God's Spirit and Our Destiny

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A basic litmus test in mainstream Christianity today is that a person believe in the doctrine of the Trinity to be accepted into almost every Christian denomination.

A question on the website of Evangelical commentator John MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You asks, “Can you become a Christian if you deny the Trinity?” The response: “I would answer, ‘No.’ If you don’t believe in the Trinity, then you don’t understand who God is …”

We must understand that God is a family—a divine family of more than one person. There is one God (the God family) comprising more than one God Being.

The Trinity doctrine argues 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 either the true nature of God or the glorious future He has planned for us!

How, then, does the Bible define the Holy Spirit if it is not a person?

The power of the Highest

The word “spirit” is translated from the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma. Both words denote breath or wind, an invisible force. Scripture plainly says that “God is Spirit ” (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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, emphasis added throughout).

So, just what is the Holy Spirit? One of the simplest biblical descriptions is this: It is the “power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35 Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
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). 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 essence and power.

The prophet Micah explains that “truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord” (Micah 3:8 Micah 3:8But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
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). In the New Testament, Paul referred to it as the spirit of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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). Informing Mary that Jesus would be supernaturally conceived in her womb, an angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” and the divine messenger described this Spirit to her as “the power of the Highest [which] will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35 Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
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). And, in a noteworthy Pentecost-related statement, Jesus told His followers, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
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).

Confronted with such scriptures, even the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits: “The OT [Old Testament] clearly does not envisage God’s spirit as a person … God’s spirit is simply God’s power” (1965, Vol. 13, “Spirit of God,” p. 574) .

The reference work A Catholic Dictionary similarly acknowledges, “On the whole the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power” (William Addis and Thomas Arnold, 2004, “Trinity, Holy,” p. 827) .

God’s Word shows that the Holy Spirit is the very nature, presence and expression of God’s power actively working in His servants. Indeed, it is through His Spirit that God is present everywhere at once, or omnipresent, throughout the universe and affects it at will.

The impersonal Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is spoken of in so many ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person. For example, it is referred to as a gift (Acts 10:45 Acts 10:45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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). We are told that the Holy Spirit can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19 1 Thessalonians 5:19Quench not the Spirit.
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), that it can be poured out on people (Acts 2:17 Acts 2:17And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
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, 33), and that we are baptized with it (Matthew 3:11 Matthew 3:11I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
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).

People can drink of it (John 7:37-39 John 7:37-39 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. 38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
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), partake of it (Hebrews 6:4 Hebrews 6:4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
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) and be filled with it (Acts 2:4 Acts 2:4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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; Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
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). The Holy Spirit also renews us (Titus 3:5 Titus 3:5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
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) and must be stirred up within us (2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
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). These impersonal characteristics are certainly not attributes of a person or personal being!

The Spirit is also described by other designations—“the Holy Spirit of promise,” “the guarantee of our inheritance” and “the spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 1:13-14 13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.
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, Ephesians 1:17 Ephesians 1:17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
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)—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—such as breath (John 20:22 John 20:22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost:
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), wind (Acts 2:2 Acts 2:2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
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), fire (Acts 2:3 Acts 2:3And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.
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), water (John 4:14 John 4:14But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
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; John 7:37-39 John 7:37-39 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. 38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
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), oil (Psalms 45:7 Psalms 45:7You love righteousness, and hate wickedness: therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
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) and a dove (Matthew 3:16 Matthew 3:16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him:
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).

These depictions are difficult to understand if the Holy Spirit is a person! Notice Matthew 1:20 Matthew 1:20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
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: “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 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. It’s the divine power through which God acts.

We must allow His Spirit to become the guiding force in our lives to produce the qualities of true Christianity. For it is through God’s Spirit that we become like Him as His children. But what does that really mean?

You are gods?

Let’s get to the heart of this matter. The Jews of Jesus’ day accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God: “The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods’”? If He called them gods … [why] 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”?’” (John 10:33-36 John 10:33-36 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say you of him, whom the Father has sanctified, and sent into the world, You blaspheme; because I said, I am the Son of God?
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).

In other words, said Christ, “If Scripture outright called human beings gods, why are you upset when I merely state that I am God’s Son?”

Yet are human beings actually gods? What did He mean? Look at Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:6I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
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, which Jesus was actually quoting to the Jews: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.’”

Unlike God the Father and Jesus Christ, who are consistently compared to human beings in form and shape, the Holy Spirit is represented in a completely different manner.

The key here is the word children, just as we read in other verses about our relationship with God. We must understand that God is a family—a divine family of more than one person.  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. The Word became flesh 2,000 years ago as the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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). After Jesus’ human life and death, He was resurrected to divine spirit existence as the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18 Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
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) and “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29 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 brothers.
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).

Who are the “many brethren”? They are God’s saints—His sanctified or set-apart people. These are Christ’s brothers and sisters—all the members of His Church.

Jesus was spiritually born in the resurrection as the first of many brethren or fellow children of God to follow later. As pointed out in Acts 17:28-29 Acts 17:28-29 28 For 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. 29 For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man’s device.
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, we are God’s offspring: “‘For we are also His offspring.’ 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 used here, genos, means “kindred,” “race, “kind,” “stock” or “family.” We are thus of God’s kind or family type.

Psalm 82 is much easier to understand in this light. In Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:6I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
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the word gods is equated with “ children of the Most High .” That makes perfect sense. When any entity bears offspring, its offspring are the same kind of entity. The offspring of human beings are human beings. The offspring of God are, in Christ’s own words, “gods.”

But we must be careful here. Human beings are not literally gods— not yet, at any rate. 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.

In Psalm 82, when human beings are referred to as gods —they are still declared imperfect and subject to corruption and death. So they are of the divine family in only a restricted sense.

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. But another aspect of this is that man has the ultimate potential of becoming the same kind of beings the Father and Christ now are.

Amazingly, God’s purpose is to exalt human beings from this fleshly existence to the same level of divine spirit existence that He has!

The ultimate outcome—divine glory

God speaks of us as His children (Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And 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.
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; Philippians 2:15 Philippians 2:15That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world;
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; 1 John 3:2 1 John 3:2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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). The spiritual reproductive process starts with God’s Spirit joining with our human spirit: “The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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” (Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And 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.
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).

Through this miraculous union, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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). The Spirit-begotten Christian is a child of God, an actual member of the God family—but not yet in an ultimate sense. As children, we must still go through a development process in this life—a period of building godly character, becoming more and more like God in the way we think and live.

But at the end of this life, 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: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! … Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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).

In fact, to expand on this, we are told in many passages of Scripture that we will receive the divine glory of the Father and Christ. Let’s note just one of them: “Walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12 1 Thessalonians 2:12That you would walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory.
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).

As coinheritors with Christ, we will receive dominion over all things, including the entire vast universe just as Christ has (Romans 8:17 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.
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).

Nothing less than divinity

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 cosmic expanse— requires the omnipotent power of God. We will need the power of God within us to sustain our inheritance.

And what about our minds? As human beings, we couldn’t count all the individual stars of the universe, at one per second, in a trillion lifetimes. But God, in a passing remark, says He knows all the stars by name (Psalms 147:4 Psalms 147:4He tells the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names.
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).

Consider this: Converted human beings are to one day possess 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, hidden by the common doctrine of the Trinity, comes as quite a shock to those who have heard only the traditional view of mainstream Christianity regarding the ultimate reward of the righteous. Yet those who might be quick to denounce this teaching will perhaps be even more surprised to learn that many early “church fathers” of mainstream tradition did understand this incredible truth, at least in part.

Paragraphs 398 and 460 of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995) state: “Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully ‘divinized’ by God in glory [but sinned] … The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’” (pp. 112, 128-129). The latter paragraph quotes from earlier theologians:

From Irenaeus (2nd century): “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” ( Against Heresies, Book 3, chap. 19, sec. 1).

From Athanasius (4th century): “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God” ( On the Incarnation of the Word, chap. 54, sec. 3).

And from Thomas Aquinas (13th century): “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us share in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods” ( Opusculum 57, lectures 1-4).

This teaching is even more prevalent in Eastern Orthodox tradition, where it is known by the Greek term theosis, meaning “divinization” or “deification.” Notice the remarkable explanation of the early theologian Tertullian, writing around A.D. 200:

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” ( Against Hermogenes, chap. 5, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 480, quoted in “Deification of Man,” David Bercot, editor, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, 1998, p. 200).

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 Trinitarianism. But earlier theologians, closer to the original apostolic source, 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: “There is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son , and those who possess the adoption [i.e., sonship as God’s children]” ( Against Heresies, Book 4, preface) .

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 ultimately us, the multitude of other sons brought to glory (transformed believers).

There is indeed only one God, but that God is a family—with others to be added to that family. 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.

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 uncreated, living eternally throughout time, without beginning. And there is only one Savior in whose name we can receive God’s gift of eternal life (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
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), setting Him above us forever. Nevertheless, Their plan is that we share divine existence with Them as Their family, reigning with Them over all creation.

Why are you here?

This, then, is why we are here! It is the ultimate potential destiny of all mankind. It is the awe-inspiring purpose for which we were created. As Jesus quoted, seeing our future, He said, “You are gods.” Our future can’t get any higher or better than that!

The Trinity doctrine doesn’t allow for God’s family to expand like this. Indeed, the Trinity denies the greatest truth we can know—that God is a growing family of which we can become part. The truth astounds the mind in the immensity and grandeur of its scope.

May you 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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    Comments

  • Sandyhud53

    Can you show me scriptures for God the Son? I’m been reading the bible for 43 years and never saw a scripture on God the Son.

  • Sabrina Peabody

    Hi Sandy -
    If you put in “son of God” in the UCG Search or online, you will find a lot of Bible verses:
    John 10:33-36 -“…because I said, I am the Son of God?” – Christ is speaking.
    Matt 16:15 – Peter calls Christ the “son of God.”
    1 John 4:15 – “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” 1 John 2:23 - “whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also…”
    John 3:16 Jesus says he is the “only begotten Son.”
    A lot of verses above are in this article: http://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/who-was-jesus-christ

  • Sandyhud53

    So, I forgot to add that this is a good article for no three Gods

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