possess the adoption" he called them. So the third part in the family is us!
More recent authors have also glimpsed the biblical truth about man's destiny. Notice these remarkable words from C.S. Lewis, perhaps the most popular Christian writer of the last century and this is from Mere Christianity , published in 1196, p. 176: "The command 'Be ye perfect' (Matthew 5:48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. See All...) is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words."
"If we let Him – for we can prevent Him, if we choose – He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said."
There is indeed only one God but that God is a family – with others to be added to that family. The term gods in reference to our destiny is really meant to distinguish multiple God beings constituting the one God family. Again, there are at present two fully divine members of the God family – two distinct Beings – God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. And, as incredible as it sounds, there will be more to come.
Those who enter this family as glorified and immortal children of God, those who take on immortality, will never challenge the preeminence of the Father and Christ as leaders of the family. That is why we are being proved and tested in this life first so that they will know we will never challenge their authority. The Father and Jesus Christ will remain at the top of the family forever, reigning supreme even with the addition of billions of divine children.
Unlike us, the Father and Son are different: They are uncreated, living eternally throughout time without a beginning. We all had a beginning, but He is going to bring us into His divine family and there is only one Savior in whose name we can receive the gift of eternal life. And of course that sets Jesus Christ apart from us forever as well, as our Savior.
This then is why we are here. It is the ultimate potential destiny of mankind. It is the awe-inspiring purpose for which we were created. As Jesus quoted, seeing our future on the horizon, He said: " You are gods ." Our future can't get any higher or better than that.
How bankrupt the Trinity doctrine is revealed to be beside this wondrous and overarching truth. The Trinity is a closed family teaching. It denies the Biblical record and it hurts the truth. It doesn't allow for God's family to expand as we have just read and sadly the distortions of Trinitarian teaching hide what God has revealed about His nature and our awesome future. It twists and obscures the truth with a grievous error that Satan has fostered on the Christian world. Indeed, the Trinity denies the greatest truth we can know - that God is a growing family of which we can become a part.
What a great tragedy that the Christian world has embraced such a giant fraud rooted in pagan philosophy and religion. Thankfully, the truth of God is plain for those with eyes to see. The truth astounds the mind in the immensity and grandeur of its scope.
May you, may I, may we all, hold fast to the stunning and glorious destiny God has promised in His Word and be filled with the power of His Holy Spirit.
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